The Secrets of Portal 2- Part 3 (Warning: Spoilers)

Posted by Gamer_152 (14098 posts) -

Schizophrenia

 Sometimes it's not easy being Doug Rattmann.

I love all of Portals characters and that includes Doug Rattmann, the mentally tortured but self-sacrificing schizophrenic, leaving cryptic messages and influencing the events of the games from behind the scenes. Throughout Portal 2 you will have noticed at very least one of the areas of Aperture that Rattmann has beautified with his disturbed masterpieces. Pressing yourself up against some of Rattmann’s murals reveals something rather interesting though. Personally I only got it to work with murals depicting Chell, although I could have just been “doing it wrong”, but forcing yourself towards at least some of these walls can trigger a faint but perceivable hidden track in the game. This track, dubbed ‘Schizophrenia’ can be heard here and is thought to be a warped recording of Rattmann’s insane sobbing.

People have tried slowing the track down or playing it backwards and some claim to have found genuine speech hidden in it but so far there is nothing concrete about any hidden message within the track. Whether there truly is a missive from Rattmann to be decoded or Valve is just making us hear voices where there are none (one of the many possible symptoms of schizophrenia), it’s an interesting secret. Perhaps even more confusing is how it fits into the game world. Is it some sort of hidden recording in the walls, a product of any brain damage Chell may have endured, or something else entirely? We just don’t know.

219

Scribbled on the wall of one of Rattmann’s dens is a picture of these numbers flying out of what appears to be his head. As we can see from the Portal comic Lab Rat these numbers actually make up the extension telephone number within Aperture that employees are to call in case of rogue AI, and also appear to be the numbers on Chell’s personal file (you may have to zoom in for that one). 

Rattmann and Shakespeare

It appears that Rattmann may be a bit of a Shakespeare fanatic. In one particular instance of his artwork he writes “Hear the turret, for it is knell, that summons [crossed out] to heaven, or to hell”. This is a reference to the Macbeth quote "The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell, that summons thee to heaven or to hell." Rattmann’s “bell” seems to refer to the bell curve on the graph in this piece of graffiti. The graph comes from Chell’s personal files in Aperture and shows her abnormally high level of tenacity. Some also think that the turret that summons her to “heaven” is the fat turret (or all the turrets) singing during the opera at the end of the game, while the turret that sends her to hell is any hypothetical turret which could kill her.

The Hidden Commentary Node

The Shakespeare room is interesting as it is, but should you have the developer commentary mode turned on and visit that particular den, you’ll also notice a commentary node in there from one Adam Foster. Upon activating the node it spits about a series of seemingly random electronic noises which when converted into images, show three different files (images by domdove) which outline the original Portal ARG, although it should be noted that some of the text is barely legible.
 

The Lunar Foreshadowing

 A very unpredictable ending, or was it?

Unless you read any spoilers beforehand, the moon was probably the last place you expected to end up in Portal 2, but there were actually plenty of clues that this was where the game was going scattered throughout, you just had to know where to look. The Space Core and Cave’s acquirement of moon rocks were obvious examples but there are more. When you first wake up in storage at the start of the game you stared at a painting and probably noticed a vista on the wall of the room depicting a beach. What you may not have noticed is that when you awake the second time the vista on the wall has changed from a sunset scene to a night-time scene and where there was a man in the bottom left of the vista, there is now a howling wolf. Additionally the painting on the wall now features a night time scene, including a giant moon.

These seem like trivial references in comparison to what one Rattmann left behind though. In Lab Rat, when Rattmann’s colleague Henry expresses that building GLaDOS was their generation’s “moon shot”, Rattmann says that he would rather have gone to the moon. It seems Rattmann’s interest in the moon developed into a full blown obsession after he was trapped in the facility with GLaDOS and he has drawn at least four different pieces of graffiti across the seven areas he painted in which depict the moon.

