Is DICE’s ‘something great’ Mirror’s Edge 2? And is it the sequel we want it to be?

EA’s premiere shooter developer has something cooking. What could it be?

By Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, August 17, 2010

EA DICE has ‘something great’ in store for attendees, virtual or otherwise, of the Game Developers Conference in Cologne today. We know because official Battlefield community management chap ‘zh1nt0′ knows.

Chances are it’ll be a grab-bag of downloadable tank vinyls, or some sort of Windows Mobile top-down cross-over, or a range of limited edition Preston Marlowe keyring figurines, but take pause, reader! Restrain your expectation-lowering till EA’s press conference this afternoon. Now’s the time for hope and the exercise of the human imagination. Now’s the time for frenzied, unrealistic speculation, and heaps of it.

Let’s speculate, then. DICE’s ‘something great’ could be Bad Company 2: Vietnam, the rather robust-looking downloadable expansion pack for the current toast of this year’s shooter party. The pack is slated to drop this winter, so a round of walkthroughs and hands-ons would be timely. And boring. We love Bad Company 2, and providing the price is right, we’re sure we’ll love recreating the helicopter beach attack from Apocalypse Now, but we kind of know what we’re getting there (an RPG from the treeline, probably).

Alternatively, the revelation might concern EA’s much-trumpeted and beard-intensive Medal of Honor remake, for which DICE is developing a multiplayer component. This would be marginally more exciting than a map pack, obviously, but if truth be told, not much.

We’ve seen a fair bit of Medal of Honor now, and while it looks terrific, it also looks rather like the EA version of Modern Warfare, which is confusing, because we thought Battlefield was the EA version of Modern Warfare, and there’s surely only so much Modern Warfare an industry can wage. In any case, if big departures do lurk beneath such recurring themes as zoom-locking, knifing and mortar-tagging, we don’t expect a stage demo to uncover them.

So what else could this ‘something’ be? Well, it could be (deep breath) Mirror’s Edge 2. Cross those fingers.

The original Mirror’s Edge had an uneven debut in November 2008, suffering on the one hand the consequences of being a heavyweight new IP in a time of lightening wallets, and on the other the consequences of sharing a shelf with the likes of LittleBigPlanet and Gears of War 2.

Nevertheless, the first-person parkour platformer broke one million sales the following February and was enthusiastically received by critics, including yours truly. A sequel doesn’t seem beyond the bounds of possibility. After all, HAWX managed it. But if a sequel is on the cards, is it the sequel the game’s fans are thirsting for? Or will it betray the ambitions and inaccessibilities of its predecessor in favour of something softer, more recognisable, more sellable?

John Riccitiello’s thoughts on this count are as inspiring as they are perturbing. The EA boss first spoke publicly about Mirror’s Edge (and its grisly sci-fi stablemate) in an investor call in October of the same year. ‘As for titles like Dead Space and Mirror’s Edge,’ he said, ‘I think you can absolutely expect those titles to come back in one way, shape or form, but they’re not likely to be annual sequels.’

Launching a new IP in the middle of an economic downturn is a high-wire act indeed.

The key phrase, of course, is ‘one way, shape or form’. Riccitiello reiterated his commitment to Mirror’s Edge a couple of months later, commenting to Kotaku that it was ‘a massively innovative product’ and one that ‘deserves to come back’, but questioned the principles of athletic efficiency and quick-fire environment-reading at the game’s core.

‘You found yourself scratching at walls at times, looking for what to do,’ Riccitiello admitted. ‘Sometimes you had a roll going, downhill, slide, jump, slide, jump and then you just got stopped. It sort of got in the way of the fun.

‘It was like we couldn’t quite decide if we were building Portal or a runner. And I don’t think the consumer was ready to switch it up quite that way. You could say it was a sharp and great innovation. I believe that it was. You have to figure out what to do from here if you want it to be a five million seller vs. a one-million unit seller.’

The EA boss was singing a similar tune to Joystiq as recently as this June, taking the opportunity to remark that ‘we’re actually doing a couple of interesting things with Mirror’s Edge’.

