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"You've been wrong about every single thing you've ever done, including this thing. You're not smart. You're not a scientist. You're not a doctor. You're not even a full-time employee! Where did your life go so wrong?"

Chell, documented as Test Subject #234, is the silent protagonist of Portal and the single-player campaign of Portal 2; she is a former Aperture Science Test Subject. Her predecessor is Mel.


By chell

Portal 2: Science experiment signed by Chell. It involves a giant potato plant.


Although Chell's origins are unknown, she was definitely among the people present during GLaDOS' activation in 200-, as GLaDOS locked down the facility immediately afterward; information revealed in Portal 2 implies that Chell was the child of an Aperture scientist because one of the "Bring Your Daughter To Work Day" science projects is signed by her. The project board mentions an ‘ingredient from dad’s work’ also, with an Aperture logo illustrated nearby.

According to the psychological profile in her personnel file, Chell is "abnormally stubborn" and refuses to give up, no matter how daunting the challenge. Due to this, she was rejected as a test subject, but Doug Rattmann altered the testing order, having correctly guessed that Chell's extreme tenacity might allow her to defeat GLaDOS.

Chell's Test Subject Application Form states that she refused to answer the essay question and instead answered in binary. The binary can be translated to "The cake is a lie." [4]


Vault from inside dropdown

Inside Chell's Relaxation Vault.


Sometime after GLaDOS' takeover of the Enrichment Center and shortly after the Combine invasion of Earth,[5] Chell is awakened from some sort of stasis pod in a Relaxation Vault by GLaDOS. Chell is released from the Vault through a Portal and begins to progress through a series of Test Chambers that require her to solve puzzles revolving around the use of the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (ASHPD). Throughout the tests, GLaDOS guides Chell with what sound like pre-recorded scripted instructions; however, her comments are strikingly bizarre, and often seem to malfunction at suspiciously well-timed points in mid-sentence.

Cube first

Introducing the Companion Cube in Test Chamber 17.

When Chell eventually makes it to Test Chamber 16, she discovers a hidden alcove where desperate messages were scribbled on the walls by mentally unstable former Aperture employee Doug Rattman while he was trapped in the facility and hiding from GLaDOS. The most prominent message, "the cake is a lie," is repeated several times. In the next chamber, GLaDOS introduces her to the Companion Cube, which Chell must carry through the chamber. Here she once again finds messages from Rattmann, who seems to have become emotionally attached to his Companion Cube and grieved over its "death." At the end of the chamber, Chell's Companion Cube meets the same fate when she is forced to incinerate it in order to proceed.

Testchmb19 furnace

The furnace after Test Chamber 19.

At the conclusion of the test, Chell travels on an Aperture Science Unstationary Scaffold away from the final Test Chamber. Instead of the promised cake, she is met with a pit of fire. To GLaDOS' surprise, Chell does not panic or give up in despair. Instead, she narrowly escapes certain death through clever use of the ASHPD and begins traveling through abandoned maintenance areas despite continued verbal discouragement from GLaDOS.

Throughout the decaying and neglected maintenance areas, Chell finds that Rattmann has been roaming around the facility for some time, leaving graffiti on the walls to guide her along the right path. After constant admonishment from GLaDOS and a massive Sentry Turret ambush, Chell finds herself in GLaDOS' main control room. GLaDOS attempts to deploy a "surprise" to eliminate Chell but ends up "accidentally" detaching her Morality Core, claiming she has never seen it and does not know what it is. Chell promptly incinerates the core.

Glados parking lot

GLaDOS' remains on the parking lot, shortly before Chell is dragged away by the Party Escort Bot.

GLaDOS, now unrestrained by the Morality Core, begins to flood the Enrichment Center with neurotoxin. She notes that the Morality Core must have had some ancillary responsibilities and that she cannot shut off the Rocket Sentry in her control room. Chell takes advantage of this and uses Portals to redirect the rockets back at GLaDOS, detaching and incinerating her Personality Cores one by one.

