Back in 2009 (when all this was forests as far as the eye can see), Mirror’s Edge did a lot of things really, really well. Free-flowing movement. Actual parkour. A bright and colourful future. But there was one thing it didn’t quite pull off – guns. Sadly, when it came to heroine Faith picking up fallen boomsticks of death, the whole shebang felt at odds with the speed and dexterity of its movement.
It seems the bods at DICE agree – so much so in fact that its completely removed them from upcoming sequel Mirror’s Edge Catalyst (while totally adding in a new grappling hook). In the latest issue of Edge, game design director Erik Odeldahl explains the decision came about right at the start of development. “We didn’t want the kind of flow-breaking combat that we had in the first game,” says Odeldahl. “And early on we – from a story and world perspective – decided we didn’t want Faith using guns at all this time. So once we took that out, we moved Faith’s entire moveset piece by piece over from Unreal Engine to Frostbite and then went through countless iterations. We knew what we wanted, but it takes time to get there.”
It also came down to an issue of maintaining Faith’s momentum throughout its new dystopian future. “First-person melee is hard [to program], especially if the player is moving at full speed,” he adds. “So we basically came to the conclusion that we can’t borrow from other genres. We need to focus on our core strength, which is first-person free-running. So we decided to make combat part of the free-running.”