‘I think it was atmospheric,’ he said. ‘Environments were brilliant. I loved the character. I, personally, love the parkour gameplay. [But] I thought it felt quirky jerky, halt and stop, rush and get thwarted in a way that wasn’t as satisfying for some gamers that wanted to feel continuous in their gameplay.’

This is an unfortunate point of view because, for many, the ‘quirky jerk’ rhythm of Mirror’s Edge was in fact a facet of its success. As I noted (confusedly) in our review, the frustrations of discovering a route over those glaring cityscapes are outweighed by the joys of eventually stringing together the right sequence of moves.

Ian Bogost puts it best: ‘what initially seems like a punitive design gaffe actually carries a crucial payload: requiring the player to reattempt sets of runs insures that the final, successful one will be completed all in one go.’

While EA’s willingness to keep Mirror’s Edge on the table is wonderful, the price of that willingness could be high. If DICE’s ‘something great’ does turn out to be white, bright and clad in ninja trainers, we hope the trial and error bits haven’t gone the way of the Dodo.

Over to you, readers. What’s up DICE’s sleeve? And is Mirror’s Edge doomed to become conventional?

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34 Responses to “Is DICE’s ‘something great’ Mirror’s Edge 2? And is it the sequel we want it to be?”

  1. Kevin says:

    I think it would be nice but they have so many projects going on right now bf:bc2 Vietnam moh battlefield 3 soon and i think if they put liek a vision ability showing possible routes but only a few are the right one it would keep the pace but not make it too easy

  2. People are making good points in the N4G thread on this about the game suiting an open-world format. Perhaps something like Prince of Persia 2008 – i.e. hub pointing outward to more linear levels, minimal combat – would work?

  3. Adam says:

    N4G needs to release a tool to sites who regulalry hit their front page so that people commenting on their site also appears as comments here. They would get talkback traffic and we’d have higher page activity.

  4. John says:

    I bloody well hope not!! That game sucked more ass than a bank manager talking to their boss. Give us REAL game for once, enough of this 1st person horseshit! If these morons wanna make FP game they should make them exclusive to the 360, i’ve had enough of this shit! Can u imagine how sick that game would have been if it was a 3rd person?

    • Daniel says:

      You’re an IDIOT!!!

    • Brian says:

      Then go play Assassins creed you fag…

    • LOLFAIL360 says:

      LOL, about 80 percent of the gaming community is like you, a fucking scrub who does not have a single clue as to what he is talking about, did you even play mirror’s edge? you suck harder than trying to take a shit whilst doing a handstand.

      OH AND THIS –> ” Iwanna make FP game they should make them exclusive to the 360 ” LOL noob !

  5. Funnily enough, Riccitiello was one of the ones pushing for it to go third-person in early dev.

  6. Chase says:

    I couldn’t agree more with all of this article.

  7. Brush says:

    Hope there will be another one. It had an absolutely fantastic art style and use of colour, and still looks utterly amazing. And played well.

    and had a great soundtrack.

  8. Mike says:

    I agreed so much with this article that I decided to put my real name.

    Remember the past generation of games? The past generation of gamers? Remember how we all used to do trial and error in evrery single game and enjoy it? Remember how satisfying it felt when we actually succeeded at doing what we were trying to do for such long moments? Yeah, these were the good days…

    Nowadays gamers expect to feel so powerful, they want to be able to do everything right now, without waiting, without anything in their way…that’s their definition of a good game. Hence the games like Prototype and Infamous…nowadays, if the players face a challenge that requires them to think or to try again and again, they complain and say the game is bad and just leave it. Mirror’s Edge was the best game I have played for such a long time…It’s one of the only 2 games I own…

    It’s a shame people complain about the trial and error of Mirror’s Edge, and complain about the fact that you had to nail the move perfectly in order for you not to fall or get killed…I know the sequel will come, but I hope the developers will not make it any easier. However, I have a big feeling they will have to make it easier, make it less precise and fine…they’ll have to suit it to the likes of today’s gamers because that’s what their boss requires of them if they want to release a sequel.

