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Wheatley model
Wheatley
Biographical information
Homeworld

Earth (although currently floating around in space)

Function(s) / Belongings
Rank/ Occupation
Weapons
Equipment
Vehicles

Aperture Science core mobility rail (formerly)

Physical description
Nature

Personality Construct (Intelligence Dampening Core)

Gender

Male programming

Eye color

Blue Optic

Chronological and political information
Era(s)

Portal 2

Affiliation

Aperture Science

Game information
Voiced by
Designer(s)
Entity / spawn codes

npc_personality_core - Name: @sphere

 
"He's not just a regular moron. He's the product of the greatest minds of a generation working together with the express purpose of building the dumbest moron who ever lived."
GLaDOS[src]
 

Wheatley, once an Intelligence Dampening Sphere attached onto GLaDOS, is a loose Personality Construct and was briefly the deuteragonist in the single-player campaign of Portal 2. He is one of the many cores seen awakening at the end of Portal, although he had previously been awake before GLaDOS' takeover of the Aperture Science Enrichment Center.

Speaking in a masculine voice with an English West country accent, he is Chell's sidekick and guide during the first half of the game.[6] He assumes control of the Enrichment Center during the game's second half and is immediately driven mad with power, then becoming Portal 2's main antagonist.

Overview Edit

Background Edit

According to GLaDOS, Wheatley was originally designed by the Aperture technicians as an "Intelligence Dampening Sphere." His intended function was to render GLaDOS less dangerous, by generating a constant stream of stupid ideas, thereby distracting her and hampering her decision-making process. Wheatley states that at one time he almost got a job in the manufacturing department, but the foreman instead chose an "exact duplicate of himself" for the position. The only known duty that Wheatley has over the Enrichment Center is what he considered the least desirable job available — attending to the "smelly humans" in the Extended Relaxation Center. However, he attempts to hide his dissatisfaction by apologizing to Chell immediately after saying this, claiming it "just slipped out."

Appearances Edit

Portal 2 Edit

Many years after the events of Portal, Wheatley finally decides to awaken Chell from stasis in the Relaxation Center, as he has become concerned of the slowly deteriorating reactor core. Unaware of Chell's history with GLaDOS, he chooses her because she is the last surviving test subject and suggests that they help one another escape.

Wheatley close-up

Wheatley on his Management Rail in a broken entrance to Test Chamber 08.

The duo journey together through the defunct and heavily damaged facility as Wheatley babbles incessantly. Although Chell does most of the work and has to figure out how to bypass many obstacles on her own, Wheatley does prove to be a useful asset. He can be plugged into various Personality Core input ports, allowing him to access the mainframe to open doors and wall panels.

After reuniting with Chell, he explains to her that the only known exit to the surface is through the Main Breaker Room within the Central AI Chamber. Although it is unclear what sort of experiences Wheatley has had with GLaDOS, he appears to be well aware of how dangerous and vindictive she is, also regarding her with well-justified fear.

Wheatley cracking glados

Wheatley unsuccessfully attempting to stop GLaDOS' activation in the Central AI Chamber

After getting across the remains of GLaDOS in the Central AI Chamber to find an escape pod, they eventually reach a massive cylindrical room underneath, populated with breaker switches and containing what appears to be an escape pod to the surface. Wheatley warns Chell that only the switch to power the escape pod should be flipped, so she searches for it. Almost immediately, the neglected equipment malfunctions and the floor below them reveals itself as an elevator that begins ascending, flipping all the switches on the periphery in the process, before finally being brought in front of an awakening GLaDOS. Acutely aware of the damage that has been done, Wheatley scrambles to find an abort password while turning his face plates on themselves and moving the diaphragm of his unique eye, forgoing a practical algorithm for a sequential brute-force strategy: "A-A-A-A-A-umm.. A? Okay... A-A-A-A-A-C? Wait, did I do B? Do you have a pen? Start writing these down!"

The climb halts as the platform comes flush with a door leading to an overgrown courtyard now housing the dormant remains of GLaDOS. Having failed to find the abort password, Wheatley rightly fears her reaction. As the duo approaches, she rises and immediately recognizes Chell. After a short monologue, GLaDOS lifts up the duo with several robotic claws and crushes Wheatley. She then has Chell sent back into the Testing Tracks through the Incinerator Room.[6] Wheatley survives the incident in an unexplained incident involving a bird, as he later attempts to tell Chell, but is interrupted. The official Valve guide claims that he managed to reactivate himself through the use of a spare core.

Wheatley escape rail

Wheatley guiding Chell through the facility for the sabotage plan.

During Chell's tests, he can be seen lifting panels to observe her from outside the testing areas. Eventually, he helps Chell escape from the testing course. After some running, he unveils a plot to sabotage the turret production line and neurotoxin filters. Having shut down GLaDOS' two main weapons against Chell, they return to the Central AI Chamber to dismount her and replace her with Wheatley. Once he is attached to the body of the Central AI, he gains control of the entire facility and calls an elevator to the surface for Chell.