Before the neurotoxin can kill her, Chell destroys GLaDOS, who is apparently sucked to the outside with parts of her generator. Chell is dragged with her and ends up among GLaDOS' remains on the parking lot in front of the Aperture Labs entrance, only to be dragged back inside and placed in stasis by the Party Escort Bot.

Despite GLaDOS' apparent destruction, only a part of her was destroyed. GLaDOS reactivates a room full of Personality Cores and re-captures Aperture Laboratories, filing a letter to Chell, informing her that she is still alive and "not even angry" about Chell's actions—but not before extinguishing a candle on the cake, which was not a lie after all.

Portal 2: Lab Rat[]

The comic reveals that Aperture scientist Doug Rattmann, the last employee remaining alive and free after the Bring Your Daughter To Work Day massacre, had made Chell a test subject as part of a gambit to defeat GLaDOS. Chell had been rejected as a candidate for testing due to her psychological profile, which showed her to be an extreme outlier in terms of tenacity. Rattmann, having correctly guessed that such stubborn determination might be the key to escaping, hacked the system queue. Chell was now first in line for testing, which we see in Portal.

This is not to be confused with Chell's actual Test Subject ID being changed. Chell's Test Subject ID is 234, as seen on the Relaxation Vault and forms. Rather, Chell was moved from the bottom of the queue to the top. This could imply that she has tested before, which is also referenced with GlaDOS welcoming Chell back at the start of Portal.

While unconscious after the explosion that destroyed GLaDOS, Chell was placed in a "Long-Term Relaxation Chamber," a large stasis chamber designed to look like a cheap motel room. However, the main power for the facility failed when GLaDOS was destroyed, and the chamber's life support systems were compromised.

Rattmann, who had managed to leave the facility in the chaos, was overcome with guilt at the thought that Chell would die after he had used her as a pawn in his own escape. At the cost of his own life, he re-entered the facility and restored power to the chamber by hooking it to the reserve grid, saving Chell's life but placing her in a semi-permanent state of stasis. The reserve grid was not programmed to wake her.

Portal 2[]

Chell facing glados concept

Concept art of Chell and GLaDOS meeting again in a ruined Central AI Chamber.

Some years after GLaDOS' partial destruction, Chell awakens from stasis and is approached by Wheatley, a Personality Core, and tries to escape with him. After multiple tests, which eventually get Chell a single portal ASHPD, they set out through the maintenance areas, which (like the rest of the facility) are overrun with nature. Not much later, the pair find themselves in the remains of GLaDOS' chamber, who is accidentally awakened by Wheatley; Chell loses the ASHPD, and GLaDOS is quick to accuse Chell of having "murdered" her years before. Chell is then forced back into the testing area, where she must complete more tests with the dual portal ASHPD.[6]

Wheatley eventually breaks her out of the test chambers, and the two narrowly escape GLaDOS. Wheatley persuades Chell to help him neutralize GLaDOS' defenses by cutting off her turret production line and neurotoxin supply. He is unable to figure out how to actually accomplish this, but Chell manages to handle it without him. She first sets up a defective turret as the template for the scanner that approves new turrets, resulting in the functional ones being culled, and then uses portals to redirect lasers to sever the supply tubing to the neurotoxin generator.

GLaDOS eventually manages to trap Chell, bringing her into her lair. Her attempts to kill Chell with her sabotaged turrets and neurotoxin fail, allowing Chell to complete a core transfer. This results in GLaDOS' "head" being detached from her body and replaced with Wheatley. Now in control of Aperture, Wheatley summons an elevator to take Chell to the surface and celebrates his victory over GLaDOS. As the elevator begins to rise, Wheatley begins to grow mad with power and brings Chell back down to him. Gloating over the defeated GLaDOS, Wheatley integrates her personality into a potato battery. She goads him into a rage by pointing out that Chell did all the work in escaping and defeating her and claiming that Wheatley was originally designed as an "intelligence dampener" whose sole function was to render GLaDOS less dangerous by constantly generating stupid ideas. Furious at both GLaDOS and Chell, Wheatley begins smashing Chell's elevator into the ground, sending them down the elevator shaft and into the bowels of the facility.

