A launch timer has appeared on a special page of the Aperture Science website that willapparently release Portal 2 when the time is elapsed according to a message bar at the top of the page. A progress bar is also present that seems to decrease the time as it is filled. It can be filled by purchasing and playing games from The Potato Sack game package available on STEAM. The package features 13 indie games and is currently on sale for 75% off retail price until Portal 2 releases.
There is a separate progress bar for each of the individual games in the package such as Defense Grid: The Awakening, Super Meat Boy, and Cogs. The bars measure some of the current CPUs that are currently playing or have played the game. So far 7 of the 13 progress bars have been filled-the others have been half filled as of now.
The timer appears to be the work of GLADOS who has provided some textual output messages on the webpage alongside the timer. One of her messages reads: “21:00 – Calculations complete for AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity. Recalculating a new launch projection…”
Subsequent messages have been released as progress bars for Potato Sack games have been filled such as the most recent one: “20:20 – Calculations complete for BIT.TRIP BEAT. Recalculating a new launch projection…”
The projected launch is about 27 hours away according to the website launch timer. It is unknown what exactly will happen when the countdown finishes. There has been no verification that the game will actually be released ahead of schedule, or if any other action will occur. If it is released early it will most likely be made available to PC players who purchased The Potato Sack and contributed to filling up progress bars via STEAM. It is still unknown what effect this will have on pre-orders but there is a great chance that pre orders for console copies will not be affected as there is no way to hand out a hard copy of the game ahead of schedule.
This is an interesting marketing ploy that definitely seems to have increased the games publicity. However this is not likely to increase sales to a great amount as most pre orders have already been made and having an early release date for STEAM players only might only serve to aggravate eager console players.
Portal 2’s official release date is set at April19th in North America, and April 21 in Europe, Australia, and the rest of the world.