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The Assassin's Creed: Valhalla Easter Egg Portal Fans Shouldn't Miss

Anyone with a passing interest in video games visiting virtually any message board or comments section in or around the year 2007 knows one thing for certain: the cake is a lie. Back in a simpler era of the internet in which repeating a line in a video game verbatim could count as a meme, fans of Portal amused themselves endlessly by sharing this refrain from Valve's then-recent hit anywhere and everywhere online. Now, GameRant has reported that years since Portal was dominating the zeitgeist (a movie was even once in the works), the brand new Assassin's Creed: Valhalla is, for better or for worse, in on the joke too.

Evidence of the reference was shared in a post to the /gaming subreddit by user KylarStern327, who attached an image of Valhalla protagonist Eivor basically repeating the very line from Portal that took the internet by storm. More specifically, Eivor asks an NPC wholesale, "So the cake was a lie?"

In Portal, "the cake is a lie" appears as a counterpoint to promises continually made to Chell, the game's player-controlled protagonist, by GLaDOS, its narrator. GLaDOS promises Chell a cake upon completion of both its in-game puzzles. "The cake is a lie" appears scrawled on a wall repeatedly by a prior employee of the test labs that play host to the challenges, rebuking the reliability of GLaDOS' narration. The subsequent reveal that no such cake awaited Chell remains among gaming's most iconic fakeouts.

Why the line took off in popularity to the extent that it did is somewhat open to interpretation. Portal was very well-received at the time of its release and remains a classic to this day. Among its defining features are wit-driven dialogue and atmospheric storytelling, to which "the cake is a lie" is testament. Repeating these words found scrawled on a wall by observant players serves, in a sense, as veneration of a significant gaming experience. On a macro level, the line soon became generalized to refer to a promise that would ultimately go unfulfilled, giving it additional use in real-life situations.

Basically, people like Portal and enjoyed uncovering this and other bits of its multifaceted storytelling, and it's clear that includes at least one person on the team behind Assassin's Creed: Valhalla. The game also features references to One Punch Man and Death Stranding. Its obvious the developers are not coy about paying tribute to their influences.

For what it's worth, the overall reception from commenters on Reddit was not quite one of admiration for a goof well executed, as the maker of such a reference might hope, but rather debate over its topicality. Nonetheless, for fans of Portal, the moment remains a bite-sized treat, not unlike cake's younger sibling, the cupcake.