Chell wakes up in the deepest part of the Aperture Science, which contains the old facility from as far back as the 1950s. Pre-recorded messages from Cave Johnson, with occasional input from his assistant Caroline, guide Chell through the tests. She makes her way upward, through progressively more recent parts of the Aperture facility. Along the way, Chell finds GLaDOS and agrees to ally with her against Wheatley, stabbing the potato onto a prong of the ASHPD. As GLaDOS listens to the recordings, she begins to remember her own origins: Caroline's consciousness was eventually uploaded into an A.I. network, creating GLaDOS. As she regains conscious access to Caroline's memories and personality, her attitude toward Chell begins to soften slightly.

When the two re-enter the modern section of the facility, they are captured by Wheatley, who puts them through his own poorly designed test chambers. His incompetence clearly poses a threat to the entire Enrichment Center, as he ignores warnings about an imminent reactor meltdown. Chell and GLaDOS manage to escape Wheatley's attempts to kill them and enter his lair. Working together, Chell uses Portals to redirect Wheatley's bombs against him, and GLaDOS provides corrupted cores for Chell to attach to him, hoping to trigger another core transfer. When Chell attempts to press the Stalemate Resolution Button, bombs explode around it, a trap devised by Wheatley. As the facility begins to fall apart due to the long-ignored meltdown, the ceiling splits open, revealing the night sky. Injured but still alive, Chell grabs the ASHPD and shoots a portal onto the moon. Both she and Wheatley are sucked out into the vacuum of space, clinging desperately to the straining wires of GLaDOS' mainframe. Chell is saved as GLaDOS regains control of the facility, dragging her back through the portal and Wheatley gets knocked off into space.

Chell falls unconscious and awakens sometime later to see GLaDOS, ATLAS, and P-body in a reconstructed AI chamber. GLaDOS, showing what seems like genuine concern for Chell's welfare, talks about what she learned from their experience together and says she now realizes Chell has been her best friend all along. She then adds that feeling this surge of emotion has allowed her to figure out where its source - Caroline - is located, and an audio notification promptly states that she has deleted it.

Despite being apparently back to her old, amoral self, GLaDOS says that she intends to release Chell, claiming that attempts to kill her simply have proven to cause too much trouble. An elevator takes Chell upward, and a chorus of turrets sing her a farewell song. Arriving on the surface, Chell opens the door to find herself exiting what appears to be a small tool shed in a sunlit field of wheat. The door slams shut behind her, then briefly opens again to spit out the scorched Companion Cube from the first game.

Cooperative Testing Courses[]

Chell does not make an appearance during any part of the Cooperative Testing Initiative, as she has already left the facility. Chell is discreetly mentioned in the fifth room of the Art Therapy course included in the Peer Review DLC. As ATLAS and P-Body enter their Reassembly Machines, GLaDOS will say, "I've spent the last week attempting to turn one of those humans you found into a killing machine. Like... well, you-know-who." Where "you-know-who" is obviously Chell.

LEGO Dimensions (non-canon)[]

Chell makes an appearance as a playable character in the Portal 2 DLC. The plot of the game focuses on Lord Vortech, an inter-dimensional being attempting to gather together the "Foundation Elements," important objects scattered throughout nine LEGO universes that, when combined, will give an individual unlimited power. The identity of the objects seems to depend on the universe's current situation, as the item to be gathered from Aperture is the Cake. He has also imprisoned the users of these objects in his lair.

