Marc Laidlaw about dr. Cohrt and why he comes up with puns

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In his Twitter Marc Laidlaw shared a funny story from an early Half-Life 2 development era:

Early in HL2's development, before we had decided to bring back the Black Mesa staff and give them names, I wrote a bunch of vignettes and short dramatic scenes. One of the scripts involved a scientist I called CORT. I picked this name because I had just watched Tobe Hooper's 1986 remake of INVADERS FROM MARS, in which Bud Cort plays a scientist who gets eaten by a Martian. We never did anything with this scene, never developed the Cort character, but he stuck in my head as such things will.

Later in development, we came up with the character of Dr. Kleiner. Bill Van Buren went in search of face models, and ended up hiring a businessman who worked on the floor above ours to pose for Dr. Kleiner. His name was Ted Cohrt. I thought this was already a pretty great coincidence. Occasionally I ran into Ted around the building, said hi. The Cort/Cohrt always amused me but it was too convoluted to explain to him.

Some months later I was in the Santa Ana Airport, on my way back to Seattle, when I saw Ted Cohrt in the terminal concourse. It was funny to meet in this context, and when he saw me he stopped and said hello. Precisely where he stood, perfectly framed for my eyes only (thanks, Universe) was a big hanging sign: FOOD COURT.

Cort/Cohrt/Court. It was all there in that image, absolutely objective, but also completely subjective. If we'd run into each other a few feet in the other direction, I wouldn't have had this perfect view.

People ask why I come up with puns. It's not me. Blame reality!

Dr. Cohrt's model from HL2 beta
The story he shared is pretty funny but we didn't put it here just to have a good laugh with Marc Laidlaw. This story also sheds some light on one of HL2 Beta's mystery: who exactly was doctor Cohrt and why doesn't he look like Ted Cohrt. And the answer is that he was a scientist predecessing dr. Kleiner and unlike the later character he wasn't even related to Black Mesa personell.

Another thing we'd like to point out is that unlike what Marc told us before about those short stories and vignettes he wrote for developers during early stages there were more of them, not just the ones we had thanks to Raising the Bar! They're probably there, somewhere on Valve's old hard drives, waiting to be released for us, Half-Life series cut content lovers.