The fans of parkour have been heard loud and clear: Mirror’s Edge 2 is on its way. After the game was revealed via E3 2013 announcement trailer, DICE and EA have broken their silence, not holding back any of their hopes or excitement over the chance to revisit Faith, and the stark white city in which she resides.
Although some might claim that Mirror’s Edge 2 should have been made long ago, it’s seeming less and less like the publisher and developer were testing the markets, and more and more like they were simply waiting for the industry to catch up to their ideas.
In an interview with IGN, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau voiced the optimism that has apparently surrounded the franchise internally for years. Although fans of the first Mirror’s Edge‘s demands for a sequel seemed to be falling on deaf ears, Gibeau explains that Mirror’s Edge 2 being held until the next generation of consoles was no coincidence:
“I think the time is right now because we’ve got a creative idea. We have a great story planned. With all the gen 4 technology, we can re-create that magic of running across rooftops and experiencing a city from a different point of view through the character of Faith. Performance, animation, all those technologies that are now in gen 4, that extra computing power is going to be able to take Mirror’s Edge to the next level. We’ve always been thinking about it, but a bunch of things came together – the right story, the right leadership team, and the right capabilities from this new hardware – that got us to commit and go for it.”
In hindsight, Gibeau was just one of several executives involved in the announcement that was quite open about their hopes for Mirror’s Edge. After Gibeau conceded that DICE was working on a follow-up to Mirror’s Edge over two years ago, and EA Games VP Patrick Söderlund confirmed that the Swedish studio wasn’t restricting themselves to Battlefield these days, the writing was on the wall for all to see. Yet only now can their hopes be realized.
The most recent comments certainly raise expectations, but it’s not the first bold claim we’ve heard made about the upcoming sequel-reboot. Since the announcement, Söderlund has outright stated that to match the studio’s ambitions, Mirror’s Edge 2 wasn’t possible on current-gen hardware. That’s promising from a technical point of view, but the star of the series is unquestionably Faith – a character DICE seems intent on not putting to waste.
In some ways, Faith Connors embodies the positive side of not making the most of a promising franchise – would annualized installments or endless marketing have helped her rank among our most respected video game heroines, or hurt her chances? Whatever the case, the developers claim that taking the series forward while honoring what fans love is their top priority.
It may be for that reason that Mirror’s Edge 2 won’t be a direct sequel to the events of Mirror’s Edge, but a new origin story instead. Cynics may claim that a ‘reboot’ is simply a means of convincing consumers that they don’t need to play the original, and Gibeau concedes that publishers always want as many people playing their games as possible, but reminds fans that they didn’t come by any decision regarding Mirror’s Edge 2 lightly:
“Our goal in any product is to try and grow the audience. We’re definitely taking into account the opportunity to reach a bigger group of people. We think we’ve got the right story and accessibility that can do that. It’s a title that did multiple millions of units, so it has a fairly widespread audience. It’s not an art film. But we do see an opportunity to grow it.
“It’s an action game, and we’re looking at how you make a gen 4 action game feel alive and big and epic. Those are different things that we’re looking at.”
The graphics and animations of the cinematic trailer certainly seemed impressive regardless of the hardware powering it, but gamers have been taught to wait for actual gameplay footage. That being said, DICE’s placement on the leading edge of game engine technology, and comparatively low demand for in-game assets means Mirror’s Edge 2 could offer some legitimately staggering visuals, in regards to lighting alone.
We’re more than happy to wait and see, considering how long it took to even get to this point. What do you think of EA and DICE’s comments? Does their commitment to not making the game until the tech could match their vision give your hopes a boost, or do you think it’s simply more next-gen hype?
Mirror’s Edge 2 is currently in development for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.