Rattmann’s Fate

Those who completed the ‘Last Transmission’ achievement will also have heard the radio they delivered to one of Rattmann’s den start to spew out a series of electronic beeps, much like the commentary node mentioned earlier. This was actually a call-back to the start of the first Portal ARG, where players had to find radios in the game, pick up hidden signals and translate the resulting audio file fed out to get morse code or image files from Aperture. So, what does the Portal 2 radio signal reveal when decoded? It actually decrypts into this; that’s right, a picture of the Companion Cube on the moon. Things go even deeper than that though.

Think about where you picked up the Portal gun, it was lying in a room among Rattmann’s paintings, which depict the Portal backstory and events of Portal 1, above it is a hole in the ceiling of the facility with pictures of the moon in various states around it, and an orange portal nearby. The theory is that with “Too many variables” as Rattmann put it, he devised a simple plan to escape the clutches of GLaDOS. He made one last documentation of what happened at Aperture and then used the symbols on the ceiling to track the moon. When the time came he shot one orange portal nearby, one blue portal on the moon and left the facility. The fact he was able to make a transmission back with a picture of his Companion Cube, which is still being broadcast centuries later suggests that he found a way to survive on the moon too. It’s been hypothesised that Aperture’s advanced space technology allowed them to build some sort of moon facility where Rattmann survived for at least a while before perishing.

Rattmann’s Prediction

 These mad drawings may make more sense than you think.

This isn’t all though, Rattmann may have predicted Chell’s trip to the moon too, or at least encouraged her to escape out of the facility and to the moon. In the whiteboard drawings in one of his dens he depicts a cat jumping out of a box and over the moon, a number of equations related to quantum science, including Schrödinger’s equation, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and the time dilation equation, and more cat and cube related imagery. All of this seems to be alluding to the theoretical physics experiment, Schrödinger’s Cat, which is referenced more than once in Lab Rat. If you’re not familiar with the experiment you can go read up on it but it essentially involves a situation where a cat in a box, for all practical purposes, is both simultaneously alive and dead. In the comic, Rattmann compares Chell to the cat, as she is trapped in her relaxation vault in a coma until someone wakes her up, effectively alive and dead. This symbolism and possibly the other messages about the moon could be a grand plan on Rattmann’s part either to predict Chell’s eventual journey to the moon or to give her the key to overcoming whatever nasty may be plugged into the Aperture mainframe.
 

The End

And so concludes this long stare are at the trivia and the detail of Portal 2. Thanks to everyone who’s been reading and a special thanks to everyone who created the videos and images I linked, Combine Overwiki and the smart folks of the Portal 2 board on the Steam user forums, especially rafman400 who created and maintained the Rattmann graffiti thread. Good luck, have more cube tricks.

-Gamer_152

#1 Posted by Gamer_152 (14098 posts) -

Schizophrenia

 Sometimes it's not easy being Doug Rattmann.

I love all of Portals characters and that includes Doug Rattmann, the mentally tortured but self-sacrificing schizophrenic, leaving cryptic messages and influencing the events of the games from behind the scenes. Throughout Portal 2 you will have noticed at very least one of the areas of Aperture that Rattmann has beautified with his disturbed masterpieces. Pressing yourself up against some of Rattmann’s murals reveals something rather interesting though. Personally I only got it to work with murals depicting Chell, although I could have just been “doing it wrong”, but forcing yourself towards at least some of these walls can trigger a faint but perceivable hidden track in the game. This track, dubbed ‘Schizophrenia’ can be heard here and is thought to be a warped recording of Rattmann’s insane sobbing.

People have tried slowing the track down or playing it backwards and some claim to have found genuine speech hidden in it but so far there is nothing concrete about any hidden message within the track. Whether there truly is a missive from Rattmann to be decoded or Valve is just making us hear voices where there are none (one of the many possible symptoms of schizophrenia), it’s an interesting secret. Perhaps even more confusing is how it fits into the game world. Is it some sort of hidden recording in the walls, a product of any brain damage Chell may have endured, or something else entirely? We just don’t know.

