Mirror’s Edge: In Motion

By Kieron Gillen on May 6th, 2008 at 7:33 pm.

Kick! Punch! It's All in the mind! We're a PC Games Site and this reference is out of our jurisdiction.

We’ve expressed our excitement before, but the first public footage of DICE’s Mirror’s Edge has just gone live at some console-show-thing. Rhymes with Tony. That one. To recap – it’s a free-running first-person action game, based around the noble art of Le Parkour, which is French for Running About Like A Mad Fucker. Trailer and some more notes beneath the cut…

Things to note – the colour-scheme is clean, which is trying to create a different sort of Dystopic mood and to make information clear. Look for the colour red, which signifies the optimum route across the map. At least in the footage, it’s a lot more naturalistic than many thought when it was first mentioned in Edge’s hefty feature. The combat is a little teased rather than displayed, but the game’s apparently much more about the Running Away than the Making Them Run Away.

I’m still excited, in short: It’s a first person game that manages to i) look like nothing else while still looking ii) realistic, which is the sort of thing that’s fun to wave in the face at the imagination=unreality brigade (I have sympathy for the position, but the absolutism is getting a bit cloying, isn’t it?).

I’m also very glad I don’t get motion sickness in games.

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115 Comments »

  1. Jonathan says:

    Reply to UncleLou
    Thats my biggest fear too. Looks too slick for my liking.

    Reply to Kieron
    What happened to not putting enemies in front of you?
    Ok. I’ll lay off until more footage or a demo arrives. I just hoped Dice would of had enough guts as a seasoned developer to remove the shootum entirely.

    I’m still cautiously optimistic. But if it’s a let down and we’re all bad mouthing it in 18 monthes just remember, I funking called it.

  2. Kast says:

    If I never get to play another game again other than this, I will die happy.

  3. Optimaximal says:

    Fucking hell Jonathan…

    I would have much preferred momentum melee instead. Shoulder barges. shoves, flying kicks, pulling people down as you run past them maybe even using the slower guys as stair cases.

    You’re speaking as if the game is finished, 100% feature complete and that demo shows everything it will feature…

  4. Crane says:

    BRILLIANT.
    I’ve been following Mirror’s Edge since the first concept art showed up in Edge Magazine, and seeing this only makes me more excited.

    As for the naysayers who’re complaining about combat: a game in which the player has the ability to defend themselves poorly is almost invariably more interesting than a game in which the player can’t defend themselves at all, since they are forced to choose between flight or an uncertain fight, whereas when they’re defenceless, the ONLY option is flight.
    From the looks of things, guns aren’t very accurate (especially when you’re diving backwards through the air), and presumably have quite limited ammo, and we have as yet no idea how easy it actually is to take down an enemy in melee combat. Let alone what will happen if you try and do that fancy neck-breaky thing on a guy while his two mates are standing nearby with guns.

    Oh, and Jonathan, how would you remove the shootum entirely? Either you have the player mysteriously unable to obtain guns from the cops they’ve just beaten down (which is just stupid), or you include no guns at all, in which case the enemies are rather less of a threat, since they can’t possibly catch up with you.

  5. Jonathan says:

    Reply to Optimaximal
    Why aren’t you saying that to the people calling it fantastic? Surely you can’t say that based on a 90 second trailer.

  6. Hobbes says:

    The most obvious way that guns could be made secondary is essentially that if you pull a gun off a guy, unless you stop to strip him of magazines/clips/shells…. the guns useless as soon as you empty it. And probably, if his mates are in hot pursuit, you aren’t going to want to stop.

    OR: Make the shooting accuracy somewhat more akin to what you really get with a pistol. Much as single kill Pistol headshots at range are beloved of the FPS community, they really aren’t terribly accurate (or powerful) weapons.

    Anyway, short demo, no idea what the person in control was actually doing…. all this really does is give a hint that the game could be good. It gives no clue as to what the running/fighting ratios are.

  7. Optimaximal says:

    Why aren’t you saying that to the people calling it fantastic? Surely you can’t say that based on a 90 second trailer.

    Most of them are saying the TRAILER was fantastic or that the game seems to be (so far) meeting the expectations of the game based on how it seems to follow the bullet points laid down by the original previews, whereas you are condemming the game based on it featuring shooty bangs > all when there has been no clear answer too how in depth the melee and firearm-based combat will be.

  8. The Hot Trout says:

    That looks absolutely delicious, loved that clean minimalist look from when I first saw it and the free-running seems to be very smooth flowing while still allowing you some control to weave your own thread across the rooftops.

