Brendan Griffiths talks to Tom Farrer, Producer of Mirror’s Edge at Dice Studios, Stockholm.
Mirror’s Edge was one of last year’s most highly rated games in the melee of Christmas releases. Its brave ideas and excellent execution has changed the way we look at the first-person genre.
Jumping in first-person games is commonly poorly done. So why the decision to do a whole game based on it?
In some ways it was for that very reason. We wanted to do something new. First person platforming isn’t bad it’s just been badly implemented usually because it isn’t a core focus of the games it is in. We are fans of titles like Prince of Persia but there is always a degree of separation when playing in third person. We wanted to really put you in the moment, have you be the one making the death defying leap, seeing every moment through the eyes of the character you’re playing. We believed that it would be a very powerful experience.
What inspirations did you have while making the game? Films like District 13, Casino Royale? Any others?
Run Lola Run was another. However we weren’t especially influenced by feature films, raw parkour movies online were of more importance to us. Also trailblazing games such as Breakdown were a real inspiration. We actually met the guy who created it by chance and he has a studio now called Faith (the same name as the Mirror’s Edge lead). Bizarre coincidence!
Do you think other games will start to copy Mirror’s Edge now that you’ve proved jumping can be done well?
I think it’s about more than just jumping. To me it’s about the sense of body, of physicality, the feeling of being more than just a floating camera. In that respect I think there are many aspects of the game that would be great to see in other titles. It would be interesting to see if anyone tries to push the movement aspect as far as we did. I wish them luck because it’s pretty tricky!
Do any of you practice Parkour or Free Running?
No, we need to keep our team in one piece or we’d never finish anything!
Was it a conscious decision to make it more Parkour than Free Running?
In that we wanted it to be about getting from A to B as fast as possible. Faith is the kind of person who wants to get the job done as efficiently as she can. Saying that, both disciplines are about freedom of movement, I don’t want to get embroiled in Parkour Vs Free Running arguments. They are both incredible.
Are there any plans for some DLC (Downloadable Content) in the future?
Yep, it’s out in January. We decided to do something quite different for it. We have been wanting to work with abstract sculptural environments for quite some time and the DLC really gave us the opportunity to try it out. It allowed us to focus on pure movement without having to pay any attention to the realism of the setting.
You guys have created a great new genre here. Any plans to make a sequel?
Tom may be keeping tight-lipped about sequels but a recent poll on a Mirror’s Edge website was asking what players would like to see in a sequel. Proper multiplayer, co-op, and a map editor were some of the most requested features. A longer story mode was in second place, but the winner was the inclusion of free-roaming aspects. Having a whole city to scramble around could be great, but it’ll be hard work for Dice, seeing as the linear design of the first game is what kept it flowing best. But like he said: We’ll see…