September 13, 2008

Mirror's Edge FAQ

Mirror's Edge is nearly upon us and I have been running into questions about the game so I decided to put together an FAQ. Take a look and enjoy!

FYI: Some of the material in this FAQ is quoted from external sources. If so, you will see the item in quotation marks and a source at the end. The reason for this is that some information is only available via exclusive interviews or stories (such as the EGM article from the October issue). A lot of the material is my own work, a piecing together of information put into my own words. If you have a question about a source, check the citations at the end of the FAQ or send me an e-mail and I’ll be happy to answer!

1.    Who is developing Mirror’s Edge?
Mirror’s Edge is being developed by Digital Illustrations CE (DICE). DICE is known for their Battlefield series of games on PC and consoles. The game is being published by DICE’s owner, Electronic Arts.

2.    What engine is Mirror’s Edge running on?
Mirror’s Edge uses the Unreal Engine 3. Many may know that DICE recently designed its’ own engine, the Frostbite engine, for Battlefield: Bad Company, but it was not finished when development on Mirror’s Edge began. The Unreal Engine has never looked so alive with colors and contrast.

3.    What platforms will the game be available for?
The game will be available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC.  

4.    When does Mirror’s Edge release?
No official date has been set by EA, but many news sources including GameStop and IGN have November 11th as the release date for the United States.

5.    Will there be any kind of beta for the game?
As of now DICE and EA have no plans for a public or private beta. Mirror’s Edge is a mostly single player experience so they EA and DICE have been using more internal playtests in the place of a beta.

6.    Who is the protagonist of Mirror’s Edge?

The main character of Mirror’s Edge is an Asian-American woman named Faith. The only family Faith has is a sister; their parents were murdered at a protest against the government when they were kids. Since then Faith and her sister have lived their lives on the streets, avoiding confrontation and struggling to survive. Eventually Faith was trained to become a runner; the job of a runner is to carry information from point to point. Helping her along her journey is Mercury, a mysterious figure that offers advice and guidance.

7.    What is the underlying plot?
The city of Mirror’s Edge is heavily monitored at all times, the almost dictatorial government watches any and all information as well as the citizens of the city. In order to get information from point to point without it being tracked or seen runners must be hired. Runners stick to the rooftops and avoid confrontation with authority at all times.  The government would usually look past the runners and let them be, but now, after some unseen change, runners are criminals. Because of these changes Faith’s sister gets kidnapped. Mirror’s Edge follows Faith as she attempts to rescue her and outwit the government.

A story trailer for the game has been released, you can find it here:  

8.    How did the concept of Mirror’s Edge come about?

(From EGM #233, October 2008)
“We started off prototyping this game in Battlefield 2,” according to Senior Producer Owen O’Brien, “We built this urban environment, and we saw these people jumping out of jeeps, running into the buildings or the underground. Vehicles became less important, and what we wanted to do was move up and down quickly on foot. That’s where the desire to do something with movement in first person came from. It kind of grew out of that.”

9.    How will the gameplay work?
The gameplay of Mirror’s Edge is what makes the game so innovative. It features parkour style first person gameplay. Parkour is defined as “an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body. (Wiki)” Basing the game around this style DICE has widened the field of vision to 90 degrees and aimed to actually make you feel like you are Faith. The camera is tied much more to movement in the game; an example would be while doing a roll, the camera rolls with you. As you run, the camera bobs up and down.  As a runner you will traverse the rooftops of the city overcoming obstacles to make it to the destination.

The gameplay is momentum based, as you run across rooftops you perform moves such as sliding under pipes or scaling a fence. As you perform these moves in succession without error you build momentum which in turn lets you move more fluidly and perform better jumps. The goal is to chin moves together and thus gather momentum, if you don’t you may find yourself falling off of a ten story building. There is also a “reaction time” feature that allows you to go into slow motion to help you perform risky jumps better.

Another main feature of the gameplay is “runner vision.” Runner vision takes objects and turns them red as Faith nears them to let the player immediately recognize routes that are safe to run. These can be turned off for more skilled players and actually become less in number as the game goes on.

There are guns in Mirror’s Edge and, while you can use them, the game is really more about avoidance.  Senior Producer Owen O’Brien puts it best; "this is an action adventure. We're not positioning this as a shooter - the focus isn't on the gun, it's on the person." Guns may be found on enemies in the game, and you can disarm them. Carrying a gun carries a price, it will slow Faith down. The bigger the gun, the more it hinders her movements. Rumor has been that one of the main achievements in Mirror’s Edge will be to complete the game without using a gun. So you can see how guns should play just a small role in the game.

10.    I get sick easy, what about motion sickness in Mirror’s Edge?
This concept has been one of the major worries for Mirror’s Edge, but DICE has you covered. At the basic level they have added a dot to the middle of the screen to help you have a focal point which keeps you from becoming motion sick. (As seen in this video:  On the more in-depth level let’s look at a quote from DICE Art Director Johannes Soderqvist.