In a counter-attack to Vortech, three adventurers in search of their imprisoned friends, Batman of DC Comics, Wyldstyle of The LEGO Movie, and Gandalf the Grey of The Lord of the Rings, utilize an AI bot named X-PO and an inter-dimensional portal to travel a step ahead of their enemy and find Elements he has not gotten to yet. Upon arrival at Aperture, the three are soon introduced to GLaDOS. She, as it seems, has missed having Chell as a test subject since the events of Portal 2, and uses the three visitors to fulfill this need. Using magic and their being more than one person, they bypass the system and beat the tests without the use of the ASHPD. GLaDOS, extremely confused and without a morality core, lures the three into her lair and attempts to kill them. Through the use of dimensional magic, she is soon distracted by an unknown AI by the name of HAL 9000 (2001: A Space Odyssey) and a Morality Core is installed. The Cake is removed from Aperture, although eventually Vortech finds it anyway and gains ultimate power. With the help of various inter-dimensional heroes such as the Ghostbusters, the Doctor, and Mystery Incorporated, the universe is saved. GLaDOS, now moral, also takes part. At the end of this main campaign, GLaDOS writes a note to Chell stating that she's been fine going on her own adventures, but "you wouldn't know, would you?" It is obvious that GLaDOS misses having Chell and/or other humans around for testing.

Chell is soon returned to Aperture by some dimensional error, as is Wheatley (who has apparently gained the ability of anti-gravity following his time in space, though it quickly fades away). Since the events of the second game, it is apparent that she has fared well in the wild, yet her lack of a new wardrobe and continued use of the ASHPD suggest that she may have been far from finding civilization. The Caroline-less GLaDOS once again tests Chell. Wheatley, no longer crazy with power, decides to assist in her escape and the two of them make their way back into the 1980s-era Aperture Science test chambers, featuring pre-recorded messages from Cave Johnson. GLaDOS finds them on their ascent and attempts to destroy them once and for all, but she is overpowered and replaced by Wheatley with the Space Core. Wheatley inquires about a door next to GLaDOS, and the two of them enter to find a room full of stolen technology from Black Mesa along with the game's signature portal, a reference to the inter-dimensional experiments of the aforementioned company.


Chell is a young woman in her early or mid 20's. Her ethnic background is somewhat ambiguous; she appears to be of Latin or multiracial descent, and Valve concept artist Matt Charlesworth described her as having "a hint of Japanese ethnicity."[3] (Chell's face and body model, Alésia Glidewell, has a Brazilian-American father and a Japanese mother.) She has light brown skin and pale blue eyes (occasionally described as grey), and her hair was black with most likely stress-induced grey streaks in the first game, before appearing as very dark brown in the second game. This change in hair color could be explained by the grey streaks fading when the constant stress of testing stopped when she was asleep.

Throughout the first game, she wears a worn-out orange jumpsuit and has bare feet, with Advanced Knee Replacement prostheses surgically attached to her legs. She has a ponytail and mild "bed hair" from sleeping in a stasis pod for an unknown period of time.


Chell in Portal 2, with a Storage Cube behind her.

In Portal 2, Chell appears much better groomed and rested. Her knee replacements have been replaced by Long Fall Boots. She wears the same jumpsuit, but with the upper part folded down and tied around her waist, revealing a white tank top bearing the Aperture logo and tight-fitting pale blue shorts or pants. She also wears a white wrap up past the wrist on her right hand, presumably to provide joint support while holding the ASHPD.

GLaDOS and Wheatley both make fat jokes about Chell (the latter being very blatant with "fatty fatty"), even though she appears to be a thin, fit woman.

Personality and skills[]


Chell crouched, holding her ASHPD.

"You dangerous, mute lunatic."

As with her fellow silent protagonist Gordon Freeman, relatively little is explicitly known about Chell's personality. The most certain information about her comes from the Lab Rat comic, which shows portions of her personnel file. According to the file, psychological testing showed that Chell scored well in the 99th percentile on the trait of tenacity. A note on these test results characterized her as "abnormally stubborn," adding that "she never gives up. Ever." Because she was so much an outlier in this respect, she was initially rejected for testing until Rattman altered the records.

Rattman's comments imply that Chell's profile was not outstanding in other respects like she is in tenacity. She was not the fastest or most athletic of the test subjects GLaDOS captured (though she does appear to have strong stamina, strength, and balance), and some of the others had higher IQs, although Rattman implies that Chell's IQ was well above the average. Based on her accomplishments in the games, it can be surmised that Chell is highly resourceful, quick-thinking, very intelligent, strong-willed, good at creative problem-solving, and does not panic easily. Her file shows her fluency in binary code, demonstrating knowledge of coding. Chell's combined traits of athleticism, intelligence, and extreme tenacity make her an excellent test subject.

