Poll Question 227 – Did Black Mesa steal the gravity gun from Aperture Science?

4th June 2011

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

I really enjoyed the Lab Rat Comic and highly recommend it. As you can see from the image on the left, there’s the gravity gun on the table and there are other items that we associate with BM scattered around the comic.

It raises the question of who had it first BM or AS? I like the way Valve have got those two against each other.

Anyway, did Black Mesa steal the gravity gun from Aperture Science?

And let’s take this opportunity to chat about the BM/AS connections.

The Poll


  1. RunningJack

    none of the answers. I think the gravity gun on the pic is just some kind of joke. aswell as the HEV charger on the wall.. HEV chargers are for HEV suits, aren’t they?
    then you should ask who invented the HEV suits.. and im pretty sure BM did

    1. Ash

      …Play Portal, listen to GLaDOS, she mentions Black Mesa… it’s not a joke, Cave mentions Black Mesa, that they stole the grav gun, now think about your answer again… If i’m not the first to point out the obvious, then i’m proud, but otherwise, just… just play Portal and Portal 2 before you say something like that.

    2. King spy

      It is possible that Alyx’s mother was a double agent and AS to the BM has transferred the ideas between the two companies

  2. Actually they stole the idea from Black Mesa and applied it to the handheld portal device.

  3. Syd

    I personally think the gravity gun it was just an easter egg. As for the wall charger, it also could just be an easter egg, but HEV suits may have been commercial products. and if that’s the case there was no reason Aperture couldn’t purchase their own.

  4. Dr. Hammer

    It would seem that Aperature sience creates these ideas, and then Black Meas comes out with very similar ideas. It’s been an ongoing side-story that aperature makes their science from scratch, only to have Black mesa take their ideas. This is actually alluded to several times during the course of Portal 2. such as the trophy case “easter egg” and Cave’s pre-recorded messages that seem to state that black mesa had almost ran them out of buisness. (or something close to that.). Also a funny tidbit. If you look at the valve store you can see pages for coffee mugs (very cool I might add), and that also seems to hint that Black Mesa stole Aperature’s “non-patented Thermal insulation material” http://store.valvesoftware.com/product.php?i=MU100() -black mesa (http://store.valvesoftware.com/product.php?i=MU200) -aperature

    I am not saying Black Mesa sole ALL of Aperature’s ideas, nor am I saying ALL of Black Mesa’s ideas are stolen. But I am saying that any similar ideas between the two companies were most likely originated by Aperature, and then taken by Black Mesa.

    1. Fish

      Cave did say “Black mesa can eat my broke a-“

  5. Cave Johnson did say that “at least we don’t make money off stealing other people’s ideas..”. He then mentions Black Mesa right after that.

  6. Nihillo

    No. It’s just an easter egg, I bet that entire room isn’t considered canon by Valve.

    1. Ash

      Play Portal and Portal 2 and tell me that again, got it? Cave and GLaDOS mention it!

      1. futureman

        I am commenting from 7 years in the future to shame Ash for being such a jerk. Valve left it ambiguous on purpose.

  7. Frohman Zelinsky

    Aperture Science Weighted Cube Transporter

    Then came the time of the rob rob robbery.
    After that the gravitygun was prototyped at the start of HL1s teleport to hold the barrels.

    Then the concepts got saved but just for the gravity part , not the portal one wich is now being backed up at the borealis.

  8. Poison_Berrie

    Just an easter-egg.
    Nothing to see here, move along.

    I mean there’s a load of easter-eggs in Portal 2 and not all of them are meant as foreshadowing.

  9. Derbler

    No, the gravity gun was not stolen, I thought Alyx says Eli developed it in HL2? Anyways, I voted “Maybe” because the “No” option says that BM and AS used to co-operate, which hasn’t been proven so I can’t say that for a fact. But I will say for a fact that, to the best of my knowledge, the gravgun was not a stolen idea.

  10. zonbie

    Black Mesa stole it from Aperture Science. And the Combine will steal it from Black Mesa.

  11. Joji

    To say the truth, I just realized the HEV/Health Charger and the Gravity Gun in the comic after you guys mentioned it. O_o Lol?

    1. Don’t feel bad, I am sure I missed lots of stuff too.

  12. I’m surprise I didn’t see this the first time I looked through the comic. Another Easter egg hidden in plain view that I’ve missed.

    But to the question at hand. Initially, I thought that Aperture may have stolen the gravity gun from Black Mesa and want to reverse engineer it. However, there are the HEV and First Aid Stations on the wall, which they may use given that the two guys are standing in front of one as the sphere might take a hand off. So now I’m not sure who is stealing from who.

