Portal: A Mean Storytelling Machine

The secret to crafting Portal's perfect blend of gameplay and story, according to Kim Swift and Eric Wolpaw, was to cut, cut, and cut some more.

Speaking to a standing room only crowd at GDC, Wolpaw and Swift explained that Portal's design goal was that the "story story" -- the actual plot of the game, with GLaDOS the insane AI and the Weighted Companion Cube -- and the gameplay story, the puzzle solving and portal flinging.

"Portal was going to be a mean storytelling machine if it killed us," said Wolpaw.

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