“To me, it comes down to the amount of control that I have—the predictability of the moves. I’ve noticed it in games where the controls aren’t based around skill. The game does something for you while you’re running, or you have a lot of outside influences on the body or car or whatever you’re using. Then I have problems [with motion sickness]. But I think in Mirror’s Edge—what people don’t get from the trailers and so on—is how much skill is involved and how much you actually decide on your own. When I play the game, I decide what’s going to happen, and I know what’s going to happen. My brain blends in with what the game does, and it become predictable. I don’t get sick.” (EGM Issue #233, October 2008).

11.    Is it an open world game, or more of a linear game?
Mirror’s Edge is linear in an aspect, but then again not. You follow a path when going through levels, it is not like an Elder Scrolls where you can go anywhere, but there are a few ways to go about completing the levels. The press that has played the game mentioned that there are usually around five or six paths in the levels they have played. In spite of this, you can turn off the “runner vision” which will get rid of the red “guideline” and you can decide how to get through each level on your own.

12.    What is the art style like?
The best way to describe the art style of the game is bright and colorful. DICE wanted Mirror’s Edge to escape the trap that a lot of games have fallen into these days (which is not necessarily bad), that has a very dark and grimy look with a bland color palette. They wanted people to recognize the game easily and be able to distinguish it from the rest of the field. The main colors differ from level to level, with examples such as the city skyline that is bright white, blue, and red, to the sewer levels with a dark green tint. The color palate will help make Mirror’s Edge memorable. 

"The art direction grew out of the gameplay. We wanted to give people a sense of the world very quickly and move through it very quickly. We initially stripped out all of the colors and then just put in red [to guide people to objectives]. But we needed more colors to break it up and also [because] the colors tell you how healthy you are. The brighter they are the healthier you are. When you start to take damage they start to de-saturate. So we needed more colors in the world. But it’s a very restricted and deliberate use of strong primary colors and orange."
- Owen O'Brien (Via
MTV Multiplayer Blog)

13.    What are the achievements/trophies like?
Not a lot is known about the achievements nor trophies for Mirror’s Edge. We can assume that there will most likely be some for completing levels, as well as some for the multiplayer time trail. One confirmed achievement/trophy is making it through the entire game without using a gun. More to come on the achievements as we get closer to launch.

14.    Will there be a multiplayer aspect?
Yes. DICE has been a bit sparse on talking about multiplayer but there has been one aspect confirmed a time trial mode. This mode will have you running smaller sections of levels to set a time and compete via leaderboards with other players. You can also download ghost data to try and compete with others above you on the leaderboards.

DICE says:
“We’ve taken all of our favorite sections, stretches, and parts of the game, and we’ve cut them into a whole series of courses that are unlocked as you play through the single-player game, but also as you play through the time-attack mode itself. If you want to unlock the more advanced and difficult tracks that have higher qualifying times you need to play both.

Various media outlets that have played through the time-attack mode have said it is extremely addictive. They say that once you are actually running against a ghost it becomes much more intense, and that this is one of those modes that if you mess up even once “you’ll go directly to the menu and hit restart so you can do it over and over again until you get it right.”

15.    Will there be DLC?
There are currently no plans for DLC on the 360. The PS3 will be getting a bit of exclusive DLC but what it contains has not yet been announced.

16.    Where is the best media for the game located?
Here are some links for screenshots and videos.
Xbox Live – Two Videos Up
2D Story Trailer
E3 2008 Trailer
Escape Demo Clip
GC 2008 Footage
SCEE Playstation Day trailer
E3 2008 Developer Walkthrough
GC 2008 Mechanics Interview
E3 2008 Producer Interview
GC 2008 9 Lives Montage
GC 2008 Energy Plant Gameplay
GC 2008 Evading the Popo gameplay

GamePlay Unlimited:
Mirror’s Edge Feed

17.    I want to discuss Mirror’s Edge more, is there a fansite?
If you are reading this you have made it to the first area for discussion, the Mirror’s Edge Forum, there is also a very good fansite called “On Mirror’s Edge.” The site has news, media, and forums to discuss the game in-depth. Finally, EA has an official Mirror’s Edge site,

18.    Are there any good pre-order or purchase deals for the game?
Pre-ordering at
GameStop will get you an exclusive Mirror’s Edge messenger bag (seen here). Also EA announced a partnership with DC Comics to produce a limited edition Mirror’s Edge comic, no word on availability yet.

19.    Are there, or will there be, any gamerpictures or themes?
Right now on the Xbox Live Marketplace there is a picture pack available for the game. As the game gets closer to release we may see another picture pack or a theme.

20.    What are those sweet shoes Faith is wearing, and can I buy some?
The shoes are officially called Tabi Shoes. They are an imaginative redesign of the shoes worn in martial arts (as seen in this photo). The martial arts versions are available at your local martial arts store or on

GameTrailers has an analysis of one of the Mirror’s Edge trailers and noticed that the logo on Faith’s shoes is that of a company called
Loggo. The company does not sell any shoes like that at the moment, but it would be cool to see them do a promotional deal for the game. The closest thing to Faith’s shoes seems to be the Nike Air Rifts seen here.

That wraps up the Mirror’s Edge FAQ. I will continue to update the thread as information becomes available. If you have questions you would like answered post them in the thread below or send me an e-mail and I will try to get them added to the FAQ. Thanks for reading!

Electronic Gaming Monthly, Issue 233, October 2008
MTV Multiplayer Blog

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