    Though, I like the way Valve has subtly implied industrial espionage. I wonder if we will see any portal/aperture references in Ep3?

    1. I’m surprise I didn’t see this the first time I looked through the comic. Another Easter egg hidden in plain view that I’ve missed.

      Makes me wonder what I missed too. I might have to re-read it sometime.

    2. King spy

      Did you notice that Portal
      rifle is able to lift objects just like the gravity gun, but to create portals. This supports my theory of Alyx, who wrote in another comment. I’m sorry but translated with google translate and may have some bugsу.

  13. Vic

    None of the answers. I think it’s the other way around. Despite the fact that it is never clarified who constructed the gravity gun in the Half-Life series, Eli, Judith and Alyx seem to have been familiar with the thing for quite some time. It seems a bit too advanced for the Resistance to have designed it from the ground up in only two decades, so I always imagined it was based on Black Mesa designs.

    The one we see in HL2 seems to have been jury-rigged at a later date (it certainly seems larger and bulkier than the one seen in Lab Rat, which must have been a complete prototype), and since Eli and Judith can’t have brought it with them (and I doubt that any scientist would carry the thing with him through the Incident, let alone give it to Eli at a later date), I imagined it had been reconstructed some time after the Combine invasion.

    As for the prototype we’re seeing here in Lab Rat, it seems very bulky, and looking at it, it doesn’t look like Aperture tech, which is sleek, white and not at all like what we’re seeing here.

    Furthermore, the gravity gun seems to run on some sort of crystal or substance, placed in the front part of the device. Many fans believe it’s a Xenian crystal – it definitely looks like it. If we follow this theory, then there’s no way Aperture created the gravity gun, because their portal technology does not interface or interact in any way with Xen, or any other borderworld.

    So, in conclusion, I believe Black Mesa created the gravity gun, and Aperture stole it for use in their technology, particularly the portal gun (Interestingly, the gravity function in Portal 2’s portal device doesn’t resemble the HL2 gravity gun as much as it used to, in Portal 1. I believe it’s a sign they took the gravity tech, reverse engineered it and overhauled it for use in the device. If it were their technology from the start, I think they would have looked nearly identical).

    I don’t think Aperture and Black Mesa would ever cooperate, however. Black Mesa has been around since the 1970’s, perhaps even earlier, and they’ve always been rival companies. It’s implied they spy on each other, and they steal each other’s technology.

    Excuse the wall of text!

    1. Fish

      keep in mind that Aperture Science Innovators had created the Quantum Tunneling Device in 1947.

  14. Bramblepath

    Valve very rarely do anything that isn’t canon. They work on the very fine details of their stories. Even so, it’s hard to say. Personally I think that Aperture stole it from Black Mesa, or possibly vice versa. Largely because Black Mesa seem like the reputable science company.

    1. DerpFace

      the portal gun has a feature to pick up items but not throw them, so maybe they were
      working on the gravity gun, but SOMEONE *cough* RATTMAN *cough* showed Black mesa where
      it was, and they stole it and gave it to Eli to perfect it…

  15. tim

    BM’s gravity gun uses microportals to transfer the effect of the gravity of the item through a portal to the Xen world. This is why there is an apparent effect of anti-gravity; gravity isn’t destroyed, only transferred/translated through to another dimension.

    1. Interesting. Thanks for the info.

      1. Vic

        Interesting, but where exactly are you getting this from?

        1. I think you meant to reply to Tim.

          1. Vic

            Oops, yeah. Thought the comments worked like a thread.

            1. Thought the comments worked like a thread.

              They do, you can have multiple threaded comments. I would have moved it, if it was easy.

              1. Vic

                Alright, got it. I made another reply on his original commenting thread.

    2. Vic

      I don’t really think so. For one, we can’t see any portals on or around the gravity gun. I also don’t think you can teleport “the effect of gravity” of a certain object without teleporting the whole thing. And finally, the grav gun is known as a “zero point energy field manipulator”. This means it operates using zero-point energy principles, which are mostly unrelated to teleportation.

  16. Runshin

    It’s a part of a larger story that’s going on in background. Don’t know how many of you found it, but in Portal 2 in a dark room with “Bring your daughter to work day” you can find name “by Alix” drawn on a wall in one of the boxes with that potato science stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0cSaf7hH_o
    So I think that Eli was cooperating with Aperture Science, maybe to implement gravity manipulation with the portal device, and the gravity gun was a prototype or a template for that. And since Alyx was still a child this happened probably before resonance cascade accident. Who knows, but I think that she could know Chell, “cause they were probably in the same age at that time. Proof to that is name “Chell” in a box with enormous potato. 🙂

    1. Vic

      That’s actually very interesting. Many people dismiss it as an easter egg or a coincidence, but there’s a very strong connection, as Alyx herself misspelled her name as “Alix”, as can be seen from her scribblings on Kleiner’s corkboard. I do hope they tie this up in EP3/HL3.

