Can anyone confirm a date or a time period that Portal and subsequently Portal 2 take place in?

It's probable that Portal 1 takes place in around the modern day, but I couldn't find a date for when the timeline begins. Portal 2 is much more difficult to find the time period, as the only clue we are given is that we are

9999999 somethings from when Chell was dragged back into the Aperture facility at the end of the first game.

Any ideas about this?


4 Answers 4


According to the timeline on Half Life's Wikia, Portal takes place around 2010. However, I could not find a reference to an exact date.

Going by the same sources, and this question, Portal 2 takes place hundreds of years after Portal. Again, I could not find a reference to an exact date.

Note that there is no official source of an exact date. Looking at other sources (including the talk pages on the Half Life Wikia timeline page) you can see a lot is based on fragmented, and often speculated, details.

Because Portal and Portal 2 are very much isolated environments from the outside world, there isn't a great deal of concern with trying to fix the timelines to real dates. We know that Portal 2 provides a lot of backstory to events prior to Portal, and that Portal 2 occurs a long time after Portal.

I'm surprised that the systems in place during Portal 2 can actually see past the year 2038.

  • Specifically, Portal 2 takes place 9...9....9....9....9..9..99999 years after Portal. Assuming that malfunctioning speaker was not malfunctioning, which it was.
    – user253751
    Jan 27, 2016 at 1:23
  • 5
    @immibis that was the time since the last awakening, they were awoken every 50 days before that last one. also it's days not years
    – Aequitas
    Jan 27, 2016 at 2:52
  • 3
    2038? Why, you only need a 64-bit system to solve that, and in ~2010 they were pretty common, if I recall correctly. Jan 27, 2016 at 18:34

I say between 25-38 years like since they are running on emergency power from what I search back up generators last 20-40 years depending on how well they are maintained (if read correctly) and besides the narrator voice was very old due to the glitches on him saying 9 repeatedly

  • 1
    Hi Olivia welcome to Arqade! I think you misunderstood the question. The OP seems to be asking about what year do the games take place in (i.e 2030) rather than how many years apart are the two games set.
    – Kyle Rone
    May 5, 2021 at 15:12

If you think of it this way, when a digital clock is unplugged and plugged back -- it will flash '12:00' indefinitely until its reset, A few dozen years is all it takes to wear down wood, and upholstery from under use and bad conditions. My answer is that, Aperture Science suffered a catastrophic power failure and reverted to a backup generator, which in turn borked the system clock, and woke up all of the... still alive test subjects. Since we know that Rattman is still alive, it seriously could not have been that long. Rattman has been around from Portal 1 to Portal 2. We see him in the ending credits, along with evidence of him living in all of his dens throughout the game. If it has truly been longer than 60 years, Rattman would have died, and all of his murals would have been more decrepit and grown over. Could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure humans don't live longer than 114 years Doug would be past his due point, and would be too old to move at all if so much time has elapsed (since we someone sprinting on the elevator ride up from GLaDOS' Chamber, and there only being two known living humans in Aperture Science that we know of.) I Estimate 30-40 years, enough time if we talk about plant growth along with possible radiation leakage (if there is a nuclear reactor hidden somewhere)and Chells' science experiment, that could explain the overgrowth. Machines also degrade quickly with out power, and maintenance. No power, no central intelligence, no nanobots (jerry and his crew) All personality constructs working at low voltage levels, The breaker room underneath GLaDOS's chamber looks almost untouched and not corroded (Also Switched off). Can't have been too long, or you wouldn't be able to flip any of the breakers to turn anything on, or to divert power. (better question-- WHY WERE ALL THE BREAKERS SWITCHED OFF?!)


I think the year is 47,010 calculated by the plant growth in the facility. And by how decayed it is.

  • 2
    You really need to provide more information about this if you want to make it a good answer.
    – JMac
    Dec 24, 2017 at 15:57

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