Perpetual Testing Initiative
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|Perpetual Testing Initiative|
May 8, 2012
The Perpetual Testing Initiative (abbreviated as PeTI) is the in-universe name for the simplified Portal 2 level editor, or Puzzle Maker, and the Steam Workshop integration for it, released as one DLC package on May 8, 2012.
PeTI was first officially introduced in an informational video narrated by Cave Johnson, officially released on April 27, 2012, and featured as an introduction in the level editor itself. It can be replayed at any time from Portal 2's in-game Extras menu.
In the new storyline of the Perpetual Testing Initiative (which is possibly set in 1988, according to its trailer), Cave Johnson wants to lessen Aperture's spending, to avoid bankruptcy. In order to do so, he establishes the Extra-Earth Outsourcing Initiative. Instead of having Test Chambers built in our own dimension (known as Earth One), the plans are sent to versions of Aperture Science in other dimensions within the multiverse, and these alternate Apertures will then build the Test Chambers. Test Subjects from Earth One are then sent there to test the chambers. In-game, the Test Subjects are represented by models of the stick-figure (known as Bendy) used in trailers for Portal, as well as Portal 2.
Several of the announcements from Cave Johnson can be pieced together to create an overall storyline taking place during testing. Test Subjects from another "evil" dimension began testing on Earth One while playing malicious pranks, much to the annoyance of Cave, who orders the player to find a "money-verse", a universe made entirely of US currency. "Evil Cave" or "Dark Cave", meanwhile, requests the player bring any information of a money-verse to him, promising to double their asparagus rations and give them all the methane they can breathe. This culminates in a bidding war between the two Caves, before the player's own evil counterpart finds two money-verses, which they split, solving their financial issues. Cave then brings the player back to Earth One to continue testing now that they can afford their own chambers.
During the course of the DLC, the player is sent to multiple universes via the Multiverse Device to Test Chambers built by alternate versions of Aperture Science. These universes act as parallel dimensions where different Apertures exist, each one with a different version of Cave Johnson, and a different backstory. While none of these dimensions are really seen outside of the Test Chambers, announcements from Cave Johnson played at the beginning of each test reveal the nature of the universe the player is testing.
It appears that some of the audio announcements in these parallel universes are overheard by Cave Prime (the Cave Johnson of Earth One), making him aware of how different those alternate Caves are from him and how these parallel Aperture facilities might work. To avoid confusion with other "Cave impostors" from these parallel dimension, the original Cave Johnson uses "chariots" as code word (although later on he starts using "chariots chariots", after learning that alternate Caves might also have the same habit of saying "chariots").
There are a number of dimensions the player passes through on his voyage through the Multiverse, listed below in the order they're encountered in:
- 1st Universe, also known as Earth One. This universe differs from the one featured in the main Portal 2 storyline in that Cave Prime has cancelled the GLaDOS project in response to Computer Cave's universe. Also, his assistant is Greg rather than Caroline. The player is sent to Test Chambers in other universes from here.
- 2nd Universe, where Earth has been taken over and is governed by the Sentient Cloud.
- 3rd Universe, where Aperture Science is instead the occult Aperture Rituals, experimenting a mating ritual with a giant bird to stave off the end of the world.
- 4th Universe, where Soylent Green is legal (a reference to the movie of the same name), though much too expensive for Aperture's expenses.
- 5th Universe, where a dancing Cave Johnson greets Test Subjects, reminding them that testing is not a dance exemption, according to the law.
- 6th Universe, where Aperture Science seems to test half-man and half-machine police officers named "Robot-a-Cop", as a reference to the movie RoboCop.
- 7th Universe, where mankind travels through the galaxy with hyperdrive and where Aperture Science is instead the Terra III Penal Science Colony, experimenting with test prisoners in space under the supervision of warden Cave Johnson. Later the prison is having a security breach after power fails, and warden Johnson can be heard recording his last message before dying from being stabbed numerously.
- 8th Universe, where Mantis Men are the dominant species on Earth, and man-mantises are the guinea pigs of Aperture's research.
- 9th Universe, where Aperture is testing in a space satellite orbiting the Earth and composed of Science Spheres, though the Test Subjects, unaware of it, are always trying to break out.
- 10th Universe, where the Enrichment Center is instead the Aperture Hollow Science Jungle ruled by "Michigan Slim" Cave Johnson, the hobo king, and where Test Subjects (hobos) are asked to "scrounge around for some science".
- 11th Universe, where Cave Johnson's assistant Blark-Barg (replacing Caroline as the backbone of the facility) kept behind glass is not human and produces seeds that hurl at high speed, hunting down human hosts.
