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During the very early stages of development for Portal 2, the game bore little resemblance to the original Portal and was to feature a new female Test Subject named Mel as the protagonist. Play testers were disappointed by this prototype's heavy departure from its predecessor, and the realization that GLaDOS did not recognize the player character was not received well. Therefore, the plans for Mel were scrapped and Chell returned as the protagonist.
Later on, Mel was brought back as a potential co-op character to be partnered with Chell in the newly-introduced cooperative mode. However, this idea was dropped as well when the team encountered the issue of explaining in-universe how these human Test Subjects would be able to repeatedly respawn after dying through normal gameplay. These co-op characters eventually became ATLAS and P-body, two infinitely respawnable robots, whereas Chell was kept solely for the singleplayer campaign. Some of GLaDOS's original dialogue intended to be aimed at the two women, such as taunting them about their weight, was kept with the robots as it added to the humor.
A placeholder texture for Mel can be found in the game files for Portal 2 depicting her using the Chell model from the original Portal with a light blue jumpsuit, pink Advanced Knee Replacements, blonde hair, blue eyes, and a fairer skin tone.
A fan-created story for Mel is explored in the mod Portal Stories: Mel.
List of appearances
- Preview: Portal 2 (co-op) on Joystiq
- Creating a Sequel to a Game That Doesn't Need One (GDC 2012) on GDC Vault