Battlefield creator DICE wants to "put the person back into first-person" with the upcoming Mirror's Edge. Can this acrobatic title revitalize first-person game design?
Historically, when firstperson games have demanded acrobatics of even a limited sort, the results have been sorrowful. Even a title as accomplished as Half-Life tripped up by including a forlorn sequence of jumping puzzles (and thus an enervating succession of quickloads) in the final stages of the adventure. So it's easy to be cynical when DICE tells you that the entirety of its new game, given the preliminary title of Mirror's Edge, centres on making an energetic use of movement – jumping, climbing, diving – all things that have either been poorly implemented or avoided altogether in firstperson games of the past. Even running is something that most games implement simply as a doubling of the camera's speed – the character's legs don't actually hammer the ground with greater force, arms swinging in rhythm with each powerful bound. But they do in Mirror's Edge. And this is exactly how DICE hopes to surpass the problems of movement in the past: by creating an acutely physical sense of the player's body within the environment.