Mirror's Edge dazzled everyone when DICE showed an in-game trailer for the game at Sony's recent PlayStation Day. Since then it's been high on the most wanted list for many gamers, even though some have questioned whether what we have seen is indeed what the game is really like. Well, we've seen it being played and can assure you that it's looking every bit as good. We caught up with Owen O'Brien, senior producer, DICE to find out how the game will play beyond what we've seen in a brief demo and if the studio is worried Mirror's Edge will be yet another great game that fails to achieve commercial success.
VideoGamer.com: You showed us a live demo of the game that matches the trailer. Was that because you felt some people didn't believe the trailer showed the game off accurately?
Owen O'Brien: Yes. Absolutely. First of all we said we were going to do a first-person movement game and everyone's going yeah that's not going to work. Then we showed screen shots and everyone said oh they look pretty but they're probably fake. And then we did the video and they go wow it looks really cool but it's probably either a render or like hold aim press fast forward and all those things are happening automatically. So that's the next thing now, to A: convince people it is from a proper game and B: to convince them that the control system is easy and intuitive while still having a lot of skill.
VideoGamer.com: Looking at the live demo the control system looks very simple. Was that a deliberate effort to make it more accessible?
OO: Yes. One of the mantras I had for the game initially was that it should be easy to do cool things. And skill comes in doing a series of cool things together and that's how you do spectacular things. So any of the individual moves aren't that hard. It's not that hard to do a jump or it's not that hard to do a roll. Doing a jump and then a roll or a jump and a swing and slide, that's when the skill comes in. The control system is simple but it also depends on what you're doing, timing as well. There's a momentum factor to build into it. So although it's simple it can demand quite a lot of skill. OK, there's only two, maybe three buttons you need to press but how many buttons do you need to press at any one time to have a complex system? So yeah, the short answer to your question is we wanted to make it accessible but at the same time I think there's quite a lot of depth and skill involved there. Even now if I'm not concentrating I could easily fall to my death. There's no guarantees. It's an analogue system.
VideoGamer.com: We saw from the demo that there's a button you can press that shows you where you need to go but not how you get there. Is there only one way to get there or will there be multiple routes?
OO: It depends on the exact level and the exact instance. But in most cases there's more than one route to where you need to go. Even a staircase like this can be negotiated in lots of different ways. You can walk up the stairs or go up the wall or jump and swing and slide. The short answer is there's always multiple routes to where you need to go and there's usually at least the standard route and the professional route and the professional route is nearly always a fraction of the time.
VideoGamer.com: During the demo we saw that there will be interior sections as well as sections on the roof. What will be the percentage split?
OO: It's probably 50-50. Let's put it as interiors and exteriors. So exteriors could be on the ground or on the rooftops. Then interiors can be underground or in buildings, subways. So it's probably a 50-50 split.
VideoGamer.com: That's interesting because everything we've seen from the game has been on rooftops.
OO: A lot of the game is like that. The rooftop is the natural habitat for the character so in all instances you're always trying to get back to that height again. But you need variety and pacing in the game as well, so it's not just all running across rooftops.
VideoGamer.com: What does the game's title, Mirror's Edge, mean?
OO: The title comes from the city really. It's a fictitious city but it's not science fiction. It's taking things that are happening in the world whether it's architecture or social engineering or whatever and it's melding it all into one. We've got skyscrapers that look like Dubai but then we've got these storm drains from Tokyo and we've got this street layout that's like New York and this subway system that's probably like New York too.
The city wasn't always like this. It used to be like a more normal traditional city but over the years it's become more anodyne. More controlling laws have come in and people have gradually given up more of their personal freedoms. Now they live in this very controlled, very clean, gleaming society, but it's kind of false, a bit lifeless, and a pale reflection of what it used to be. There are some people who didn't want to conform to this and they live on the periphery of it, on the edge. Because the city is so gleaming and shining there's lots of reflections, they call where they live the Mirror's Edge.
VideoGamer.com: What's the meaning behind Faith's tattoo under her eye?
OO: It's somewhat symbolic. It's.... actually I'm not going to answer that.
VideoGamer.com: OK but there is meaning behind it?
OO: There is meaning behind it.
VideoGamer.com: The game is coming out on multiple platforms. Are you going for a simultaneous release?
VideoGamer.com: In terms of release date when are we looking?
OO: I don't think we're... well I know what it is but I'm not sure we're actually announcing it yet. I think we're going to announce it in the next couple of weeks.
VideoGamer.com: Regarding the PS3 version are there any plans for Home integration?
OO: Yes. We're looking at Home and trophy support.
VideoGamer.com: So are you planning any online or multiplayer elements?
OO: The focus is definitely single-player. There is a somewhat online aspect to the game but again we're talking about that later in the summer.
VideoGamer.com: Mirror's Edge is a new IP and has had an excellent reaction among hardcore gamers. Is there a danger that it might end up like Ico and enjoy excellent reviews but poor sales?
OO: I think the subject matter has more mass market appeal than Ico for example. There's a lot of things in the storyline that I think are really prevalent that people can identify with. It's set in a contemporary city, it's not on a spaceship, it's not about aliens, it's just about a girl against the system. The controls are very simple. So from that aspect we're hoping it's got a lot of mass market appeal. The issues it raises, the questions that it asks are all pretty prescient these days. I also think the lead character has definitely resonated with females and males as well as non gamers. She's not your stereotypical gaming character. There's always going to be some people who just don't get the game. That's OK. I'd rather it be a game that some people love and some people don't like at all than just like, it was OK.
VideoGamer.com: Thanks for your time.