On Re­flec­tion

DICE takes stock of Mir­ror’s Edge’s fail­ings and sets about re­defin­ing an en­tire genre

EDGE - - SECTIONS - BY BEN MAXWELL

With Mir­ror’s Edge Cat­a­lyst, DICE takes stock of the orig­i­nal’s fail­ings and sets about re­defin­ing a genre

That the orig­i­nal Mir­ror’s Edge didn’t make a greater im­pact on the tra­jec­tory of firstper­son shoot­ers re­mains one of its more mys­ti­fy­ing as­pects. Sure, other mys­ti­fy­ing things about it in­clude ugly cutscenes, ris­i­ble boss fights, bad act­ing and Faith’s unchecked fix­a­tion on turn­ing valve wheels, but at its core DICE’s park­our ef­fort had – still has – the po­ten­tial to rev­o­lu­tionise firstper­son lo­co­mo­tion. We’ve seen niche stand­outs such as Dy­ing Light, and a lit­tle wall-run­ning seep into Call Of Duty, but Mir­ror’s Edge still feels unique in its fo­cused com­mit­ment to re­leas­ing play­ers from the shack­les of the tra­di­tional FPS.

And then there are those vi­su­als. De­spite be­ing nearly eight years old, the game’s stylised en­vi­ron­ments still hold their own against mod­ern re­leases, DICE’s bold use of stark whites and con­trast­ing ac­cent colours re­main­ing as strik­ing to­day as on re­lease. And in Faith, DICE cre­ated a pro­tag­o­nist as dis­tinc­tive as Lara Croft or Nathan Drake, but sig­nif­i­cantly more pro­gres­sive

than ei­ther. All of which is to say, prob­lems aside, Mir­ror’s Edge re­mains a pretty tough act to fol­low. “It still holds up to­day,” Mir­ror’s Edge Cat­a­lyst lead pro­ducer

Amo Mostofi agrees as we sit in an un­fin­ished cor­ner of the top floor of DICE’s new of­fices – a space that’s prac­ti­cally beg­ging for some ill-ad­vised park­our. “It’s still breath­tak­ing the first time you play it. When my friends find out I’m work­ing on Cat­a­lyst, and I show them the first game, they’re like, ‘This was re­ally made that long ago?’ It still res­onates, and it’s just a con­stant source of in­spi­ra­tion for our team.”

Why, then, hasn’t it in­spired more stu­dios to fol­low in Faith’s foot­steps? “I think it’s a very hard game to copy, if you want to use that word,” de­sign di­rec­tor Erik Odel­dahl tells us. “The tech be­hind the move­ment is a very dif­fi­cult thing to do. Vis­ually, I love the look of the first game, and I love how our game looks. There’s a lot of stuff from the first game that we’ve built on for Cat­a­lyst: the aes­thet­ics aren’t the same, but they’re clearly built on the same foun­da­tion, and the same thing is true of the game­play. For the sound­track, we’ve got So­lar Fields again. So there’s a her­itage there, and we need to build on th­ese things.”

The re­sult is a daz­zling reimag­in­ing of Faith’s world. Re­leased from in­car­cer­a­tion af­ter the two-year sen­tence handed down to her at the end of WildS­torm Pro­duc­tions’ pre­quel comic, the run­ner emerges into the City Of Glass – a stomp­ing ground that has

“I LOVE THE LOOK OF THE FIRST GAME, AND HOW OUR GAME LOOKS. THERE’S A HER­ITAGE THERE , AND WE NEED TO BUILD ON TH­ESE THINGS”

Early in the game, a visit to an un­der-con­struc­tion skysca­per shows off one of

Cat­a­lyst’s most ver­tig­i­nous lo­cales, as well as Faith’s mag rope, which pulls her up through the build­ing’s shell

Game Mir­ror’sEdgeCat­a­lyst De­vel­oper EA DICE Pub­lisher EA For­mat PS4, Xbox One, PC Re­lease May 24 (US), May 26 (EU)

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