Hey, did you play Mirror’s Edge? No? Shame on you. It’s one of this generation’s most interesting and exciting games. I loved almost every single thing about it from the striking visual design to the intense do-or-die Parkour. I liked Faith as an unlikely fleet-footed heroine with cool red Tabi socks. What I didn’t love was the feeble gunplay and the shoe-horning of standard FPS elements into what is essentially a first-person platforming game. When NoHS does its retrospective on the games of this era in ten years or so, Mirror’s Edge is going to be one of the games I’ll list as a favorite.
It didn’t exactly do gangbusters on the sales rack and there’s plenty of misguided, outright wrong naysayers who didn’t get that the point of the game is to just run so it’s looked like the chances for a sequel were dire. There were rumors that EA more or less shit-canned DICE’s work on a followup. But hit the jump for what may or may not be good news out of GDC.
Computer and Video Games is reporting that EA is “trying to figure out” how to bring the Mirror’s Edge franchise back from the brink. Which sounds good on paper, but some of what the suits are saying is a little troubling to me. Some of it is sensible, in that in order for EA to foot the bill for development then it’s got to outsell the first game. That’s cool, I can live with that. It’s smart business.
What’s potentially bad is all of this talk about finding a bigger “franchise” audience because this is the kind of niche game that just isn’t really suited to the big budget, AAA treatment- or financial expectations. And I’m worried that the AAA treatment might mean more guns, more macho, and less European-ness. Or worse- zombies.
It’s not that I think the original game couldn’t have been improved upon, because it certainly could be, it’s that I’m worried that grooming a potential Mirror’s Edge 2 to be a blockbuster might take away its idiosyncratic charm and one-of-a-kind gameplay. It could definitely use some better writing and a more comprehensive sense of world-building as well as improved character development. Controls could be a little less complicated, and level design could stand to be a little less trial-and-error. And some kind of multiplayer racing could be fun and interesting. But the formula that’s there already works just fine, as long as you’re the right kind of person for it.
And that kind of person, unfortunately, doesn’t tend to be common enough to make a game like Mirror’s Edge a multi-million seller or constitute a “franchise” audience. Regardless, sign me up for the newsletter, Mirror’s Edge 2 is a day one purchase for me. Unless there’s a zombie mode, and then I’m leading an angry mob on EA’s headquarters