The upcoming puzzle game Lab Rat didn’t start out looking like Portal, but as development progressed, director Gwen Frey knew it was going in that direction. It’s easy to compare the two at first glance: you play as, well, a Lab Rat, testing procedurally generated puzzles while a female-coded AI oversees you. I caught up with Frey to talk about what we can expect from the game, and it sounds as though the Portal references are just a small part of a more complex experience. Even still, she tells me that herself and the rest of the developers at Chump Squad absolutely leaned into it.
“We thought: people are going to compare this to Portal, so let’s give them Portal. Let’s write out everything we know about Portal, let’s make puzzles that look and feel like Portal with Portal mechanics, but let’s talk about it in a way that’s funny and will interest players.”