This is something I've wondered for quite a while since Episode 2 was released.
Obviously the Vorts in Ep 2 are quite different than the Vorts from Half-Life 2. They look significantly different, they are noticeably more bad ass, and their voice has changed as well. (Louis Gossett, Jr. for the HL2 vorts and Tony Todd for the Ep 2 vorts)
All of these changes lead me to conclude that the Vortigaunts in Episode 2 are younger, healthier, fit members of the species. Their skin and musculature are toned and lean, their dialogue is faster, cleaner, and higher in decible (slightly) than their previous versions, and I think the fact that they just simply go out of their way to kick some ass leads some evidence to the theory, although admittedly Valve didn't really show them engaging in much combat in HL2.
Somewhat to counter my own argument, while the Vorts Gordon encounters out in the wild could be said to be younger, it stands to reason that the Vorts he runs into at White Forest, which feature the same shiny new skin and sleak look, would be older, and thus more involved in working on the Scientific pursuits of the resistance than their younger counterparts.
I really don't know what to think. Are the Vortigaunts in Episode 2 simply a re-skinning of the classic Vort with Tony Todd voice acting because Gossett Jr wasn't available, or did Valve intentionally do this to show off a youthful version of the species?
I think someone needs to write a letter to Mark Laidlaw.
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