    Heck if it’s smooth enough I hope there’s some game mode that’s either time trial or combo based so you can just free-run for it’s own sake without being chased down, stuff like Trackmania United, Trials 2 and even the World of Goo preview have me sold on leader boards where you can challenge scores nearby to your own rather than focussing on the untouchables at the top, seems to be an absolute hook when it’s scores I have a hope of beating…..

    (now that I’ve mentioned Trackmania, I’d love to see it’s free-running equivalent please, post haste!).

  9. Kieron Gillen says:

    Hobbes: Yeah – that’s what I meant too.

    KG

  10. RichPowers says:

    If HL2 is any indication, first-person platformers are a PITA. Hopefully there will be a 3rd person view.

    I absolutely love the art direction, especially the hue of the city. Very Sim City-esque.

  11. Zetetic Elench says:

    It’s been mentioned in interviews; the guns you take from cops can be used for as long as their clip holds out, but holding one also badly hampers your movement.

    In a game entirely about keeping up momentum, this is probably going to work really well in curtailing the shootyness. You’ll likely be disarming a guy, using the gun to escape then immediately throwing it away.

  12. MisterBritish says:

    The point of this game is to make a GOOD FP-platformer. I guess they might have a 3rd person if everyone bitches about it, but it completely invalidates the objective of the project and all the work they are putting into making the first person view feel right.

    And it would be madness to put all this work into movement and momentum, and then completely ignore it for the combat. I mean, a flying kick is practically garunteed.

  13. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    No, seriously, this game looks magnificent.

    I’m not worried about the presence of guns, the nature of combat, or the visuals (which I think happen to, how do you say, “rock”–in an arty way, of course), I’m just worried that it won’t live up to the suddenly very high expectations I have for the game.

    But hey, it’s just getting started.

  14. Gylfi says:

    Wait lemme get this straight. The game is just about running around and hopping and capering and sliding, and they think it’s gonna be a success because it’s “cool” and “awesome” for little kids?

    What’s wrong with them? Where’s the gameplay?

  15. Pidesco says:

    If HL2 is any indication, first-person platformers are a PITA. Hopefully there will be a 3rd person view.

    But here, unlike in HL2 you actually have feet, so that should make all the difference.

  16. Steven Hutton says:

    Gylfi – did you play assissins creed at all? The best part of that game was just tooling around on roof tops.

  17. bobince says:

    Amazing how much just a little bit of hand and foot in-frame, coupled with the breath and other sound, add to the feeling of motion. Beautiful visual design. Hope this turns out to be as special as it promises.

    (And I second the Hooray! for clothed, non-pornstar boobs in games.)

  18. Riotpoll says:

    I have a feeling I will get motion sickness from this; no peripheral vision.

  19. SenatorPalpatine says:

    This game looks great so far. It’s got its own very cool looking artistic style, though I wouldn’t go so far as to say its as original/awesome as Shadow of the Colossus, as someone mentioned.

    The only possible issue is imposed linearity, which would be incredibly lame, and a sandbox mode would be a nice addition.

  20. Nallen says:

    This has sold it to me. They’d have to go a long, long way wrong for it to drop back off my radar.

    My 2 cents on the gun fighting is that it’d probably be a fairly realistic implementation, taking the hand holding the gun out of the free running and limiting your available moves.

    I wouldn’t even be suprised if situations were engineered to exploit that, allowing the level design to absolutly dictate when you can and can’t have a weapon.

    I actually feel this has the ‘gameplay’ and indeed game changing potential of – dare I say it – thinking with Portals ;)

    Edit: Female lead, anyone?

  21. Ed says:

    Looks interesting.

    No love for game trailers any more I notice. Have they shunned you?

  22. Nallen says:

    We’d run away with you any time, Gametrailers

  23. Alex says:

    I’m also very glad I don’t get motion sickness in games.

    Well, up til now..

    That said, if you can handle something like Portal you should be able to handle this.

  24. Grandstone says:

    Listening to the music again, I don’t really mind the style, but I’d rather it were more driving if it’s going to be a game about running away from the cops. The trailer music is a little too floaty. But then, it’s only the trailer music.

  25. sigma83 says:

    Any word about the copy protection? (peeved off from the other thread) EA bastards.

  26. Alex says:

    Any word about the copy protection? (peeved off from the other thread) EA bastards.

    FACE SCAN IT’S A GODDAMN FACE SCAN NOW

    PRESS FACE AGAINST SCREEN….. NOW!! NOW!! NOW!!!

