“She cannot pick up a gun at all,” says Sara Jansson, senior producer for DICE on Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. “You’re not gonna fire a shot.”
Going with a gun-free protagonist gives Mirror’s Edge Catalyst a unique glint amongst the high-profile games of E3, but it’s an even stronger signal to fans who have kept the series from becoming dormant. As Jansson discusses Catalyst with me at E3, I get the sense that it’s not only a rebirth for heroine Faith, but a more authentic version of DICE’s initial goal. Faith is now a clearer embodiment of that romance with running, climbing and escaping.
Though firing guns wasn’t a focus in the original Mirror’s Edge (2008), it felt like an impurity in the developer’s bright vision of highly-trained couriers flitting through a sterile city, locked in surveillance. Picking up a gun felt like a compromise, and the rest of the game was subtly influenced just by having the option. Yes, you could finish it without firing a shot, but you’d have shattered a few controllers en route to that loathsome Achievement. You know the one.
Jansson says combat is more “martial-arts inspired” in Catalyst, now hinged on keeping and transferring momentum through vaulting, wall-running and sliding. “You do take enemies out, but you use your momentum, combined with the environment and your skill moves.” Provided she has enough momentum, Faith can launch into an enemy for a decisive knock-back and then carry on running with barely a break. “Running is always a good option,” Jansson says.
Faith’s running momentum is nearly treated as a resource in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst - it’s required to knock security guards out quickly and can be transferred into them with a tough shove. Faith stops, someone else goes stumbling through a window. “If you keep flow,” Jansson says, “if you keep your momentum high and just chain together moves, you’re not going to get hit by bullets.”