- 12th Universe, where Aperture has successfully performed a telekinesis incubation program, though the selected Test Subjects are trying to blow the employees' head off, especially Cave Johnson.
- 13th Universe, where people reaching the age of 98 have to report to the government to be killed, a reference to the 1967 novel Logan's Run. Cave Johnson also mentions that his age is 51.
- 14th Universe, where a younger Cave Johnson, former Junior Claim Representative of Aperture, is accusing Doug Rattmann, the president of Aperture Science in this universe, of embezzlement.
- 15th Universe, where Mantis Men are taking over the Aperture Science facility.
- 16th Universe, where Cave Johnson, who speaks in a low tone of voice in this universe, claims that he can see the Test Subject and their feet, and wants to cut all of the Test Subjects hair, put it all on their feet, then eat both their hair and feet.
- 17th Universe, where Cave Johnson has been resurrected inside of a computer, as part of the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System initiative, and has fired all employees (including Greg) in case he turns mad due to his new condition, which does finally happen. However, he then realizes the flaws of being immortal. This universe references one of the original storyline for Portal 2, including exact texts from the Portal ARG.
- 18th Universe, where the Enrichment Center is instead Aperture Paranormal overseen by Cave Johnson, who is host to a tiny but powerful demon that lives in a secret place in his mouth, and where Test Subjects - magicians, witches, witch doctors - are asked to "draw some pentagrams".
- 19th Universe, where Cave Johnson informs Test Subjects that they are in a Test Chamber circulating in his blood stream, and requests Test Subjects to find a set of car keys that belong to him, which were shrunk down too as a prank by certain Aperture employees.
- 20th Universe, where the U.S. President is being held hostage inside a giant super-prison located at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean, and every science facility in America is being tasked to produce a super soldier, with Cave Johnson nominating himself, capable of breaking into "Supermaxlantis".
- 21st Universe, where an alien creature is discovered to be bodysnatching Aperture employees and spawning communist replicas of them through pods, a reference to the 1955 science fiction novel, The Body Snatchers.
- 22nd Universe, where a cat Cave Johnson is heard speaking using "meows".
- 23rd Universe, where Cave Johnson bought Black Mesa, and has renamed it Blapperture Mesa. He has also shut down anomalous materials research, preventing the infamous Black Mesa Incident from ever occuring.
- 24th Universe, where after decades of testing, humans have finally transformed into beings of pure light, and that more testing will be done to achieve mans ultimate dream, to evolve into pillars of pure salt.
- 25th Universe, where the Test Subject from Earth One is discovered by that universe's Cave Johnson, who regrets not installing multiverse monitoring equipment, due to being told that "it was stupid".
- 26th Universe, where a sick boy named Timmy says that if the Test Subject could solve the next test, the toxins in his body could be potentially cured. It is later claimed by the Cave Johnson from Earth One that the boy did indeed die later on due to the toxins in his body.
- 27th Universe, where a gender swapped version of Cave Johnson named "Cavina Johnson" claims that a Test Subject from that universe had sent a letter to the "Supreme Council of Matriarchs" accusing her of being a man, while assuring that she is in fact a woman (albeit with a male voice).
- 28th Universe, where due to a malfunction in a peanut dust ventilator, the atmosphere in the Test Chambers is now only 60% peanut dust, which may pose a threat for those allergic to air.
- 29th Universe, where research into stopping all Godzilla attacks on U.S. soil has been postponed indefinitely, due to the discovery that the location where you hatch a nest full of Godzilla's does not matter, as their first destination upon hatching is always Tokyo, Japan.
- 30th Universe, where "Big Box" Cave Johnson is heard talking on a CB Radio, reporting that he is hauling a crate full of "cold ones" all the way to Texarkana, Texas.
- 31st Universe, where a pair of sunglasses have been discovered, allowing users to discover the subliminal propaganda that was painstakingly hidden on every visible surface of Aperture Science, a reference to the movie They Live.
- 32nd Universe, where the Enrichment Center is instead Aperture Gas Finding Science, and the Cave Johnson of that universe promises that if the quarterly gas-finding target is met that they will "don our bondage gear, fuel our death-cars, and drive around in circles, whooping it up and shooting arrows at people", a reference to the action film series Mad Max.
- 33rd Universe, where Cave Johnson is revealed to be the entire planet Earth.
- Last Outpost of Sanity, Richard Lord's official blog (April 21, 2013) (archived)
- Portal 2 Perpetual Testing Initiative Starts Now on Steam News