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- "Thank you for assuming the party escort submission position."
- ―Party Escort Bot[src]
The Party Escort Bot, also known as the Party Associate, was an Aperture Science Personality Construct partially cut from Portal, but reintroduced in the game for the retconned ending featured in the update made on March 3, 2010, as part of the Portal ARG.
The party associate is first mentioned by GLaDOS after Chell escapes certain death at the end of Test Chamber 19. There she says that they are throwing a party in honor of Chell's tremendous success and that a party associate will arrive shortly to collect her for her party. GLaDOS then orders Chell to assume the party escort submission position or she will miss the party. As Chell disregards GLaDOS' words, the party associate is never seen at that point. At the very end of the game, however, when Chell finds herself on the Enrichment Center parking lot after eventually destroying GLaDOS, the party associate finally comes to pick her up, and drags her away inside the facility, thanking her for assuming the party escort submission position, while remaining unseen.
As the end of Chell's series of tests did not proceed properly, the bot is forced to reach the outside to pick her up. It is likely that during normal tests, the bot merely waits for the Test Subject outside the last Test Chamber, and directs them to the party if it ever was part of the tests. Given its voice, it is possibly of masculine programming, and may not be the sole Party Escort Bot to have been used. Given the sounds it makes, it also seems to be mounted on two legs. The bot also has a slight Euro-Asian accent.
Behind the scenes
- According to Erik Wolpaw, the party associate mentioned by GLaDOS was originally to be watching over Chell and be partially heard and glimpsed during the second half of Portal, waiting for Chell to assume the party escort submission position. The final payoff would have been that once Chell had finally defeated GLaDOS and collapsed on the parking lot ground, the party escort robot that had been following her would finally drag her back to their "party" inside the facility. Wolpaw states that this would have been a "super happy ending" for the escort robot, but a less happy ending for the player.
- In the update made to Portal on March 3, 2010, named "Added valuable asset retrieval", the original Portal ending was restored. Now, instead of the original direct fadeout, Chell is dragged away by the Party Escort Bot, thanking her for assuming the party escort submission position. This, "re-energizing" Portal, and bridging the gap between it and Portal 2, since Chell awakens back inside Aperture Laboratories in Portal 2. However, the presence of the bot in the second half of the game was not restored. Furthermore, around 10 minutes before the Portal March 3, 2010, update, the progress bar and the words "VALUABLE ASSET RETRIEVAL INITIATED" appeared in the BBS, suggesting the BBS itself dispatched the Party Escort Bot.
- According to Valve's Jason Holtman, changing the Portal ending was not decided until a few days before the start of the ARG, and the versatility of the PC platform greatly helped its inclusion.
- The track "Party Escort" in the Portal soundtrack is a reference to the Party Escort Bot.
- Noclipping where Chell is dragged away in the updated "
escape_02.bsp" will reveal at the camera location a cube model used for the game's camera, named "GhostAnim.mdl" and using the texture files of the can of beans found several times in the game (used as a placeholder). Found in the newly added folder "props/camera" in the Portal game files, the model has two animations, "idle" and "move", the latter being used for the movement pattern seen when being dragged away. Shooting a portal on it or anywhere near it will crash the game.
List of appearances
- Portal (First appearance) (Originally mentioned only, then retconned as a character)
- Portal: Still Alive (Non-canonical appearance) (Mentioned only)
- Portal ARG (Indirectly in the BBS dump, and the retconned Portal ending)
- Portal 2: Lab Rat
- Exploring Portal’s Creation And Its Ties To Half-Life 2 on Game Informer
- Portal Update Released - March 3, 2010 - on Steampowered.com
- GameInformer, April 2010 issue
- Portal ARG Still Ongoing on The Escapist