      1. Runshin

        Well, this is also answer to how Eli and Kleiner know about Borealis, how it vanished and what’s on board, some mysterious and powerful device / technology that Eli fears to never use, as they seen it on their own eyes. Some clues about what could be inside Borealis is hinted in a message from J.H. to C.J. that you can find here: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1844644
        Something BIG.
        Did someone discovered who J.H. could be? Everybody probably knows that C.J. stands for Cave Johnson.

        1. Vic

          Eli and Kleiner presumably know about the Borealis because it was an infamous accident; Aperture’s greatest research vessel, completely lost with all hands. I’d imagine word spilled out and it became legendary. Eli and Borealis only know there’s some dangerous tech on it because evidently, Aperture must have had some heavy hardware on it if it completely vanished. So I don’t think Eli and Kleiner are the important part here. Judith is. She went to the Arctic to find the Overworld codes and instead stumbled upon the Borealis. A strange coincidence, I’d say. We know she couldn’t enter Black Mesa, but what if she went to Aperture instead?

          As for that message – it’s fake. It came from Dougley, one of the major ARG participants. He was selected as one of the ARG champions who were to be flown to Valve, but since he started doing his own thing, spreading weird stuff, Valve cancelled that, and confirmed everything that came from him was fake.

        2. Vic

          Eli and Kleiner know of the Borealis because it’s an infamous accident. Aperture’s top research vessel, completely lost with all hands. I’d imagine it became legendary. As for how they know of the dangerous technology on board – well, it’s not an outrageous conclusion. If the thing completely vanished, then there must have been some amazing portal tech on board.

          As such, I don’t think Eli and Kleiner are the important pieces in the BM-Aperture puzzle, even with the “Alix” potato exhibit. The real link here is Judith. She went to the Arctic in search of the Overworld codes, but instead found the Borealis. Purely a coincidence? I’m not so sure. We know Judith was turned down by Black Mesa. Perhaps she went to Aperture instead? It certainly makes sense.

          As for that message – it’s fake. It was made by Dougley, who was a major Potato ARG participant, and one of the “ARG champions”. Unfortunately, he decided to spin off and do his own thing, interfering with Valve’s work. They have since stated that all of his independent messages were fake.

    2. Hec

      It’s interesting how actually, the old Portal Gun device used in the 50’s in AS, I think is called Cuantic Portal holes device, or something like that, is pretty similar to the Wave sound weapon that Gordon used in BM, I mean it has a long hose comming out from a really kind of heavy back pack, as the pictures in the AS old section shows a guy with that old portal device, as well similar to the wave sound weapon in BM, a really big heavy backpack and a kind of hose or tube, where portals came out!

      1. Fish

        *Aperture Science Quantum Tunneling Device.

  17. Hec

    Oh this poll is especial because, i’ve always tought as the GG as a relatively close parent to the Portal Gun, I mean Portal gun also can lift and load things, is possible that AS and BM, had a really serious espionage program in order to figured out how was working each other, and if BM did not steal that asset from AS, it’s sure that they have copied that or maybe, Eli did it when BM holocaust break loose, anyway conections are really cool, altough I think BM was the favourite son of the goverment, referring to military contracts, and AS really got angry with those BM bastards for lossing the portal teletransportation competition, I really think, AS, portal devices were too much superior than BM, but BM static portal system was perfect for the G-Man intention in order to plan the invassion to the earth, but sure superior inventions of AS, were surelly in the sight of the G-Man, and of course the Combine, I think AS team evacuated the “Borealis” when CMB invassion ocurred (that is a perfect theme for a really cool mod by the way 😉 ), and then the CMB assault the ship and kill everyone there, in order to control some really important technology of AS like probably the emancipation grill, and most likley the Portal Gun, the main question is who tell the CMB, about the AS developments, was Cave Johnsosn???, hell no!!!(the poor guy was so dead when CMB invassion ocurred), was most likley that traitor of Dr. Breen, which is obvious because when AS was taken by Glados and their scentists team killed by her,fact that Breen surelly would know, was the perfect chance for the Breen bitch, in order to steal many developments of AS, and share them with the hated CMB “malefactors”…. and even maybe, the borealis has a copy of GlaDoS on it’s belly ship, which can serve well to the malevolic CMB in order to built a more efficient dominantion web on earth and exterminate all the resistance and humans in the future, if what is into the borealis is a copy of Glados, that will be soooo much shocking and really disturbing…, I mean that could explain why Eli wanted so bad to be destroyed that thing Borealis was carrying, because maybe he knew about Glados dissaster into AS, and Kleiner actually wants functioning that powerful thing of the Borealis, could be Glados, she can be very useful against the CMB, who knows, it will only tell Ep3.

