'Mirror's Edge Catalyst' and the lengthy shadow of a cult basic

“It is a recreation that is constructed lots on momentum and ahead motion and never stopping, reaching virtually a zen-like factor.”

That is how DICE Design Director Erik Odeladhl describes his newest recreation, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. It stars Religion, a freerunner, as she sprints, slides and leaps round a stark-white futuristic city sprawl. The town is her playground. On prime of a skyscraper, Religion builds up velocity and swings onto a skinny ledge, the place she seamlessly dashes and jumps, rolling onto the roof of the subsequent constructing and all the time operating, operating, operating. For a lot of followers, this fixed movement is what the collection is all about.

However Odeladhl’s favourite a part of Catalyst includes no motion in any respect.

“I discover it extraordinarily good to only climb up someplace actually, actually excessive up after which simply stand nonetheless there and truly simply take a look at the town,” he says. “Since it has been a part of my life for therefore a few years now, I am principally actually, actually joyful seeing the town and seeing that it really works and all the things is related. That is an enormous factor for me.”

Odeladhl is among the masterminds behind DICE’s new recreation. He pitched Catalyst as a reboot, he helped conceive the Metropolis of Glass and he determined every thing can be bigger with a nonlinear narrative. He holds Religion’s future in his palms.

“She’s a very distinctive heroine,” Odeladhl says. “First, the truth that she’s a heroine — she’s not your normal recreation hero. However she’s additionally to date eliminated; she’s not a cliche and she or he’s obtained a really distinctive look.”

The unique Mirror’s Edge, launched in 2008 for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation three, is a cult basic. Its hordes of followers are hungry for extra freerunning, they usually have particular requests for the brand new recreation. Primarily, they need extra: extra freerunning, extra metropolis to discover, extra characters to work together with and extra story to soak up.

It is Odeladhl’s job to offer this stuff in Catalyst, whereas additionally retaining DICE’s personal artistic imaginative and prescient for the sport. Fortunately, Odeladhl is aware of what the collection’ lengthy-time hardcore followers need — as a result of he is one in every of them.

“Personally, I’ve all the time felt we have been doing the appropriate factor,” he says. “However you are all the time fearful. You by no means actually know in case you’re doing the appropriate factor till individuals truly play the sport. There’s lots of heritage with Mirror’s Edge; it was very nicely-acquired, and it is also a really distinctive title. And we needed to construct on that uniqueness; we needed to create one thing that was true to the primary recreation however improved upon it in a whole lot of areas.”

Odeladhl joined DICE in 2006, when Mirror’s Edge was in manufacturing, however he was introduced on to construct Battlefield video games. He caught glimpses of Mirror’s Edge across the workplace, and when he lastly obtained his arms on it in 2007, he was hooked.

“I instantly needed to work on that recreation,” Odeladhl says. “However it did not work out that method.”

'Mirror's Edge Catalyst' and the long shadow of a cult classic

He ended up constructing Battlefield three and the 2010 installment of Medal of Honor earlier than he was provided an opportunity to hitch a gaggle engaged on the brand new Mirror’s Edge. Odeladhl and his group pitched the sport to studio executives as a reboot with an enormous, open metropolis and nonlinear storyline. They needed a clear slate in a recent world with loads of area for gamers to freerun. It would not have weapons, it will function asynchronous multiplayer modes and Religion would reprise her position because the star.

Catalyst hasn’t modified a lot from that preliminary pitch.

“We needed to not simply create a brand new recreation however truly to construct a world with an enormous metropolis, the Metropolis of Glass, the place you free-roam as a participant, but in addition a world with a historical past and a future — political conflicts and that sort of stuff,” Odeladhl says.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has been delayed twice since its announcement. First it was pushed again from February to Might of this yr, and then from Might twenty fourth to June seventh (extra of a two-week hiccup than a full-fledged delay). The unique setback was as a result of Odeladhl and his staff requested additional time, and the second was to include suggestions from the sport’s closed beta.

Despite the fact that it resulted in a small delay, the beta went extraordinarily nicely from Odeladhl’s viewpoint.

“If you launch video games, and the web being the web, there’s all the time some negativity,” he says. “However I truly seemed and I might discover little or no of it. That, to me, was probably the most shocking factor.”

'Mirror's Edge Catalyst' and the long shadow of a cult classic

Followers have waited an extended whereas for a brand new Mirror’s Edge installment, nevertheless it hasn’t been in useless. Catalyst exists solely as a result of the right period of time has handed, permitting know-how to meet up with DICE’s objectives. The PlayStation four and Xbox One lastly boast sufficient reminiscence and processing energy to help a metropolis on this scale (with out producing one million loading screens).

“We actually could not have constructed this recreation on the older consoles,” Odeladhl says. “It will have been a special recreation.”

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst would even be a totally totally different recreation if it was constructed from scratch for digital actuality. As an immersive first-individual freerunning expertise, it looks like an apparent candidate for VR, and collection followers have not been quiet about that. Odeladhl and his workforce have definitely talked about Mirror’s Edge in VR, nevertheless it’s merely not within the playing cards — or the code — proper now.

“The factor with VR is that it requires you to design and construct for VR from the start,” Odeladhl says. “It’s extremely exhausting to port an expertise. … Mirror’s Edge might very nicely work in VR, however we needed to give attention to the physique consciousness of a normal recreation now.”

DICE will launch Mirror’s Edge Catalyst on June seventh, providing Religion one other probability to show the worth of first-individual freerunning. The Metropolis of Glass is full and able to be conquered; its buildings stand modern and tall. And on prime of 1 towering construction stands Religion, utterly nonetheless, surveying the town that Odeladhl and DICE constructed.

Jessica is knowledgeable nerd, specializing in unbiased gaming, eSports and Harry Potter. She’s written for on-line retailers since 2008, with 4 years as Senior Reporter at Joystiq. She’s additionally a sci-fi novelist with a accomplished manuscript floating by means of the mysterious ether of potential publishers. Jessica graduated from ASU’s Walter Cronkite Faculty of Journalism in 2011 with a bachelor’s in journalism.