    Today, too many games are like this: approach the object or get to the location of what you want to do, and press one button, and the character will do evrything for you. So many games are like that, you just get prompted to press one button, and everything just happens. It’s easy, it’s boring.

    Easy is how gamers want Mirror’s Edge to turn, and I’m afraid it will turn like that.

    Plus, some people complained about the interior parts of the game, and the puzzle parts, as being something that slowed down the game’s flow…as for me, I thought the puzzle parts and the interior parts were just freaking amazing.

    Anyway…Mirror’s Edge was one of my favourite games all time, like a breath of fresh air, and I will just cherish the experience I had and not expect anything of the sequel…because I feel that I’ll be betrayed and disappointed by the changes they’d have made.

  9. Andreas says:

    Couldn’t agree more with Mike
    As for the people who don’t like this game… it’s your own fault that you miss out on such a masterpiece of a game!

    I can’t wait for ME2 and all I’m asking is more of the same thing, just new story/levels. Everything else is just perfect really (as long as they fix the stupid glitches that happens sometimes).

  10. Ty says:

    ME2 was the most perfect game ever. My only concern was expressed in the article, that in an attempt to make it more popular they will destroy the simple beauty that made the first one such a joy to play. I am, however, cheering for a much longer story mode, and maybe even a co-op mode that flows well.(hey i can dream right?) Anyway check out my run sometime.

  11. Ty (2?) says:

    Cannot wait for the sequel !
    If they do decide to allow 3rd person mode I really hope they leave the option for first person. The first person view and art direction/design were what truly made the game for me and what made me buy it a second time to play through again. Art/Style/Design were inspiring, loved it.
    Just needs a more fleshed out story this time, and more interaction with other runners.

  12. Rakaesa says:

    Like a few people on these comments, I agree wth them. This game was fan-frekin-tastic. It is one of my, if not my only, favorite game on the xbox 360. It’s fun, adrenaline pumping, new, fast, and just plain awesome. They just need to add free roam, multiplayer an co-op. If there was free-roam, I could probably play for a week straight doing nothing but exploring the roof tops of the city and free running. Then i’d decide to start the new storyline they’d made. Then after one or two missions, run around and free run with my friends on co-op, making tag games and free running challenges for eachother. It would be the most absolutely perfect game ever created, with huge replay value. I hope it comes out.

  13. Diego says:

    The parkour gameplay is quite simply the best idea for a game i have ever come across. Being a “new generation” gamer i can say i found some of the trail and error aspects frustrating but if enough time was spent the rewards of completing such aspects outweighed the frustration ten-fold. The ONLY problem with mirrors edge is the short story. For ME2 they need a slightly more complex combat system, a longer story and online modes. I’d buy that game twice just to bolster sales. I hope they keep it 1st person, gave the game such a unique perspective. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a moron and shouldnt be allowed the sequel. (If they make it)

  14. joey says:

    i couldnt agree more me2 would be great with better combat system and some more parkour features

  15. Javman says:

    I think that ME is one of the greatest games ever made and that whoever came up with the parkour sort of idea was a genious to put it all into one game of pure brilliance. I’m hoping that when ME2 does eventually come out, it can give me that feel that i am free running in a huge city but that fresh feeling when you are on top of a skyscraper.
    I think Onlinewould be a good addition to it, so like maybe you could be free running with your mates alongside you and make time trials for each other or have enemies and coppers in random places but you can choose where you want to go so you fell more in control.
    I can’t wait for this game to happen and i am going to get it the second it comes out. Good job Dice over Mirrors Edge 1 though.

  16. Thomas says:

    It should be simple enough to provide for both types of gamer. Optional third person view for those who want it (rpg’s like Oblivion etc have been doing it for years) and optional route aids in the form of ethereal trails, which can be disabled by those who prefer the more imersive system used in the first game.

    I would be quite happy to keep the combat as it is, with only a few moments in the game where fighting is actualy necessary, but I suspect that any sequel will contain a boosted combat element.