Gloating in triumph, Wheatley shows signs of going mad with power almost immediately. He humiliates GLaDOS by attaching her personality core to a potato battery and quickly changes his mind about giving Chell her freedom. GLaDOS eggs him on, exploiting his insecurities by revealing his origin as a profoundly stupid "intelligence dampening sphere" and pointing out that Chell did all the work in engineering their escape. In a fit of anger and paranoia, he accuses Chell of ordering him around and taking advantage of his hard work. Thrashing about in rage, he punches the elevator several times and accidentally sends GLaDOS and Chell plunging into the forgotten bowels of the facility. After the two are gone, he begins rebuilding the entire facility in his own image, renaming it "Wheatley Laboratories," combining turrets with cubes and plagiarizing GLaDOS' testing tracks as his own.

When GLaDOS and Chell return, the resulting lab is in chaos and the reactor core is in danger of a nuclear meltdown due to Wheatley's incompetence. Despite this, Chell manages to access the core room housing Wheatley. After a brief fight, Chell corrupts Wheatley with cores provided by GLaDOS, causing a core transfer. However, Wheatley had booby-trapped the core transfer stalemate button (used when the substitute core and the corrupt core have a conflict over the transfer), destroying it. But Chell is not without other options: a hole in the ceiling reveals the night sky outside and she shoots a portal at the Moon. Once the portal opens up on the moon, a powerful vacuum is created and Chell and Wheatley are sucked out into space through the other portal, with Chell desperately clinging to Wheatley, both of them held on by a single wire. GLaDOS quickly uses a grabbing arm to snag Chell's hand, pulling her back to safety and sending Wheatley flying into the depths of space.

In a post-credits scene, a genuinely penitent Wheatley is shown floating aimlessly in space (along with the Space Core, who's orbiting around him), remorsefully remarking on all the terrible things that he had done and wishing he could say "sorry."

Personality Edit

Wheatley in tubes

Wheatley and Chell in the Tube Networks.

Wheatley is talkative and friendly at first, although his main motivation in befriending Chell seems to be obtaining her help in escaping. He frequently second guesses his own decisions and is not especially assertive, always trying to persuade Chell to go along with his plans rather than demanding that she do anything. Despite his general indecisiveness, he shows initiative in seeking out Chell to act on his own escape plans. He is patient and, when his actions lead to unpleasant consequences, he is quick to take responsibility and apologize - although usually as a lead-in to asking Chell to go along with another of his plans.

GLaDOS claims that Wheatley was designed as an "intelligence dampening sphere" whose function was to render her less intelligent, and therefore less dangerous, by generating stupid ideas. Early on, it quickly becomes obvious that he tries to act smarter than he really is. His attempts at "hacking" are generally inept or misleading; when sabotaging turret production, for example, he asks Chell to look away so he can "hack" the door by breaking the glass. He repeatedly proves incapable of solving easily foreseeable problems that come up during his escape with Chell, forcing her to work out the details. At one point, he unsuccessfully attempts to evade GLaDOS' detection simply by speaking with a poorly faked American accent, which he claims (on the basis of no evidence whatsoever) lies outside her hearing range.

Wheatley after takeover

Wheatley in the Central Core body, after dismounting GLaDOS' personality core.

Once he takes over the Enrichment Center, his stupidity becomes more apparent. He crudely attaches turrets to weighted cubes to create self-guided cubes as an ill-conceived replacement for human test subjects, then tries to correct their deficiencies by shouting at them; he ignores signs of an imminent reactor core meltdown, shutting the alarms off rather than addressing the problem; he can only manage to build absurdly simple test chambers, such as a button which drops a cube onto another button when pressed, except when he steals ideas previously implemented by GLaDOS; and when he attempts to imitate GLaDOS' methods of antagonizing her test subjects, the best insult he can come up with is "fatty fatty no-parents." GLaDOS generally finds it easy to goad and manipulate him - except when he manages to foil her by not being smart enough to spot the bait; when she presents him with a simple logical paradox which she says will disable any AI and even affects the "Frankenturrets," he survives by failing to even notice the contradiction. He seems profoundly insecure about his intellect, reacting with fury whenever GLaDOS refers to him as a moron.

In contrast to his general lack of intelligence, however, Wheatley occasionally manages to come up with genuinely clever ideas. After GLaDOS puts Chell back into testing, he successfully rescues her. He correctly identified the defenses that would need to be shut down before confronting GLaDOS, although he has no plan for actually doing so. Perhaps most impressively, he manages to trick both Chell and GLaDOS by rigging an Aerial Faith Plate to send them flying in the wrong direction so that they land in a death trap. Finally, when Chell reaches his lair, he has the room set up to counter every trick Chell used to defeat GLaDOS before, even rigging the stalemate button to explode when she reaches it.

After seizing control of the facility, Wheatley is overwhelmed by the power and becomes corrupt almost immediately. He is clearly far weaker-willed than GLaDOS, quickly becoming a slave to "the itch" (a euphoric response to test chamber completion hard-wired into GLaDOS' "body" to encourage testing). He seems to aspire to be the perfect villain, making terrible jokes about his supposed "surprise" for Chell and GLaDOS and tries to one-up GLaDOS as a final boss by modifying his control room. Even with his newfound power, he still shows signs of his old cowardice, especially as Chell draws closer to his "lair."

