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Mirror's Edge: Catalyst's Re-Imagined Story Explained

DICE's upcoming Mirror's Edge: Catalyst is a re-imagining of the original Mirror's Edge; we'll hear a different version of protagonist Faith's tale, and although we'll see familiar faces and hear familiar names, they may not be in the forms we remember. But perhaps the biggest change is the way DICE is presenting Faith herself. According to narrative director Christofer Ermgard--who is also working on the prequel comic Mirror's Edge: Exordium--she'll be less an "empty vessel" for players to control and more fleshed out, due to a richer narrative and supporting world.
"We are doing something that is new; it's different and separate from the first game," Ermgard explained. "You will recognize maybe the names of some characters, but they will be different characters in this one. Sometimes we even have the name and the look, but the character, what they do is still different, so there are some carry-overs in terms of ideas.
"I think what we [at DICE] felt was that we wanted a more fleshed out world, a larger world that was more detailed and textured than the original game had," he continued. "Also, we had new art direction--it had been eight years since the first game, so I think a lot of people felt that it was time to take the elements that we felt worked with the first game, and then use them to then expand upon that to do this game. People shouldn't expect to understand any sort of connection to the first game. This is its own thing."

As for the new version of Faith, Ermgard said the original game focused on providing a character players could fully imprint upon, stepping into her shoes and allowing them to experience the world as they wanted. For Catalyst, however, Ermgard said DICE was keen on creating a deeper narrative, which in turn led them scrapping the "blank canvas" character idea for Faith and bulking up her backstory and behavioral traits.
Catalyst is also far enough removed from the original Mirror's Edge that players who didn't play the first game won't feel dazed by the second.
"People who have played the first game will recognize some elements, but for Catalyst, the city is new, Faith herself is similar-ish, but we never really delved too much into her in the first game," Ermgard explained. "Her personality now is more fleshed out. The game is about her personal journey, I would say. Of course there's this big plot about getting involved against oppression and all that stuff, but the more important story is her journey, who she becomes and where she starts out and what happens along the way to make her into the person that she is."
There is a lot of affection among DICE's developers for Faith. Ermgard, who has been working on Mirror's Edge for three years, is personally attached to her, speaking of her like she were his own daughter. The game isn't just about the developers' journey to completion; it's about them giving Faith a rich world and story they feel will best help her grow.

"In the first game, there was not that much of her personality," Ermgard said. "I didn't myself feel like she went through any large change throughout that game, and so the person she is there is maybe more or less the person she is now... But now she's even more fleshed out, and there's more of her. There are more events in her life that explain who she is, and this is, in a way, a coming of age storyline, in that she will come to understand the impact that she has on the people in this society around her. She'll start out her journey a bit more careless, a bit more selfish, a bit more immortal and then realize along the way that's not the case, and I think that transformation people can hopefully relate to.
"She is a complex young woman," he continued. "I hope that she'll be relatable. I think she is, because she's very human, even though she does these things that would be considered superhuman. But she's no superhero. We're very clear about that. Her skills are skills that she acquired that all people could if they really dedicated themselves. But still, I think she is both someone to aspire to, and someone to empathize with."
Eager fans will be able to get a small taste of Faith's new story in Mirror's Edge: Exordium, a comic book series that will detail events leading up to the start of Mirror's Edge: Catalyst. The six-issue run will begin on September 9, with one issue releasing each month until the game releases on February 23, 2016.
"I think you see coming of age stories all the time, but I've got to say, I haven't really seen Faith's type," Ermgard said of Faith's story. "She's not a superhero. I think that in itself is different and she exists in a world that is in many ways similar to and inspired by the one we live in today. Of course, it's been beautified and taken to the extreme, but I think that combo is something special."

Mirror's Edge: Catalyst's Re-Imagined Story Explained Reviewed by Ramesh Kumar on Monday, July 13, 2015 Rating: 5

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