Electronic Arts and DICE delivered one of the truest surprises at E3 2013 when they confirmed that Mirror’s Edge 2 was no longer a pipe dream or far-off goal, but a priority for the studio in the near future. Set in the years before the original game, the reboot/prequel would chronicle Faith’s life before becoming the defiant ‘Runner’ players came to know.
Plot and character development would seem to be more important than ever, but Mirror’s Edge co-story designer and writer Rhianna Pratchett has confirmed that she hasn’t heard from the studio, leading her to believe that she won’t play a role in crafting the next chapter of Faith’s story.
A common criticism of the original Mirror’s Edge was the presence of at-times frustrating shooting galleries inside of what was otherwise a parkour experience inspired enough to stand on its own. With years to consider that fact (time DICE claims was needed to make the game they want to), it seemed the studio had heard critics and players loud and clear, emphasizing from the start that Mirror’s Edge 2 would take the series to new heights in terms of both story and tech.
Apparently, that emphasis on story won’t include the talents of Rhianna Pratchett (the writer for the recent Tomb Raider reboot), the source of the first game’s story and spin-off comic series:
It's really lovely that people care enough to ask whether I'm involved with Mirror's Edge 2, but I'm not & wasn't asked. (Cont'd)— Rhianna Pratchett (@rhipratchett) January 7, 2014
Let's face it ME1's story didn't review that great (for many reasons). So I consider myself a casualty of that development process. (cont'd)— Rhianna Pratchett (@rhipratchett) January 7, 2014
Pratchett went on to counter replies citing EA’s problematic track record, claiming that as a professional with experience in the games industry, she had no hard feelings for those at DICE – especially since “no one I worked with on the first game is on the ME2 team,” and have left the studio entirely.
The fact of the matter was that a large portion of Mirror’s Edge development was already completed before DICE – a studio with little experience in story-driven game design – meaning much of the game’s story and script ended up being modified to better fit gameplay. For starters, all of Faith’s level dialogue was scrapped entirely.
After her comments online gathered more and more attention, Pratchett provided a comment to Joystiq explaining that she would still like to offer her talents given the right circumstances. But her own idea for a potential story has already been released for those interested:
“It’s not uncommon for games writers to be brought in late, but it severely limits the kind of story that they can create. I think Mirror’s Edge was a big learning experience for everyone involved in terms of the importance of thinking about narrative early on.
“I’ve pretty much outlined some of what I’d do with a prequel in… well, the prequel, which I wrote as a 6-part mini series for DC Comics. The comics allowed me a bit more freedom to explore the world and characters in a way that the confines of the game wouldn’t allow for.
“The story in the comics revolved around what happened in the city, how the Connors family were involved, Faith’s meeting with Merc and how she came to join the Runners. It also delved into what the Runners carry, why and for whom, with a personal story for Faith woven in there. It also included Faith getting her famous tattoos. The arm one, in particular, is quite significant to her.”
The prequel comic series is available through Comixology (pick up the first issue for free here), but how closely the game’s story will keep to it or not is unknown. It’s also worth pointing out that there is still plenty of time for development on Mirror’s Edge 2 before the studio feels pressure. They’ve already made it clear that they won’t release the game until they’re good and ready, and it’s safe to assume that the fallout surrounding Battlefield 4 has diverted much of the studio’s resources.
So it will likely be a long time before any concrete details concerning Mirror’s Edge 2 are released, including who the team is relying on for story and dialogue. Whether that ends up including Pratchett remains to be seen, but for now, it doesn’t seem likely.
What did you think of the story for the original game? Are you hoping for a different take on the game’s fiction for the prequel, or is it the improvements to core gameplay that has your interest? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Mirror’s Edge 2 is currently in development for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.