    The free running system they made for the first game is still the best example out there, despite numerous titles adopting some form of it after seeing how cool it was. All the other games include it as an afterthough, with a single button generaly being all that’s needed to complete a complex maneuver. The technical challenge of the Mirror’s Edge system was what made the game enjoyable, along with the frantic feel of fleeing vastly superior enemies and having to make split second descisions about what route to take.

    Also, there’s little reason not to adapt the existing engine+system to support a totaly different seting and storyline. Any setting where the main character has no option but to flee his enemies would fit perfectly.

  17. Red says:

    “I think that ME is one of the greatest games ever made and that whoever came up with the parkour sort of idea was a genious to put it all into one game of pure brilliance. I’m hoping that when ME2 does eventually come out, it can give me that feel that i am free running in a huge city but that fresh feeling when you are on top of a skyscraper.”

    Exactly. It is definitely one of my favorite games ever. I can’t wait untill they release another, to be honest I didn’t think the original was very flawed in terms of gameplay. However the storyline was atrocious. It pretty much ignored the reason the runners exist and dropped you straight into an irrelevant storyline. Some warm up missions that were simply package delivery, maybe some that go wrong etc would have been nice before starting on a very personal and not very original storyline that didn’t really make any use of the world in which it was set.

  18. Andy says:

    It definatly deserves a sequel, i just hope that the controls are more conventional and that the combat system is easyer to comand as i struggled with these. Also that the story is more based on the actual transport of information, that it is longer than the previous as i found myself wanting more and last but not least that Solarfields does the soundtrack again as that made it an expirience that i and many others could not forget. Other than that just do what all of you do im sure it will be great

  19. Aaron says:

    My man Mike said it first and said it best. I 100% agree with him. Games today have been so dulled down to the point where they basically play themselves and we just have to steer them.. like a car for lack of a better analogy. It is truly sad that the majority of people want their games to be this way. Have we really become this lazy? We don’t even want to THINK in a game? wtf is going on with this generation? I mainly see this happening in RPGs where there is absolutely no other path but the right one, you are so confined to this atrocious linear gameplay. There is no fun in it and it is so boring. No wonder why FPS took over the VG market they are they only thing left with some challenge in them, though still do not require thinking whatsoever. If the developers dull down ME to fit the cookie cutter gameplay of the larger titles and this trend of one button does all crap and “here go this way!” BS I will sell my 360 for good and retire for this poor excuse of VG generation and happily play my SNES and PS where I can experience real gaming. Now on another note… Mirrors Edge was without a shadow of a doubt THE best game of Next Gen gaming. It can’t be touched the last game that was truly this innovative, daring, beautiful, immersive, and just overall pure joy was Shadow of the Colossus which IMO stands as the best game ever made and ME follows close behind it as does Portal. I could not wish for anything more than to have ME2 released… but if it comes with the price of rendering it into a fisher price game I hope it never sees the light of day. Mirrors Edge has such brilliance and to take that away from it by releasing some half as*ed sequel that associates itself with it, is simply unjustifiable.

  20. Jordan says:

    Mirrors Edge was almost perfect in my books, OK almost perfect I agree the story was awful but that didn’t matter, what DICE did was made a brilliant game and for a sequel they should do the same as they before but improve the small things, like less time spent in lifts, I know they are a useful way of being able to render maps with the player being aware but by jingo its dull being stuck in an in-closed space with nothing to do but read the same news headlines. Also Maybe some NPC could ad to the feel of the city because at the moment the city seems to have a population of thousands but only about about 20 people aren’t employed by the police force. i think it would be highly amusing to run through an office filled with people going about there jobs. And a free roam would be fun maybe online free roam…. with missions and stuff. That would be cool but single player is still most important.