219

Scribbled on the wall of one of Rattmann’s dens is a picture of these numbers flying out of what appears to be his head. As we can see from the Portal comic Lab Rat these numbers actually make up the extension telephone number within Aperture that employees are to call in case of rogue AI, and also appear to be the numbers on Chell’s personal file (you may have to zoom in for that one). 

Rattmann and Shakespeare

It appears that Rattmann may be a bit of a Shakespeare fanatic. In one particular instance of his artwork he writes “Hear the turret, for it is knell, that summons [crossed out] to heaven, or to hell”. This is a reference to the Macbeth quote "The bell invites me. Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell, that summons thee to heaven or to hell." Rattmann’s “bell” seems to refer to the bell curve on the graph in this piece of graffiti. The graph comes from Chell’s personal files in Aperture and shows her abnormally high level of tenacity. Some also think that the turret that summons her to “heaven” is the fat turret (or all the turrets) singing during the opera at the end of the game, while the turret that sends her to hell is any hypothetical turret which could kill her.

The Hidden Commentary Node

The Shakespeare room is interesting as it is, but should you have the developer commentary mode turned on and visit that particular den, you’ll also notice a commentary node in there from one Adam Foster. Upon activating the node it spits about a series of seemingly random electronic noises which when converted into images, show three different files (images by domdove) which outline the original Portal ARG, although it should be noted that some of the text is barely legible.
 

The Lunar Foreshadowing

 A very unpredictable ending, or was it?

Unless you read any spoilers beforehand, the moon was probably the last place you expected to end up in Portal 2, but there were actually plenty of clues that this was where the game was going scattered throughout, you just had to know where to look. The Space Core and Cave’s acquirement of moon rocks were obvious examples but there are more. When you first wake up in storage at the start of the game you stared at a painting and probably noticed a vista on the wall of the room depicting a beach. What you may not have noticed is that when you awake the second time the vista on the wall has changed from a sunset scene to a night-time scene and where there was a man in the bottom left of the vista, there is now a howling wolf. Additionally the painting on the wall now features a night time scene, including a giant moon.

These seem like trivial references in comparison to what one Rattmann left behind though. In Lab Rat, when Rattmann’s colleague Henry expresses that building GLaDOS was their generation’s “moon shot”, Rattmann says that he would rather have gone to the moon. It seems Rattmann’s interest in the moon developed into a full blown obsession after he was trapped in the facility with GLaDOS and he has drawn at least four different pieces of graffiti across the seven areas he painted in which depict the moon.

Rattmann’s Fate

Those who completed the ‘Last Transmission’ achievement will also have heard the radio they delivered to one of Rattmann’s den start to spew out a series of electronic beeps, much like the commentary node mentioned earlier. This was actually a call-back to the start of the first Portal ARG, where players had to find radios in the game, pick up hidden signals and translate the resulting audio file fed out to get morse code or image files from Aperture. So, what does the Portal 2 radio signal reveal when decoded? It actually decrypts into this; that’s right, a picture of the Companion Cube on the moon. Things go even deeper than that though.

Think about where you picked up the Portal gun, it was lying in a room among Rattmann’s paintings, which depict the Portal backstory and events of Portal 1, above it is a hole in the ceiling of the facility with pictures of the moon in various states around it, and an orange portal nearby. The theory is that with “Too many variables” as Rattmann put it, he devised a simple plan to escape the clutches of GLaDOS. He made one last documentation of what happened at Aperture and then used the symbols on the ceiling to track the moon. When the time came he shot one orange portal nearby, one blue portal on the moon and left the facility. The fact he was able to make a transmission back with a picture of his Companion Cube, which is still being broadcast centuries later suggests that he found a way to survive on the moon too. It’s been hypothesised that Aperture’s advanced space technology allowed them to build some sort of moon facility where Rattmann survived for at least a while before perishing.

