Portal 2 may be unlocked early today

If you head to the Portal 2 page on Steam right now, you'll see the hotly anticipated title is scheduled to unlock on Tuesday, April 19. Now, however, a number of sources are reporting that the game might come out a little ahead of schedule—like later today.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun points to a countdown timer tied to a Valve alternate reality game on aperturescience.com. The timer is counting down to about 11AM Central Time (noon Eastern, 9AM Pacific). At that time, the page says, "You will be given the final test. Then it will be entirely in your hands when I am freed."

There's more. Rock, Paper, Shotgun quotes a strange, cryptic statement by a developer from Dejobaan Games. The statement says 1… 2… 3… Kick It! Drop That Beat Like An Ugly Baby was released early as a "test," and it ends with this: "4/19/2011_7AM=4/15/2011_9AM." The bit before the equals sign is the official release date and time for Portal 2, the latter is... well, you know.

I have to say an early release today would be a nice surprise. Games have a nasty habit of coming out on Tuesdays, which isn't exactly the most convenient time for those of us with full-time jobs.

Update: According to this page, Valve intends to release Portal 2 early if enough people purchase the Potato Sack, a $39 bundle of indie games.

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