Chell never speaks to GLaDOS; in the first game, GLaDOS asks "Are you even listening to me?" and in the second, she calls Chell a "dangerous, mute lunatic." However, Erik Wolpaw has stated that Chell is probably capable of speaking, but refuses to do so in order to avoid giving GLaDOS the satisfaction of a response. (She can be heard making painful utterances on occasion in the first game, suggesting she is, at least, not mute, though she makes no such sounds in the second game.) The Lab Rat comic showed that Chell declined to answer at least part of her test subject questionnaire, suggesting that her defiant refusal to answer GLaDOS may be a long-standing habit. At the beginning of Portal 2, when Wheatley asks her to speak, she jumps instead, which Wheatley interprets as a sign of brain damage; the game doesn't expand on whether this is actually the case, or if Chell was simply dopey after being asleep for so long (given she doesn't display any similar "misdirections" later in the game).

Little else is known about Chell; all further information about her comes from comments by GLaDOS, who is by no means a reliable source of information. GLaDOS claims that Chell is "a bitter, unlikable loner," "pointlessly cruel," and that objective test results show that she is "a horrible person." As GLaDOS lies habitually about many subjects and has a particular interest in trying to make Chell feel uncomfortable, guilty, or worthless, none of her comments can be assumed to be fact. However, Chell seems unaffected by the loneliness of test chambers that might make other subjects go insane- this could be due to a preference of being alone, or it could be just another example of her strong will and mental strength.



Chell's potato experiment

Players exploring the Aperture facility in Portal 2 can discover a presentation from the Bring Your Daughter to Work Day Science fair signed with the name Chell. Several girls seem to have made potato batteries; none of them have rotted over the years, and Chell's potato has actually grown out of control, sprouting through the ceiling into a GLaDOS-shaped mess. One of the steps described in her experimental procedure is using a "special ingredient from Dad's work." This strongly implies that Chell was the daughter of a male Aperture employee. The handwriting and content of the experiment seem to indicate that Chell was of grade school age during the Science fair, which probably took place in the early 90's. This would indicate that Chell was most likely born sometime in the 1980s, and was probably in her 20's during the events of the first Portal.

Virtually no other reliable direct evidence about Chell's background appears in the games, although players have speculated based on vague hints. In the Lab Rat comic, Chell's surname is redacted on the list of test subjects, while no other information is missing; this may indicate some sort of secret concerning her family background.

GLaDOS often drops hints about Chell's background, but since her comments are intended to manipulate Chell or undermine her self-esteem, they may not have any basis. In fact, in the first game, GLaDOS said that she possessed a backup of Chell's brain, which she later claimed to have deleted in a fit of rage. Although the comment may have been an outright fabrication, some players speculated that Chell might be a clone or an android (although the game's writers have now confirmed that this theory was not intended).

GLaDOS also asserts once in the first game and repeatedly in the second that Chell was abandoned by her biological parents and subsequently adopted. In context, GLaDOS' intent is clearly for Chell to find this information upsetting - even when fighting on Chell's side, she not only repeats the allegation but adds, "and that's terrible."

Behind the scenes[]