    1. Runshin

      Nice theory, but things may be simpler than this. Combine do not have advanced portal technology, as you can see their small, broken portal during the course of HL2, and there is said that they strive to acquire one to bring reinforcements from their homeworld, so they sacrificed the whole Citadel to do so, with unsuccessful results. Breen probably knew about Borealis, and Judith stole coordinates to locate it when she was working for him, or even after that, during the final battle with Breen… but that theory is far-fetched; consider this – how much time do they had (Judith and Eli) to get coordinates, escape from the citadel AND get to the White Forest in that short time-span when Gordon and Alyx were battling Breen until the explosion of the reactor? Okay, so we don’t know how much time passed after the explosion to the moment when Ep1 starts, few hours? Half a day? Regardless, Judith went straight after that to pinpoint the location of “The Project” (yeah, even after she said to Eli “I will never leave you again” 😉 ) and the Combine went after her to that snowy base. So… about the contents of Borealis, I don’t bet on AI similar to GLaDOS, but rather some kind of portal device that could make another mega-portal like that one from Ep2.
      Oh, and about Black Mesa winning competition with Aperture Science – I think that AS was too radical; aside from inventing useless stuff that the government did not found to have any meaning in their military program, they sacrificed too many people in their experiments, the press found about it and then they just collapsed. They blamed Black Mesa because of their eccentric and egocentric nature – they had to blame someone, not because BM stoled something from them, but because they just did things right. That’s why I think that cooperation theory is very possible. Tell me what do you think about it?

      1. Hec

        Judith went straight after that to pinpoint the location of “The Project” (yeah, even after she said to Eli “I will never leave you again” )

        Oh poor Judih when she find out that her beloved Eli is so murdered by that fat ass Advisor! lol 🙂

        And about cooperation between compannys that could be possible, due to as I said in my other comment that Sound Wave Weapon from Black Mesa looks like the 1st portal device of Aperture Labs, so maybe AS can sold them the rights to transform that portal device into a kind of a sound weapon, (oh by the way, how I miss that weapon, it blows up xen guys and grunts so nice).

        And yep, I agree that AS make some irrelevant experiments and also it’s portal tech had some hindrances like the fact that moon dust is a really great portal conductor, so maybe could it be that the modern portal gun just doesn’t work on many real life out door uncontroled environments. As for BM I think they were more responsible when they develop their tech I mean they planned to contact Xen world in order to get some useful resources from that alien world and bring them to the earth for the benefit of the Goverment and the Military, so Bm was sooo much useful for the Goverment than AS was, I mean AS, only provided those “magic” shower courtains and they don’t gave them something more useful to the military, maybe the fast orange gel could be used at the aircraft carriers decks for impulse the combat planes to the air, if I were a navy contractor officer, or some scientist at JPL at NASA, i’d be very interested on that AS develop 🙂 .

        1. Vic

          The Combine never reached the Borealis. If they had, our task would be over before it had even begun. The Borealis presumably houses portal technology that will allow the Combine to re-establish a link to the Overworld. If the Combine had this, not only will they not need the Resistance’s help to aid in portal development (when evidently in HL2 they are actively working with Judith to establish a Calabi-Yau prototype in the Nova Prospekt Depot), since they have Aperture’s tech, which is arguably far more versatile and safe, but they could snuff out the Uprising before it even begins. The Combine have never stepped foot on the Borealis, and this is made evident in the games.

          Breen did not know of GLaDOS” takeover of the Enrichment Center. All contact was completely lost with the outside world. There was no way anyone found out. In addition, the Resonance Cascade occured only days later.

          In addition, it’s implied the Borealis has been lost since the 1970’s. Some fans theorize that it’s been stuck in a slow teleport loop and has only just re-emerged in the Arctic – it’s definitely in good shape. So I don’t think GLaDOS is on it. Even if it hasn’t been lost since the 70’s, I don’t see why Aperture would place a fully operational GLaDOS backup on the Borealis. Sure, they’re insane, but they surely have boundaries.

