One of the more intriguing parts of the original Mirror’s Edge was its great traversal techniques. Faith moved at a fluid pace, climbed up poles, pulled off death defying leaps, slammed through marked doors etc. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has been developed with DICE’s powerful Frostbite development engine, which in turn has managed to improve upon everything that worked before. Gameplay Producer Jeremy Miller gave us more of his time and delved into the game’s development and improved mechanics behind Faith’s swift movement.
How has the Frostbite engine impacted the development of the game’s environments?
The Frostbite engine has had a huge impact on every part of the game! The first Mirror’s Edge was innovative in how it used color and lighting and it was important for us to do that again, but on a new, much more dynamic level. Our focus on modern, clean and minimalistic environments puts a strong emphasis on the quality of the surfaces and lighting which Frostbite absolutely delivered on. Our environments really are beautiful, and the screen shots capture that, but it’s at another level when you’re fluidly running through them and seeing all the dynamic lighting, reflections, and cutting-edge tech that you see just how amazing it is.
Frostbite also allowed us to let the player Freeroam the city, partake in races, missions and the many other activities in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst without a single loading screen. In a game where fluidity is a core pillar this really makes a huge difference to the experience.
How does the game visually represent the implementation of Faith’s speed running?
Faith’s speed and momentum permeates into all aspects of the game and is evident in our music, audio, gameplay mechanics and of course, the visuals.
Visually, there are two approaches: the first is a meter we call her “Focus Shield” that builds as Faith moves. Being at momentum and fluidly moving among the rooftops is perfection for Faith. It focuses her and puts her into that Flow where everything just clicks as her amazing level of skill and determination comes together.
The second is how she sees the world when in her flow. We do this through a number of subtle changes to the camera, motion blur, lighting, colors in the world, and particles in the air.
How do the mechanics of Faith’s fluid movements play a part in how the city of Glass was developed?
Everything that Faith interacts with has been designed with Flow and Fluidity in mind, and the freedom for a player to choose the right path through it for them. The Level Design team did an amazing job at balancing core routes, where it is easier to maintain a flow, vs the more challenging, but ultimately faster routes you’ll discover by exploring and learning the environment. Activities, side missions and the UGC found throughout the city are a great way to explore new nooks and crannies and see familiar rooftops in a new light.
Are there any inspirations behind the game’s art design and architecture?
We took a lot of inspiration from Tokyo and Japan, but studied the works of many, many architects, (even bringing a couple onto the team) to find inspiration.
Just how massive is the city of Glass?
Massive! Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is Faith’s origin story as she grows from a runner, just released from prison, into this amazing unique hero. This means that the places you will experience are the places that are meaningful to Faith and the culture of Runners, and you will definitely get many opportunities to see the breadth and beauty of it.
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