  • The heel springs were originally created for the Combine Assassin, cut from Half-Life 2.[7] They were reused as the Advanced Knee Replacement for Portal due to disbelief by playtesters that Chell could survive the drops she was subject to, particularly those that involved falling recursively through Portals.[8]
  • Chell's real-life reference model is Alésia Glidewell.[1] Glidewell appears as the live-action version of Chell in the Portal trailer for LEGO Dimensions.[9]
  • It was stated by Gabe Newell in an October 2007 interview that Chell would have importance in the overall Half-Life universe, and eventually have a fairly significant relationship with some of the other characters that players were already familiar with.[10] This was before they even had plans for Portal 2, and have since decided to keep the two series apart.
  • In the original Portal trailer, a balding male Test Subject is used as a placeholder for Chell.[11]
  • As seen in a very early Portal screenshot, the hands and forearms of the ASHPD user were to be featured in the viewmodel. Chell's right hand and forearm are still present in the final viewmodel, although the texture is broken. However, the texture file can still be found in the game files, revealing what may be an early Aperture Science logo, followed by the number "122-7605," possibly an early Test Subject ID. These are not featured in Chell's model, which probably did not (at least fully) exist at that time of the game's development. A first-person view of Chell's hands and forearms becomes visible for the first and only time towards the end of the final level of Portal 2 as she is shown picking up the Portal device and later holding on to Wheatley while in space.
  • As seen in the texture folder for Chell's model, it appears that she was at some point to wear a fancy hairclip (as the texture "Chell_hairclip.vtf"), replaced in the final game by a simple ring / elastic.
  • As with all the playable characters in the Half-Life universe, with the exception of Alyx Vance, Chell is silent. However, female Citizen sounds (by Mary Kae Irvin) are reused when she is hurt in the first game.
  • As stated by Matt Charlesworth, designer of the Portal 2 Chell, she was really successful in the first Portal. She fit into the world really well and complemented it without the distractions that a more flashy character would bring, and served well her utilitarian purpose. However, when the team started working on Portal 2, they were not sure whether they would bring her back or not and explored a few other characters before returning to Chell when they realized removing her would not benefit the game.[3]
  • In Portal, Chell's orange jumpsuit is similar to the common American prison outfit. According to Bay Raitt, the team put Chell in an orange jumpsuit to reinforce the fact that she is a Test Subject. Visually, the warmer orange colors help her pop out against the colder tones of the environment.[8] For Portal 2, her outfit was redesigned to reflect her "lab rat" status.[6]
  • That new outfit went through many concepts before the final one was chosen: as stated by Matt Charlesworth, some of the concepts started with a sporty, motorcycle gear like look, which was very different from the original orange outfit, even though they were still going for clean and simple. They played around with proportion as well, trying to play a lot more with extreme feminine proportions and a totally different color scheme. They also explored changing Chell's nationality for a little bit, since her true nationality has never been explored nor revealed.[3][12]
  • The constraints the team had were that Chell was supposed to be dressed by machines, so any markings on the suit would have been on there for readability by a computer. That includes machine-read imagery, and what extra things might be on that kind of suit, but they eventually leaned away from the barcode design, because they reckoned it has been done quite a bit before, and originality is something Charlesworth really associates with Portal. She was never to look as if she had been designed, something the team fought with – to make her still appealing to the player, but not look over-designed (the team tends to cut anything that does not serve a real purpose on their characters).[3]
  • In the end, the things the team considered successful were the more minimal, clean, utilitarian looks (nothing was on there for fashion), leading to the final design of a purposely and constantly dehumanized Test Subject, considered by the team as making her look physically capable, but at the same time showing some vulnerability about her (what Charlesworth considers attractive in every person), which they thought to really seem like it belongs in the Portal world.[3]
  • That new design is not supposed to "look like a sexy Marvel superhero suit", as Charlesworth states. It is supposed to look like it was designed without any thought of making her look attractive. The team does not want to make her unattractive but still wants to balance that out, and have Chell look like what she is - a Test Subject, not a prisoner, a janitor, or something else. They also want people to remember that version of the character better than the first one. Before he started working on Portal 2, Charlesworth admits he barely remembered the first Chell.[3]
Chell concept portal 2

Concept art for another outfit Chell would have worn in Portal 2.