  27. James T says:

    YOU DO NOT APPEAR TO HAVE YOUR ORIGINAL FACE. IF YOU HAVE GROWN A BEARD, PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE SHAVED IT OFF BEFORE REQUESTING VERIFICATION. IF YOU HAVE SHAVED OFF A BEARD YOU HAD AT TIME OF REGISTRATION, PLEASE REGROW THE BEARD BEFORE REQUESTING VERIFICATION.

    “Y’know, really, you’re the ones requesting verification…”

    YOU HAVE TALKED BACK. PLEASE CALL SECUFACE SUPPORT FOR HALF AN HOUR ON THIS INTERNATIONAL NUMBER.

  28. vic says:

    Deus Ex Babechina: literally “whoa the character you are playing is a babe”). The Latin phrase “deus ex babechina” has its origins in the conventions of Greek drama. It refers to the inexplicable addition of a hot female avatar appearing at the end of trailer or cutscene. The phrase has been extended to refer to any resolution to a trailer where the player without due regard to the story’s internal logic is revealed to be a babe so hot ass that it challenges suspension of disbelief, allowing the author to conclude the story with an unlikely, though more palatable image.

  29. Optimaximal says:

    The only possible issue is imposed linearity, which would be incredibly lame, and a sandbox mode would be a nice addition.

    Like Assassins Creeds, there is no definite route to things – the red items just show the developers ideal quick route.
    Whether said route is necessarily the safest (of which will likely be signposted with a yellow/green motif and will be less visually exciting, longer and likely won’t involve hard combat or leaping from skyscrapers) is open for interpretation.

  30. James T says:

    vic: Yeah, I kinda thought the same, except it was probably the eye that did it for me; guess I was thinking of a ‘tougher’ dame, like Chevette from the Bridge trilogy. Anyway!

    I wonder if there’d be a feasible algorithm one could use to generate new playable ME landscapes. Given sufficient alternative routes and methods in the main game, I imagine ME could have enough replay value to suit me, but if it had a ‘quick game’ mod/mode which was able to throw up palatable random maps… Ahh, wishful thinking, I daresay.

  31. will says:

    ok i know its not finished yet and to gripe about it would be retarded, but where was her reflection in the glass as she ran towards the building near the start hmmm? seeing as they’ve gone to such great detail everywhere else, i doubt they’d leave something like that out. oh and yeah, if this isnt fairly sandbox, the whole design is counter-intuitive. the speed, the panic, the chase, none of that is any interesting if there is an obvious predetermined path. I agree with whoever said the slow-mo during the huge jump at the end was bad. full speed would be way cooler. maybe there’s be a bullet time aspect, i cant imagine a game like this not going down that road.

    bah ive said my bit.

    oh yeah just wait until spiderman uses this setup. whoa.

  32. Theory says:

    Someone else said breathtaking, and I think that’s the best way to describe this. I am a little worried at the speed, or lack thereof — hopefully that’s simply because we’re looking at someone playing a console version.

    ok i know its not finished yet and to gripe about it would be retarded, but where was her reflection in the glass as she ran towards the building near the start hmmm?

    The reflection will be a static image. Calculating a real-time render for every reflective surface in the world is a recipe for disaster.

  33. A Disembodied Voice says:

    RPS, do you guys have a feel for if the non-combat focused first person genre is something that developers in general are interested in? Or do you think stuff like Portal and this are going to remain the exception to the rule for the moment?

  34. Alec Meer says:

    I suspect plenty of developers are interested in it, but that a game predominantly about shooting and stabbing and running over people is currently shattering sales records means publishers won’t be.

  35. Lukasz says:

    “The reflection will be a static image. Calculating a real-time render for every reflective surface in the world is a recipe for disaster.”
    portal managed to do that didn’t it?

  36. Cargo Cult says:

    Gorgeous, and splendidly immersive – I can’t wait to be running and leaping across sun-drenched skyscraper rooftops…

    (Actually, I think I’ll immediately make do with some real-world Belgian equivalents. See you later, I’m off!)

  37. groovychainsaw says:

    I thought i read something about the guns being gene-locked (or some sci-fi thing) and having to be thrown in 1 minute or something regardless, as they become useless??

  38. K says:

    As somebody who likes to reach places I’m not supposed to go in games, I don’t understand why they highlight the best route; I’d have thought spotting it oneself would be part of the fun. Maybe it could have done with just briefly flashing red instead. Or maybe it will be omitted on hard mode.

    The tension would be excellent without it. Running along at high-speed, approaching the edge of the building… Which way!? Which way!? Drain Pipe? Window? Fire Escape? Can I make that!? Excitement, adrenaline rush, held breath as you take a leap…screen shakes as you stumble when you land but /just/ make it, phew! Whoo!

