Mirror’s Edging Closer

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It was a year ago at E3 2013 that Electronic Arts officially announced a sequel to Mirror’s Edge to a mixed response of relief, elation, concern and frustration. The first game was born in 2008, that brief moment in time when EA was experimenting a bit, branching out and trying new things, a year that gave us Mass Effect, Spore, Warhammer, Dark Space, and of course Mirror’s Edge. Despite inevitable quirks the free-running gameplay garnered a lot of love. In fact the main complaint about the game was how unnecessary and counter-productive the combat was. EA might have been sticking their neck out but they couldn’t bring themselves to dial the combat down any further, which is a crying shame.

So when the 2013 E3 trailer heavily featured fighting joy was heavily tempered by disappointment. Had EA and DICE learned nothing?

A year has passed, another E3 has come, and some more Mirror’s Edge news has wall-run out of the studio and leapt wildly onto the internet. So what difference has a year made?


“We’re creating Faith for a new generation”

Sigh. From the latest blog post on the official site we get an explicit statement that combat is still an integral and first-class element of the game and its design:

We are also committed to provide the best 1st person close combat in the world. Advanced combat that is integrated into an improved fluidity of movement. These are not small undertakings, but they are challenges that we are up for.

I’ve literally never heard or read anyone say that the fighting in Mirror’s Edge enhanced the gameplay, never mind feeling natural and seamlessly blended with the free-running. To most people that might suggest that reducing the combat a bit, if not removing it entirely, might be the way to go, and focus on running and evasion. But not EA, no. Their mindset seems to be so set in the rut of “fighting good, not fighting boring” that their response has been to try to improve the combat.

Listen EA, listen DICE: Make the best combat system you can. Make it a joy to play. Then go and put it in a different game where it’s actually wanted.

Let Mirror’s Edge focus on movement, freedom and the sensation of constantly being only an instant ahead of danger, a single mis-step from death. A game can live on that sensation. We won’t be bored by not being able to get into fights every few minutes. We won’t get frustrated if we go a level without some violence. Seriously. I know it’s alien to your very understanding of gamers, but give it a try, please…

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