  • The hat featured in that new design came up around halfway through the conception phase, and it seemed to strike a chord with the whole team. Charlesworth states that this is something that always reminds him of test pilots – people who were subjected to testing and extreme conditions. It also serves a second purpose, because if there is a graphic on it, it is constantly readable from all angles, making it trackable by any computer found in the Enrichment Center. That serves the fiction of her being tested by GLaDOS and keeps the hair out of her eyes.[3]
  • The team was not sure whether to keep the Advanced Knee Replacement for Portal 2. He states that some team members were attached to it and that some are not, so they had experimented what to do with them, or how to replace them.[3] It was replaced by the Long Fall Boot.
  • Chell's early jumpsuit design for Portal 2 was revealed as two ASCII art images given by the BBS during the Portal ARG.
  • In the end, the outfit chosen for Chell in the final, retail version of Portal 2 had her wearing her jumpsuit from the first game, though her upper body is disrobed and the upper half of the jumpsuit is tied around her waist, revealing a white tank top with the Aperture logo on it. She also wears a white band around part of her right forearm.
  • Originally, Chell was to be one-half of the two Portal 2 co-op characters, the other being another woman named Mel. When they were replaced by ATLAS and P-body, Chell was kept for the singleplayer mode only, and Mel was removed from the storyline.[13]
  • "Chell" may be derived from "Chelle," which is the diminutive of "MiChelle."[14] However, the staff commentaries on Portal 2 pronounce her name as in church rather than Michelle. "Chell" is never given in-game (unless you have subtitles enabled, in which the name is mentioned when GLaDOS grabs her) but is mentioned in the Portal end credits and can be found in the game files for both Portal and Portal 2. The name became more official when the writers began to mention her name often in interviews prior to the release of Portal 2.
  • Portal 2 was originally meant to end with Wheatley destroying the stalemate resolution button, meaning the only way the stalemate could be resolved is if Chell says "Yes", which humorously resulted in a blackout ending and Chell only saying "Yes." This joke was removed when playtesters had trouble comprehending who was saying the line. Erik Wolpaw later reflected that while the joke sounded funny on paper, "Boy did it suck."[15]


Chell project Portal 2

Zoomed, to see "By Chell".

