I heard a lot of rumors about Portal series and Half-Life series plots relation but I didn't found any link.

Can you describe which relations exists between this two stories?

6 Answers 6


Aperture Science (which is the firm that developed the Portal gun) is in direct competition with Black Mesa (which is the firm for which Gordon Freeman worked) for military contracts

See the section Other facts on this link

Aperture Science and Black Mesa were bitter rivals. As seen in the Portal maps "testchmb_a_15" and "escape_02", Aperture Science employees were briefed on Black Mesa through slideshow presentations, such as one titled "Dollar$ and Sense: Competing with Black Mesa for DoD and Government-wide Acquisition Contracts"

EDIT: Here's an excellent guide on Half Life: http://members.shaw.ca/halflifestory/ Check out the timeline for an awesome detail of all events in the Half Life saga, and in the bottom a little speculation to its relation to Portal:

The date that the events of Portal take place aren't certain. We do know that GLaDOS says to Chell: "Are you trying to escape? [chuckle] Things have changed since the last time you left the building. What's going on out will make you wish you were back in here. I have an infinite capacity for knowledge, and even I'm not sure what is going on outside. All I know is I'm the only thing standing between us and them. Well, I was. Unless you have a plan for building some supercomputer parts in a big hurry, this place isn't going to be safe much longer." This implies that the game takes place during the Portal Storms or afterwards.

This site is not official but it's a great analysis IMO.

  • 18
    The "Still Alive" song from GLaDOS also contains the sentences "maybe you'll find someone else to help you... maybe Black Mesa... That was a joke, haha, fat chance!"
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Jul 8, 2010 at 16:35
  • 2
    There's also notes on (aperturescience.com) regarding competition between the two.
    – user56
    Commented Jul 10, 2010 at 14:40
  • 1
    As I said in the other answer, I wouldn't trust that timeline. It's very infamous for being inaccurate and speculative, it's definitely not canon. Mostly someone drawing conclusions from limited data.
    – user56
    Commented Jul 15, 2010 at 13:11
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    Yes @Arda, I specified it's not official, but there are no more "official" info, Vale is known for that. IMO it's all we have
    – juan
    Commented Jul 15, 2010 at 13:15
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    @marco, I read somewhere that Chell will appear in EP3, not official of course ;)
    – juan
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 13:42
  • In the original Portal, just before the chamber containing GlaDOS, there is a projector with some slides detailing that Black Mesa and Aperture Science are in direct competition.

  • In the song at the end of Portal, GlaDOS mentions Black Mesa: "Maybe you'll find someone else to help you. Maybe Black Mesa... that was a joke, ha-ha, fat chance"

  • In HL2:Ep2, there are references to the Borealis, an Aperture Science research boat that went missing.

    • In Portal 2 (which takes place in an Aperture facility), they mention a boat-yard where some sort of "time-travel experiment" went wrong. Later, you find an empty ship-port, with life-savers scattered around that say "Borealis."

    • This concept art for HL2:Ep3 contains the Borealis.

  • In Portal 2, Cave Johnson (CEO of Aperture Science) states his hate towards Black Mesa in a recording, claiming they "stole their technology" from Aperture Science.

  • In Portal 2, (just before you are first introduced to the goo) there is a room in Aperture Science with a bunch of trophies and awards for "#2 Applied-Science company of the year," implying (along with the projector slides from Portal 1) that the #1 company is Black Mesa.

  • 100% non-canon, but great map pack for portal 2 (THE LONE FUTURE STARTER) tell us story closely related to Borealis and time travels. Also Borealis can be seen in Portal: The flash version mappack and Portal 2 mod from steam (don't remember its name). Commented Dec 7, 2018 at 9:18

This page has a timeline of the rivalry between Black Mesa and Aperture Science

In HL2 Ep 2, You are told about an aperture ship called Borealis, it is suggested that this ship will appear in episode 3.

So both games take place in the same universe, and Valve seem to be intertwining the two stories. There has also been rumour of a portal gun appearing in episode 3

  • 1
    Well, that was a 20-minute rat hole. :)
    – RCIX
    Commented Jul 10, 2010 at 11:23
  • 6
    By the way, that site is infamous among many communities for being inaccurate and very speculative. I would not see it as canon.
    – user56
    Commented Jul 10, 2010 at 14:39

In Portal 2, when Chell gets out at the end, it shows the outside for a brief moment and it almost looks like this must take place after the Half Life saga and after the Apocalypse. There is nothing but the Aperture Science lab, so i think Aperture Science must be the Combine's; if it wasn't, they would have destroyed it, right?

  • It is widely established that Portal 2 takes place far in the future. At least 35,000 years or more. Valve wanted to end the rumors about a crossover/connection between Portal 2 and Half-Life EP3.
    – Bobby
    Commented Sep 25, 2012 at 17:51

At the end of Half-Life ep 2 the borialis has a cargo contaner thith th aperture logo on it I replayed the game and saw it again also near the end they reply to go to th borialis


I found something extremly cool! One day i went on the internet and then went on YouTube, i wached a videa about Cell and the fan made theres about her and even though i have played Portal 2 it was the first time i saw the picture of caroline. The next day i bought Half Life 2 Ep 1 and 2 and saw the video clip of the ship that was apertures ship and i was stunned that and looked for news for Ep 3 adn then i hade a brainstorm...

Search for "Family Picture half Life 2" and "Caroline portal 2"

See anything alike?

  • 2
    Hi Alex, and welcome to Arqade. Could you flesh your answer out a bit more by explicitly pointing out the similarities?
    – Schism
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 15:48
  • Are you talking about Alyx' mother? I don't see a resemblance. Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 17:47

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