Once attached to GLaDOS' mainframe, Wheatley begins to display an increasing degree of paranoia and resentment toward Chell. Goaded by GLaDOS, he betrays Chell almost immediately after their victory, claiming that he grew tired of doing all the work while she ordered him around (in fact, the situation was almost exactly the opposite). During the final boss fight, he complains that Chell maliciously chose not to catch him when he detached himself and deliberately deceived him by not telling him she was the one who defeated GLaDOS; furthermore, he says, Chell never wanted to share in his success. He also suggests that Chell and GLaDOS were allied against him from the beginning.

It is unclear to what extent Wheatley's hostility after taking over Aperture can be attributed to the mainframe's programming rather than his own personality. He shows no signs of aggression or ill will before being attached to it, and after his defeat and disconnection from GLaDOS' "body" he expresses genuine remorse for his actions and says he wishes he could apologize to "her" (presumably Chell). GLaDOS herself also becomes noticeably kinder while disconnected from it, although there are other possible explanations for her change in personality. However, there are hints early in the game that Wheatley's apparent friendliness is at least partially a ruse: a few stray comments during his travels with Chell reveal that his true attitude toward humans is mildly contemptuous. Furthermore, during the final boss fight (while still attached to the mainframe), he claims that he fully expected Chell to be killed in their escape attempt from the very beginning, as he says several previous human test subjects with whom he tried to escape have been.

Behind the scenes Edit

  • In the early stages of Portal 2''s production, Wheatley was originally to be named "Pendleton."[7]
  • Wheatley was first introduced during the Portal ARG, in one of the ASCII art images given by the BBS, that later appeared to be a screenshot of him being held by Chell. He was first described in the April 2010 issue of Game Informer, then seen animated for the first time in a gameplay video titled "Meet Wheatley" showcased by Valve during E3 2010.
  • Wheatley's British Midlands heard in the "Meet Wheatley" video shown at E3 2010 uses a placeholder voice provided by Valve animator Richard Lord.[3] Due to very positive feedback, Valve considered at some point making the voice official.[8] Later Lord himself emphasized that his voice was temporary, saying that "there's no way you will be dissapointed with the final voice - I'm over the moon with who it might be." [sic],[4] (possibly giving a hint as to Wheatley's fate) until it was announced that Stephen Merchant, who also has an English accent, would provide the final voice.[2]
  • Wheatley's placeholder texture was a plain white plating with few details.
  • Valve originally intended for Wheatley to have Richard Ayoade voicing him, but found Stephen Merchant more fitting for the character, and asked if he was interested first.[9]
  • The subtitle and filename for the Developer commentary discussing Wheatley's takeover of GLaDOS' body refers to him as "WheatDOS."
  • As mentioned in the developer commentary, the initial idea for "WheatDOS" was to replace GLaDOS's eye with Wheatley's. This was altered to the current design because the change wasn't big enough to see the difference.

Trivia Edit

  • Wheatley bears a slight resemblance with the Cake Core from Portal, with a blue eye and three dots, though Wheatley, like the other cores featured in Portal 2, has the dots only on his right side.
  • The reasons behind the deaths of the other test subjects in stasis is unclear. While originally it was believed it was all due to Wheatley's incompetence, he claims during the final boss fight that he'd previously tried to escape with several test subjects before Chell, all of whom died trying to reach the Portal Device. This dialogue is brought up in the single player commentary, as it was a suggested part of the story that was cut, but Wheatley's comments were left in. Whether the deaths of the previous test subjects actually happened, or whether the story was merely a fabrication by Wheatley intended to upset Chell, is unclear.
  • Stephen Merchant stated in a phone interview that he would be interested in reprising the role of Wheatley again if Valve asked him in the future.[10] He would eventually do so in the form of the "Ap-Sap," an item featured in the game Team Fortress 2.
  • The Spanish line Wheatley says just before making the escape lift in The Escape go up translates to "You are using this translation software incorrectly. Please consult the manual". In the Spanish and German language versions of Portal 2, this line can be heard spoken in English.
  • After the Hard Light Surfaces course in the co-op campaign is completed, GLaDOS makes an indirect reference to him, referring to him as "an imbecile that I had to destroy."
  • It is possible to grab Wheatley in test chambers two and seven in the game when he pokes his head out of the wall. This is likely a glitch, as he doesn't react when picked up, and instead repeats his looking around animation over and over again.
  • When Wheatley is discarded by GLaDOS during her activation, it is possible to hear an emancipation grill vaporizing an object. Considering that Wheatley shows up later alive (albeit in a damaged state), it's unknown what this means.
  • It should be noted that the very name Wheatley means "wheat field," which coincides with the ending of the game as Chell walks into a wheat field. Whether this has symbolic meaning is still up for debate.
  • During his betrayal scene, Wheatley is named for the first time in the entire game: without turning on the subtitles, the player has had no way of knowing his name is Wheatley.

Test courses and achievements Edit

Gallery Edit

Portal 2 Edit

Pre-release Edit

Retail Edit

List of appearances Edit

External links Edit

References Edit

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