There's an interesting rags to finely rendered riches story to be found in an interview conducted with Valve's newest employees -- the DigiPen students responsible for Narbacular Drop, a crazy foray into transitive gameplay that now serves as the inspiration for Valve's mindbending Portal. Kim Swift, one of the developers on the project, notes how rapidly their run-in with Gabe Newell changed their careers and their lives:
"Gabe watched our demo and basically hired us on the spot. It was kind of shocking. We stood around in the parking lot afterwards gibbering to ourselves for about 20 minutes."
The rest of the interview clarifies some issues regarding the Half-Life 2: Episode Two companion, ruling out multiplayer (for now) and firmly labeling the game as a level-based adventure of puzzles and experiments gone awry. Swift was slightly lethargic in sharing information with regards to where exactly Portal fits into the Half-Life universe, though we'd bet a headcrab or two that the protagonist will be a Black Mesa alumni. Perhaps Adrian Shepherd has become an unwitting test subject for the Aperture Science Laboratories?
That suggestion isn't too outlandish, at least not to the same degree as this response from Swift when she seemingly misunderstands a question about EA potentially purchasing Valve:
"As far as I know, Valve has no plans of purchasing EA."
Win-win scenario in an alternate universe: Valve-EA releases a Half-Life game on time, every year.