Rattmann’s Prediction

 These mad drawings may make more sense than you think.

This isn’t all though, Rattmann may have predicted Chell’s trip to the moon too, or at least encouraged her to escape out of the facility and to the moon. In the whiteboard drawings in one of his dens he depicts a cat jumping out of a box and over the moon, a number of equations related to quantum science, including Schrödinger’s equation, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and the time dilation equation, and more cat and cube related imagery. All of this seems to be alluding to the theoretical physics experiment, Schrödinger’s Cat, which is referenced more than once in Lab Rat. If you’re not familiar with the experiment you can go read up on it but it essentially involves a situation where a cat in a box, for all practical purposes, is both simultaneously alive and dead. In the comic, Rattmann compares Chell to the cat, as she is trapped in her relaxation vault in a coma until someone wakes her up, effectively alive and dead. This symbolism and possibly the other messages about the moon could be a grand plan on Rattmann’s part either to predict Chell’s eventual journey to the moon or to give her the key to overcoming whatever nasty may be plugged into the Aperture mainframe.
 

The End

And so concludes this long stare are at the trivia and the detail of Portal 2. Thanks to everyone who’s been reading and a special thanks to everyone who created the videos and images I linked, Combine Overwiki and the smart folks of the Portal 2 board on the Steam user forums, especially rafman400 who created and maintained the Rattmann graffiti thread. Good luck, have more cube tricks.

-Gamer_152

#2 Posted by sungahymn (1034 posts) -

Nice job.

#3 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

So. Portal 3...on the moon? 

#4 Posted by fox01313 (5088 posts) -

Nice to see some of this stuff that I missed out on through the standard game & playing with the commentary (hint, hit tab just jump to the next node). 
 
However at the end: 

#5 Posted by Pr1m8 (31 posts) -

random thoughts   
either in the commentary or on a podcast someone (walpaw?) said the moon sequence used to be at the beginning of the game with a fake ending and song and as it tested so well they realised that it should be the ending rather than wasted at the start  
is it possible all this stuff is just leftovers from the original opening joke  (altho i suppose everything you say could still be true even if this was the location of the trick ending)

#6 Posted by LittleBigJono (252 posts) -

cool cool cool

#7 Posted by RsistncE (4496 posts) -
@Gamer_152: I've enjoyed your 3 part series on Portal 2 a lot but I noticed something off about this post; you say that Rattman went to the moon but if he did then who was the figure sneaking around in the background during the turret opera closing?
#8 Posted by Gamer_152 (14098 posts) -
@sungahymn: @LittleBigJono: Thanks guys.
 
@The_Laughing_Man: You joke but I've thought about it more than any man really should.
 
@fox01313: I see what you're saying, but I think it was very important that the ending was taken from a first-person perspective. Much like in the Half-Life games we know that the characters aren't talking to us, they're talking to a character who we happen to be seeing the world through the eyes of, but having that first-person perspective makes the story exposition in the game feel like a much more personal thing and I think this is even truer in the ending than anywhere else. Not only would showing the ending from a third-person perspective create an arguably damaging inconsistency but the fact that we were put in Chell's shoes made it feel as though GLaDOS was saying goodbye to us and that we got the Companion Cube back, making the emotional content of the ending have all the more weight.
 
@Pr1m8: You're probably thinking of Giant Bomb's Portal 2 Spoilercast and when you say "all this stuff" I assume you're referring to the location where you get the portal gun and not all the other moon-related stuff, right? I believe that area almost certainly evolved out of the moon joke they had originally planned for the start, but I think Valve knew exactly what they wanted the final purpose of that area to be and the idea they wanted to convey.
 
@RsistncE: I assume you're referring to the theory that the white shape flying through the pneumatic diversity vent at the end of the game is Rattmann. It's actually been observed that the white object is just a weighted companion cube (see here).
#9 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -

Through the magic of no-clipping, I can verify that not only is Rattmann not on the moon, but it is, in fact, located directly underneath Wheatley's chamber.