    • Jada says:

      I agree 110% Jordan. I am hoping they make a 2nd one. They should really touch up on the little ones and make the story a little bit longer. That game was really fun and cool. They did a really good job making it. But there was some stuff that could have been better. Like you said, They should have people going about in there jobs and when the Police come and chase you down, they should like scream and a thingy that Evacuate Building come on the loudspeaker! That would be funny. They should make it with free roam. We could jump around on buildings, and do whatever we wanted! They should also make a missions mode where you have to save people that like are in danger. That would fun! I hope they make a 2nd one! I was really sad when I beat the game. I rented it from a store and finished it in 2 days! It was soo fun! (:

  21. Michael S. says:

    Considering how DICE is known as a shooter brand now, this would be a great change up for them. Mirror’s Edge was a great game in my book, it just feels like it was a little rushed out into the public. Now that a sequel is to be made, they can take more time working on the same engine they used for the first one, meaning smoother, funner and hopefully much longer gameplay. One major problem I had with the first one was that it wasn’t that long at all. I felt as if i had reached the final chapter within hours in the game. Gameplay time is a big selling point for me in a game. Another problem was how the action never kept up, like this article mentioned. You would run for about 30 seconds at a time and then stop to figure out what to do. Today’s gamers need some convincing. A game that will look different, feel different, but keep the same feeling of action that are brought on to us from other games that DICE puts out, such as the Battlefield series. A perfect example of a game like this is Shadow of the Colossus. In my eyes, I have never seen anything like it and when I first played it, i was amazed by how it departed from the mainstream of games at the time. Games need to be different. Consumers don’t spend good money for the same experience every time. One last problem i had with this game was that once i beat it, i felt like i had done everything in the game and didn’t need to play it again. Games should be good for at least 2 playthroughs and should push us to pick up that game again sometime soon after we beat it. Within the first playthrough of Mirror’s Edge, i felt i didn’t need to go back and search anything. It was mainly a straight line throughout the whole game so there wasn’t really a sense of exploration. When i first played it (i know i keep going back to when i first played it) i saw this huge, vast cityscape that was something totally new, considering you had one, kinda slow way of travel unlike Prototype’s flying and climbing of buildings which made travel a breeze in the game. I figured that a big city meant big exploration. Soon after a few levels, i quickly realized that the game went in a straight line. There mostly was only one way to do things and i LOVE variety in a game. Overall, i think that if they can somehow avoid these problems when making the sequel, Mirror’s Edge 2 will be an amazing new experience for gamers, and even spectators.

  22. Mathias says:

    This is what i want ME2 to be:
    -A few more moves then ME, even though it was fun at the beginning the moves got very boring after doing them a lot even in different combination’s.
    -A little better, LONGER story. The story of the first was kind of short. And it was kind of cliche, i think dice can do a lot better then that.
    -A little bit more OPEN gameplay. ME was VERY linear, and i hoped that i could explore a little bit around the huge beautiful city.

    And that is ALL i want from ME2, not less and defendantly NOT MORE. I don’t want Third person, i don’t want easier gameplay, i don’t want a different graphics, i don’t want them to get rid of the cartoony cutscenes. That and a lot more is what i love about ME and there is no need to change it.

    Just my 2 cents.

