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Here's how a voice actor recorded his lines for Portal 2

A raw audio session was found inside the Steam VR Performance Test

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

The Steam VR Performance Test has gotten a ton of attention lately, but one of its cooler caches of buried treasure isn't the usual oblique reference to a sequel that's never coming. It's a soundfile of a recording session for Portal 2's announcer, found in the earliest (and no longer available) version of the demo. Thanks to a lot of cleanup work by Valve News Network, one can hear the directors giving him instructions.

The announcer is the actor Joe Michaels. This is a very long soundfile, some 20 minutes, so it's probably best to just skip around to hear something interesting. The directors are Valve writers — including Erik Wolpaw — working on Portal 2.

This video and audio doesn't betray any great secrets about Portal or Valve, but it is a curious window into how one of the most critical components of a video game gets done, and supplies a key storytelling device. Because we've all heard bad voice acting before, and know how jarring it is to any sense of participation, much less immersion.

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