  • While it is kept ambiguous whether or not if Gordon Freeman participates in conversations in the Half-Life series, according to Erik Wolpaw, Chell does not actually speak during the course of Portal. Wolpaw explained that this is because of Chell's anger and frustration at her unfair situation, choosing not to give her surroundings the satisfaction of a response. Wolpaw further stated that Chell probably can talk.[16] Also in Portal 2, GLaDOS does call Chell a mute, though this could just be an observation, not a fact. Additionally, Wheatley attempts to get Chell to speak to check if she has brain damage after being in suspension; the speech prompts provided actually make Chell jump instead. This doesn't necessarily mean she actually has brain damage, as she is still cognitively capable in several other areas. The only known noises that Chell makes are rare grunts of pain in the course of the first game. Which the sound is taken from female Citizen's pain sound.
  • Chell's in-game height has been calculated on the channel "The Game Theorists" to be around 5'3"- the American national average for women. More recently, YouTuber "Mr. Volt" released a video wherein he calculated Chell's height to be 5'9", using the canonical height of P-body.[17]
  • In the course of the games, Chell has left the Enrichment Center three times and has been to the surface twice. The first time was after she defeated GLaDOS at the end of Portal, however she was dragged back into the facility by the Party Escort Bot. The second was when she launched a Portal on to the surface of the Moon to defeat Wheatley. She was sucked into the vacuum of space but was saved by GLaDOS. Finally and currently, she was forced to leave the Aperture Laboratories and was sent to the surface by GLaDOS where she exited the lift near a shed in the middle of a wheat field with a burnt Companion Cube.
  • It is not exactly clear how much time Chell has spent in stasis between events of Portal and Portal 2. At the beginning of Portal 2, she is woken up for the first time after 50 days of sleep after the events of the Lab Rat comic, for a mandatory set of physical and mental exercises. It is unclear how she is woken up since her Relaxation Room was already on Reserve Grid, which is not capable of scheduled waking. Now beginning the events of Portal 2, she wakes up countless of years later, the Announcer fades out (or stutters) after uttering a nearly endless stream of the digit, nine - as the Announcer has reached a maximum count. This is proven when the Announcer's sound file suggests the "nines" repeated until the message has finished, making it about 50 "nines", which would imply a stasis of 2.74×1047 years (longhand this number is "274" followed by 45 zeros). Even with the many scientific and technological leaps and bounds made by Aperture, it is highly unlikely that a patient could be kept in stasis for such a long time, as normally patients must be awakened every 50 days to avoid psychological damage. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that this enormous figure is correct. What seems more likely is that the Announcer's calendar-keeping program may have corrupted after much of the facility fell into disrepair following the destruction of GLaDOS at the end of Portal. However, if confirmed, that theory implies that Chell might have been asleep for any number of years, short or long, as the calendar-keeping program was corrupted all the while. However, judging from the amount of plant growth in the Testing track, it is likely that Chell has been asleep for quite a long time, long enough for the facility to become dilapidated and plant life to take root and flourish. It seems likely that she has been asleep for perhaps 20 years (If this is correct, it could link the timeline of Portal 2 with Half-Life 2: Episode Three).
    • Upon taking a look at the other containers in the Extended Relaxation Center, it can be seen that the period of time between the "packing" and the "expiration" dates is exactly 20 years. Thus the cryogenic storage can only keep a person alive and healthy for 20 years, which means that it has most likely been even less than that, judging by Chell's mental and physical strength that allowed her to survive the events following her awakening.
  • In the Lab Rat comic, one of the files Rattmann has on Chell states the question "Why should Aperture Science accept you as a research volunteer, and would anyone file a police report if you went missing?" Which HR notes: "Subject refused to answer." At the bottom of the file are lines of binary code that translates to The cake is a lie.
  • When visiting the Bring Your Daughter to Work Day Science Fair, a large overgrown potato plant with information on a large piece of cardboard can be found. Close inspection of the project's information reveals "By Chell" as written on the side.
  • In the Co-op Campaign, after completing the Hard Light Surfaces course, GLaDOS makes an indirect reference to her, pausing for a few seconds before saying that she'd rather not go through that again (referring to the events of the single-player campaign).
  • In the video "Michael" - Long Live Play, Chell makes a cameo appearance going through a blue Portal.
  • Given the nature of the game, it is difficult for the player to get a close look at Chell in-game. The easiest way to do so would be setting the sv_cheats 1 command, then activating "thirdperson". The camera can then be adjusted through "cam_idealdist #" for distance, "cam_idealyaw #" for yaw, and so on.
    • Although it is possible to use the thirdperson cheat to change camera modes, the camera itself does not have a "clipping" function. This causes it to be able to go through walls, ceilings, and floors, and pass though Chell with clever positioning. Doing so will be able to reveal the interior of Chell's model - with eyes that are stuck shifting sideways, due to a lack of eyeball models, and a mouth that has a properly modeled and textured tongue, but teeth that use the hair texture.
      • Another way to do so, however, is to place two Portals right next to each other on a wall and inch oneself into one Portal while facing the other. Particularly in Portal 2, this (combined with the zoom command) will allow a close-up look at Chell's face and costume. Interestingly, Chell adopts a deranged expression when she crouches - and, due to a glitch, her pupils may go up her skull. Experimenting with Portal placements can allow viewing of Chell from different angles.
  • In the original Portal, it is possible to connect to someone's game by typing "connect (IP address)" and then typing "sv_cheats 1" to move freely in the console. By looking at the other player's model, it is actually Chell's model, although Portal wasn't made for multiplayer and game may be glitchy upon doing that.
LEGO Chell

Chell's appearance in LEGO Dimensions.

    • Although not very noticeable, if the player cheats by using "impulse 101" or "give item_suit" (which displays their current health), it is revealed Chell actually regenerates health like Alyx, Barney and Grigori but much faster.
      • However, this is also obvious even without the commands, as Chell technically can take an endless amount of damage from turret attacks.
  • Her name is never spoken in-game, but there are several unused lines in Portal 2 that include GLaDOS calling her "Chell" directly.
  • Chell makes a cameo in Telltale Games' Poker Night 2 as the Queen of the Portal set of cards.
  • Chell makes an appearance in LEGO Dimensions as a playable character
  • Chell was at one point to be of interest to The G-Man. After Chell wakes up, Wheatley (Known as Pendleton at that time) was to tell her, "A man with a briefcase was just here looking for you!".





Portal 2: Lab Rat[]

Portal 2[]



List of appearances[]