  39. Kieron Gillen says:

    I think it’s the case it’s a game about /momentum/. They’re swapping strict realism to create that sense of always being MOVING. If you had a more realistic set up, you’d end up with your first play through being a Trials-eque progress/stop/progress/stop/progress with a load of fails along the way – and not just fails in execution, fails because you didn’t know what to do at all and were caught. You’d only ever be a game about momentum and speed when you were replaying a level, which – for them, I guess – missed the point.

    I think the visual cues they included are actually quite elegant, compared to most. I also suspect that the “ideal route” thing is a slight hyperbole on their part – it’s the optimum route as planned by the designers. If the actual interaction with the scenery is always standard (i.e. you can always grab onto individual objects, etc) I suspect players will find their own way.

    Speculation!

    KG

  40. Ben Abraham says:

    But… why the choice to go first person? I thought everyone agreed the running and the jumping in Assassins Creed was awesome. =P

  41. spd from Russia says:

    wow. jumping AND HtH combat from first person view????
    this cant be. I will eat my hat they make it better than in 3d person

  42. KBKarma says:

    This is much shiny.

    One thing that concerns me, though… What are the specs likely to be? I’m probably the last person in the (gaming) world running a Pentium 4 3.2 with HT and an nVidia GeForce 6800. I’ve learned that specs are bloody important the very hard way.

    About the trailer… Looks shiny. I’m pretty sure you can turn of Red Hints (Rints?) in the options. And I think the health is like in Portal: you don’t know until you die.

    I, too, enjoy getting where I shouldn’t, and then trying to get down. I once managed to navigate a path down the outside of the hotel in Deus Ex, taking only a small amount of damage in the process. And then, of course, there’s Morrowind, Sadrith Mora in particular, where I got involved in several bloodbaths with a crossbow by standing on the roofs of buildings and aiming downish. So this looks like my kind of game.

  43. Joe Martin says:

    Look at that – it’s my loins visibily aching for this game.
    I too lust for this.

  44. KBKarma says:

    Put your loins away, before you get arrested for indecency.

  45. Theory says:

    portal managed to do that didn’t it?

    Portal has at the very most two small oval-shaped areas like that, which are almost always positioned in such a way that there isn’t anything happening behind them. They still take a noticeable chunk off my framerate…

    I suppose it would be possible to switch to real-time reflections when Faith comes very close to a surface. I wonder if they intend to do that.

    Edit: according to these people, the game uses UE3. I swore it was Dice’s own engine, Frostbite?

  46. dhex says:

    i find i get a slight hit of vertigo when falling in a first person game (doesn’t happen in any other perspective), so i wonder how inadvertently immersive this will be. i have a friend who cannot even really watch fps games without getting motion sickness, so i imagine this might kill him.

    and let’s take a moment to say “three cheers for not putting her in a midriff-revealing boobalicious outfit!” (it is a sad commentary on the industry that this is even noteworthy)

    “whats wrong with some French Hip-Hop?”

    the same thing that’s wrong with all european hip hop. :)
    (sorry, i could not resist)

  47. phuzz says:

    ooo! Pretty!
    and if I was a sports shoe manufacturer I’d pay a hefty chunk of cash to get my logo onto the side of those shoes (but hopefully no where else, speaking as a fan)

  48. Jog says:

    My main concern is that the game will be very linear. Because I can see only one pre-determined path you can follow…

  49. Dracko says:

    Guys, I strongly suspect that the slow-mo at the final jump is just for effect in the trailer, and won’t be part of the game as such.

    I also admit concern at the diving back firing instance, because not only is there not a chance she could hit anything, but the way she holds the gun… well, you try holding something at that angle and see how uncomfortable it uses and stupid from anyone else looking. But I don’t see why people fuss over the conflict shots: It’s just a couple of moments and surely just there to show you that, hey, you can disarm folks in the game.

    Of course, maybe EA is pressuring them into adding more combat, but Jesus guys, this is a first trailer, and the speed is there and that’s enough for me.

  50. K says:

    I take the point about possibly becoming trial end error without the optimum route highlighted, and how this could lose momentum, but this is where they should be clever.

    A different route wouldn’t be instant death plummet into the pavement, but requires a few tricky twists, turns and grapples (I’m not aware of any technical parkour terms, oddly enough) to get you back on track. I should be able to put together any combination of moves in a nice smooth sequence as not to lose that critical momentum, even if I go the “wrong” way. The fact it took longer than some other route should be pretty much invisible to the player, and they find the optimum routes in a replay, if so inclined.

    But, yes, they may not be highlighting the “best” route, so, who knows.

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