Achievement Unlocked: Video Games
Jonathan Coulton's Latest Portal Song is Fantastic
One of the best things about Valve’s Portal series is the end credit songs written by Jonathan Coulton and performed by Ellen McLain (the voice of GLaDOS). Portal had “Still Alive,” where GLaDOS threatens Chell that she still exists, and was amazing all on its own, gathering a huge following during the early 2000’s. Portal 2 had “Want You Gone,” a passive-aggressive break-up song she sings to Chell, the main character in the series. The third installment, “You Wouldn’t Know,” tells the story of a much happier and well-adjusted GLaDOS after meeting her new friends in Lego Dimensions. In it, GLaDOS tells Chell that she is “fine, just in case you think I’m not” post-Portal, and that “it feels so strange, not to hate you anymore,” while bragging about her new friend, Batman. The change in personality is partly due to an attitude adjustment she receives in Lego Dimensions, but Coulton insists it’s also partly due to personal growth.
SPOILER WARNING: the song contains some spoilers about the Lego Dimensions game.
[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyBLLBmxhRY” width=”480″]
Lego Dimensions will feature a mash-up of many different characters, including GLaDOS, Batman, and Gandalf. When Mashable asked about the song, Coulton replied that “I would not have done just any third Portal song. When they described this game to me and this Portal level, and the way all these cultural icons get smushed together. I started to think about how [GLaDOS] would feel about hanging out with Batman. Would she maybe fall in love with him a little?” If anyone would know GLaDOS’ true feelings, it would be Coulton, who spent a lot of time talking with the character’s creators while working on the previous two songs.
Coulton characterizes GLaDOS as if she is a human character, although she is not. “I have always written about characters that are damaged and don’t know it. I like sneaking in a lyric that tips the characters’ hand — [when] they feel some way that they can’t or won’t talk about.” He theorizes that perhaps GLaDOS is afraid that Chell has forgotten about her, because Chell was much more than a test subject to her: “They were entwined…they were nemeses, but they were also something else.”
Although a Portal 3 has not been announced, and the storyline of Lego Dimensions is not exactly canon, I think players will appreciate the closure after watching GLaDOS and Chell’s turbulent relationship. Lego Dimensions was released September 27 in North America, September 28 in Australia, and September 29 in Europe. Lego Dimensions includes characters and worlds from 14 different franchises at launch, including DC Comics, Lord of the Rings, The Lego Movie, The Wizard of Oz, The Simpsons, Lego Ninjago, Doctor Who, Back to the Future, Portal, Ghostbusters, Midway Arcade, Scooby-Doo, Lego China, and Jurassic World. More franchises are planned to be released as DLC, although none have been confirmed yet. The game is available on Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.