  23. André says:

    This might make some of you guys jealous, but it wasn’t until less than a month ago that I discovered ME existed. Going on the same page written perfectly by Mike, games today are as he describes, so I’ve been off of computer games a lot for the last years.
    When I found out this game existed, being a parkour fan (of watching, although I’d love to have among my groups of friends other enthusiasts to form a crew) I had to have it and it didn’t disappoint me AT ALL.
    I agree with some of the mentioned game’s weak spots, especially about the storyline length. Also, I’m playing the PC version and I was disapointed to find out (trying it in MY game) that the trophies were cut out from this version (after being thrilled about them on youtube). The challenges implicated by trying to achieve those are an example of what can make the duration of the game longer. At the stage I’m at, I still have a lot of challenges with the races (some are still unlocked and I only have 3 stars at 3 stages; I haven’t gone into the storyline-levels-time-beatings yet – sorry guys :D ).
    Like many of you said, the trial and error (about wich path to take and about doing the tricks that compose them perfectly timed); the design of both in-game graphics and cartoon assistence; the briliant music that flows through the different athmospheres the game creates make this game a spectacular one. Also, the first time you played a situation, you were often brought to it with such intensity, facilitated by the first person, the breathing, the shooting behind you, one almost believed were there.
    Sorry for being sort of lyrical about this, but It must be due to being a new player of ME and to a funny coincidence: This past school year I did my first master course in sport’s Psychology, and my main area of interest spoke of a mental state called “flow”. It describes an optimal mental state that people can achieve performing different activities and it happens when the challenges of those tasks are slightly above one’s technique, or ability. To understand this, when the challenge is too high, one might get anxious, or uninterested, giving up; and when the ability is so superior to the task, one gets bored. That’s why if 2 persons of different levels go play tennis is bad for both. Translating this to ME, this is one of those games that creates the set for a lot of flow states, and funny enough, the game’s intro speaks of it.
    Sorry for the long speech guys, so I’d like to end my comment with thoughts about what ME2 would be if I was in charge of summarizing it to great programers, designers, musicians (hopefuly, the team from ME), etc:
    - MAINTAIN the playability;
    - Create a more original story to go along the originality of the rest;
    - MAINTAIN music quality;
    - MAINTAIN cartoons (although the athleticism and movement of those WILL BE BETTER (I’m in charge in this fantasy, yeah?);
    - MAINTAIN first-person. I’d be ok with optional view, but I think that would imply a lot more work. Have you guys checked out how our ME looks in 3D at youtube? the game’s designed for FPV, so including both should double the work about character movement;
    - The combat will include more movements by faith, like a turning-kick and the shooting will be better (one programmer looks at me nasty-like).
    - Create the open-world exploration. Might be incorporated in some of the the story-line levels, or separatly, on or off-line.
    I really hope ME2 comes out, and that it maintains ALL of those key aspects that made the first game so special for us fans.
    If anyone was interested about the “flow” concept, research about it’s creators ideas – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – and, right know, go watch videos of Damien Walters at youtube if you don’t know him.
    Peace out everyone.

  24. Seb says:

    Its a fantastic game, and i hope they won’t make it any easier(even though they might.) I loved scouting for the best route, and then execute insane parkour to get there. But i hope they won’t take out the combat part entirely, i really enjoyed running at full speed towards an unsuspecting guard taking him out and seconds after you stand on a rooftop, looks at the lifeless body and then continues on.
    Looking forward to the next installment!

  25. GideoN says:

    The stop and look than go action in ME is part of the experience, if people want more of a fluent fast paced game (which I thought there was lots of anyway) just need to beat the game, know the puzzles and then string it together the next time you play.

    I’ll be extatic if ME2 came out on a console, if some form of 2 player came in (coop would be FRICKING AWESOME) and maybe a MODE in which you could have no enemies, (kinda like a free skate in Tony Hawk, nothing to do with the story but just fun and lets you explore and try things etc). Than the people who want the fluent can fluently do there own thing when they want, and for the non0fluent people a chance to explore and try new things.

    A deffinate no-go is making it more linear. Some scripted moments are never bad but a linear parcour game? Might as well leave out the parcour, parcour is based on creativity and finding (I repeat FINDING) the fastest routes. No one wants a route made for you in a parcour game (at least I don’t).

    Leave comments on what you think ;)

  26. JaymanB says:

    I heard that ME2 was gonna third person and you play as Faith’s son. Hopefully those are just rumors. Anyway, I love ME’s gameplay because it made you like you fell like you were there, running from the cops as Faith. Mike was right about this new generation of gameplay and I have the perfect examples. First, My little cousin loves have me around so I can beat his for because he does have enough imagination to make his own path. Also, people nowadays get so frustuated when they cant get what they are supposed to do and I dont understand that. On another ME’s story sucked because it was way to short so a longer story line and free roam would great. And how about expanding to the Nintendo franchise, like maybe a sidescroller like the one for ipad. Call it Mirror’s Egde DS.

  27. JKcarl says:

    (. )( .) boobies hahaha ME ROCKS

  28. Maceo says:

    Because sales of ME didn’t meet their expectations EA will probably add 32 multiplayer and nades, always trying to satisfy the few to maximize profits.

  29. faithslaw says:

    i think a sequel is needed i love mirror’s edge i think in the 2nd game there should be a explore free roam mode where you can roam the city and do little missions for people sort of like spiderman or assassin’s creed and a online mode with capture the flag and stuff!


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