A Test of Faith

There is only one title in any and every type of entertainment that I willingly consider myself a fanatic of. My passion for Mirror's Edge is irrational, as was my reaction to the teaser at Electronic Arts their conference. I did not sleep well that night, but I didn't notice due to my excitement.

Fairly recently Patrick Söderlund of Electronic Arts divulged a few details about the direction that the new Mirror's Edge will take in interviews with CVG and Eurogamer. To say that a part of the community is concerned is an understatement. Is that concern justified?

"What I can say is we're taking more of an action adventure approach on it than maybe before, First-person, running predominantly - this will be more of an action adventure game, but true to what the first one was to a large extent." -Patrick Söderlund

"The first game was a lot about running away from things, and, even though you want to have sections with that, you also want Faith... she's a powerful character and you want her to take control. You'll see a little bit more of that in this game." -Patrick Söderlund

Ever so vague, but the concern here appears to be largely focussed on the "action adventure" segment. It is hard for me to see this as an issue; we as the community might have given Mirror's Edge its own little genre, but at large it still fits comfortably in the action-adventure genre. This appears not to be a shift in direction.

What however is a shift in direction is "running predominantly". In concert with the teaser trailer, it is easy to come to the conclusion that Faith will be facing her opponents more directly, at least some of the time. This might not be so much an opposite direction in philosophy of design, but a new approach to the forced moments of combat in the original Mirror's Edge. A way to make combat and movement seamlessly flow in and out of each other.

"The interesting part is that it was a game that could only be built in Gen-4 and that was cool - I liked that. Because what they're doing, you can't do - it's not possible on the current generation." -Patrick Söderlund

"We were waiting for the right idea. I'm so excited that the idea itself is so different and spectacular that it can only work on future machines, like the Xbox One and PS4 and PC. That's when I knew we had the right idea." -Patrick Söderlund

"Open-world action adventure game." -Frank Gibeau

An open world approach to Mirror's Edge is a topic that has being the center of discussion through out many a dedicated Mirror's Edge fora. It is a point of concern, but at the same time a shimmer of hope. The level design of the original Mirror's Edge is very linear, but within that linearity the paths the players can take constantly diverge and converge. This is overall the greatest concern that surfaces in past discussions. How do you translate that depth to an open world?

Which is where the top quotation is brought in. The current generation of consoles is able to display large scale battle zones in Battlefield 3. To evolve that to an open world scale, they'd need a leap in computing power. The next generation is needed to do an open world Mirror's Edge "right".

How much that "right" approach is in line with the expectations of the community will be clarified the closer we get to a release. For now, I'd offer them the benefit of the doubt. They did make the original Mirror's Edge after all.

"Mirror's Edge is a game that's been very close to my heart and to DICE's heart for a long time. It was a new IP we made in 2008. It's a game that was loved by many. It's a game that frustrated some, to be fair." -Patrick Söderlund

Anyone expecting the new Mirror's Edge to be no different from the original Mirror's Edge is in for a shocker, but it appears that those working on it and working with it understand what was universally considered strong in the franchise.

Mirror's Edge will change with the new installment, how much and how well are questions only we can answer for ourselves once we've played it. Till then, let's not run too far ahead of ourselves, after all, there being a new Mirror's Edge is enough of a miracle to be grateful for.

The real test of faith wasn't waiting for an announcement, it is trusting the developer and publisher to do it right.