#10 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -

This part is tripping serious balls.. i barely noticed any of the Rattmann stuff, let alone try to understand them, so half this post was gibberish to me :( 
 
thanks for the effort, and this game really is mindblowing beyond any expectations, but i'm gonna have to stop here.. this shit is like math

#11 Posted by asian_pride (1654 posts) -
@Ahmad_Metallic said:
This part is tripping serious balls.. i barely noticed any of the Rattmann stuff, let alone try to understand them, so half this post was gibberish to me :(  thanks for the effort, and this game really is mindblowing beyond any expectations, but i'm gonna have to stop here.. this shit is like math
My thoughts exactly. I'm a little freaked out now after this...
#12 Posted by Yanngc33 (4496 posts) -

Awesome. I knew that the moon was going to play a big part thanks to the achievements but you make a good point

#13 Posted by RagingLion (1366 posts) -

Thank you for the awesome blog post.  Lots of really interesting information here I hadn't picked up on yet or heard from anywhere else so that was really useful.

#14 Posted by RsistncE (4496 posts) -
@Gamer_152: No I'm actually referring to the shadow sneaking around in the back (a shadow belonging to someone who is clearly carrying a companion cube on their back) during the turret opera where the king turret and the hundreds of other turrets are (@ 2:37 look closely at that second row of lit up windows): 
 
  
#15 Posted by laserbolts (5337 posts) -
Awesome man thanks for this. I had no idea that this stuff was in the game.
#16 Edited by Diabloshadow (263 posts) -
@RsistncE: I see what you're talking about but it also looks like one of the messed up cube/turret monstrosities that Wheatley created. But at the end it clearly looks like someone who is moving forward with a companion cube in one hand. That is an AMAZING find sir, I've watched the ending about 20-30 times and never seen that.
 
@LordXavierBritish: Prove it! :O
#17 Posted by FlyingRat (1446 posts) -

Enjoyed the shit out of these posts, man. Sad to see this is the last one.

#18 Posted by Gamer_152 (14098 posts) -
@Yanngc33: @RagingLion: @laserbolts: @FlyingRat: Thanks guys. Always love seeing that people enjoyed something I've written.

@LordXavierBritish: Yup, the moon's down there alright. That was one of the things I didn't mention in my first blog for fear of "spoiling the magic".
 
@Ahmad_Metallic: @asian_pride: Thanks for taking a look guys. I knew this was going to be the most complex of the three parts anyway.

@RsistncE: Oh, that thing. I can see how you came to think that was Rattmann but that's a Frankenturret, you'll notice it moves in the right pattern to be one and that when it does walk you can see the wires connecting the turret part and the cube part.
 
@Diabloshadow: Yup, you're right that it's a Frankenturret and LordXavier is right that the moon is underneath Wheatley's chamber. That actually seems to be by far one of the more interesting things people have found with noclip.
#19 Posted by Vexxan (4623 posts) -

A great read as usual, made me realize how deep this game actually is.

#20 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -
@Gamer_152:  By the way, didn't you forget the whole "exile" thing rattmann wrote on the wall? and the Exile Vilify easter egg related to it? (the radio you pick up)
#21 Posted by Gamer_152 (14098 posts) -
@Vegsen: Thank you.
 
@Ahmad_Metallic: Good question. Like I said at the start of these blogs I was going for some of the less obvious secrets hidden in the game. There were a few, like the 'Exile Vilify' radio or even the Rattmann dens as easter eggs in themselves, that I thought a lot of people probably would have seen before, and so I thought it'd be a bit redundant and frankly a little lazy to include them here.
#22 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -
@Gamer_152:  I see. yeah you're right, people are much more interested in the subtle underlying stuff
#23 Posted by Scooper (7881 posts) -

Enjoyed these blogs immensely. If you find anything else out please make another :)

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