          As for the link between the Black Mesa Gluon Cannon and the 1950’s Quantum Portal Device, there’s definitely a strong visual connection, but the two devices share absolutely nothing in common. The Gluon Cannon annihilates gluons, the particles that control the strong force holding atomic nuclei together. The Quantum Portal Device uses Aperture’s teleportation technology.

          1. Hec

            I agree defenetly in all you had stated, but respect to this:

            The Combine have never stepped foot on the Borealis, and this is made evident in the games.

            What about the only teaser image of Ep3 where valve makes the suggestion that Borealis is stucked into one big metal structure, really similar to the ones that build the combine, and a big chunk of hard rock solid ice?? I mean maybe that’s a probably evidence that CMB have reached the ship and gordon will have to cope with those forces, especially the advisors that also can be visualized on the pic.

            We still don’t know, but I have the feeling Borealis it will not be alone anymore by the time Gordon reaches it…, also Newell have said that they wanted to bring back the “fear factor” in this next ep3, so maybe Borealis part or trying to reach that ship is going to be scary as Ravenholm but too much enhanced this time.

            1. Vic

              I really don’t think we can take an outdated piece of concept art as evidence. Furthermore, Episode Two clearly shows that the Borealis is not encased in any Combine construction. So they haven’t been there just yet.

              Whether or not the Combine have since reached the Borealis in the timespan between Judith’s transmission and Gordon’s impending arrival is unknown. It’s not what I was trying to get at in my argument either, and it didn’t seem to be what you were trying to get at either.

              I suppose it’s a possibility, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

              1. Hec

                Yep, it’s seems that we’re going have to wait untill the glorious launching of ep3, only time will tell, but for now it’s been soo dam long I hope it won’t delay anymore!!, or at least they said something official, or a teaser appears in E3 next year or so…

          2. Bryan

            Apeture making the Gravity gun makes more sense. Even if Black Mesa made the gun, they would most likely be spending most of their time on (forgot what it was called sry) the Xen portal thing. Even if there was a team working on the gun, they would most likely be killed by the Xen aliens. And if Eli got to the surface how could he get through the aliens, traps, ladders, etc. If he had a weapon he couldn’t hold on to the Gravity gun and his weapon while climbing all those ladders, and he didn’t have a Hazard suit. So he most likely would be exposed to radiation! It took Gordan like 5/6 of the game to get out of Black Mesa then to Xen. Bm and As could work together they would most likely be helping eachother (though I could see Bm taking the advantage for their self and stealing the gun). If Chell met Gordan she could help kill more Combine soldiers or even defeat G man. G man could even be Black Mesas founder taking a liking on Gordan to test his loyalty. If I missed or got anything wrong please reply. Also they should make a portal 3 with Ratman as the main protagonist. Wait… There are two Portal games. What are numbers for! Math! Half life 1 was nominated game of the year. Opposite of subtraction is addition. 2 + 1 = 3! HALF LIFE 3 CONFIRMED!!!!!

  18. foxholeboy

    It makes more sense to me that Aperture Science would have stolen it from Black Mesa seeing as they were so behind.

  19. Sandvichslammer

    Black Mesa didn’t steal anything nor Aperture. Gravity gun was built by Eli Vance after the 7 hour war. My theory is,that Gordon Freeman was in Aperture laboratories. And left the gun there for some reason. I know that it is impossible but maybe there is some time travel content. On Borealis maybe? Who knows what is on that ship.

  20. Hec

    My theory is,that Gordon Freeman was in Aperture laboratories. And left the gun there for some reason.

    Oh what cool that would be!!!, fight CMB’s or zombies into AS, would just rock, i’d use AS as a Ravenholm way, all the forsaken place readdy to get out scary jumps out of our seats, but I think that’s most unlikley because that Grav Gun was there so much before AS were destroyed and abbandoned.

  21. Bryan

    I’m back! Another thing is if the Gravity and Portal gun were combined you could shoot a portal then grab or drag an object through a portal. Or to kill someone (example) you could put a portal behind above or anywhere your enemy. The you could then shoot a (insert object) through it. Which would kill your enemy! That’s my idea.

  22. Maybe as it was actually black mesa east who made it,( the one in half life 2) that maybe they copied aperture science’s prototype

  23. "YuKI"

    The Gravity Gun is a tribute to the Half-Life franchise and thus not canon to be in Aperture Laboratories. However, I do like to note something about what may be in the Borealis. In Portal 1, there is a section where we can see the ship itself. However, we also see something being carried to it, which is a rack full of Aperture Science Explosive Spheres (which are the core-looking objects with that ominous glowing red “eye” that can be seen in the ending of Portal 1 when we see the cake). So whatever is in there may have something to do with them.

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