Mirror's Edge is a single-player first person action-adventure video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and published by Electronic Arts. The game was announced on July 10, 2007, and was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in November 2008. A Windows version was released on January 16, 2009. Mirror's Edge is powered by the Unreal Engine 3 with the addition of a new lighting solution, developed by Illuminate Labs in association with DICE.
The game has a realistic, brightly colored style and differs from most other first-person perspective video games in allowing for a wider range of actions—such as sliding under barriers, tumbling, wall-running, and shimmying across ledges—and greater freedom of movement, in having no heads-up display, and in allowing the legs, arms, and torso of the character to be visible on-screen. Mirror's Edge is set in a society where communication is heavily monitored by a totalitarian regime, and so a network of runners, including the main character, Faith, are used to transmit messages while evading government surveillance. In the style of a three-dimensional platform game, the player guides Faith over rooftops, across walls, and through ventilation shafts, negotiating obstacles in parkour fashion.
Mirror's Edge has received mostly positive reviews, with the PC version garnering a Metacritic aggregated score of 81%. The game's uniqueness and its expansive environments have received praise, while criticism has centered on its weakness of plot, and short length. A soundtrack featuring remixes of the final credits song "Still Alive" by Swedish singer Lisa Miskovsky (unrelated to the song of the same name featured in 2007 game Portal) was also released. A side-scroller version of the game for the Apple iPhone is currently under development, slated for a January 2010 release. In a 2009 interview with Videogamer.com, EA Games Europe senior vice president Patrick Söderlund confirmed that a sequel to Mirror's Edge is in production.
Mirror's Edge aims to "convey strain and physical contact with the environment", according to senior producer Owen O'Brien, and to instill a freedom of movement not yet seen in the first-person genre. In order to achieve this, camera movement has been tied more closely to character movement. For example, as Faith's speed builds up while running, the rate at which the camera bobs up and down increases. When a parkour roll is executed, the camera spins with the character. Faith's arms, legs, and torso are prominent and their visibility is used to convey movement and momentum. The character's arms pump and the length of her steps increase with her gait, and her legs cycle and arms flail during long jumps. A uniformed character, standing on a rooftop, falls back after being kicked. Two arms and a leg belonging to the player's character are visible. Mirror's Edge features a realistic first-person view, with the character's limbs visible during hand-to-hand combat.
In gameplay, the character's momentum becomes an asset. The player must attempt to conserve it through fluidity of physical actions, encouraging the creation of chains of moves. If Faith does not have the momentum required to traverse an object, she will fall off or short of it. Controls are simplified by being context-sensitive; the "up" button will cause Faith to traverse an obstacle by passing over it (i.e., by jumping, vaulting, climbing, or grabbing set pieces like zip lines) while the "down" button will cause her to perform other manoeuvres like sliding, rolling, or crouching.To assist the player in creating these chains of moves, the game employs a system called "Runner Vision", which emphasizes environmental pieces useful for progression. Certain pipes, ramps, and doors are highlighted in red as Faith approaches, allowing the player to instantly recognize paths and escape routes. Further along in the game, the number of these visual hints is reduced to only the end goal, and the player can opt to turn off this hint system entirely. It is also used to create puzzles in which the player must figure out how to combine the highlighted set pieces into a chain of moves in order to reach the target. Another means of assistance to the player is a system called "Reaction Time", a form of bullet time activated by the player, slowing down time and allowing the player to plan and time their next move without losing momentum or tactical advantage.
The player character can hold weapons, but O'Brien stressed that "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." Gameplay in Mirror's Edge focuses on finding the best route through the game's environments while combat takes a secondary role. Completing the game without shooting a single enemy unlocks an achievement for the player. Consequently, guns may be obtained by disarming an enemy, but when the magazine is empty, it will need to be discarded. Additionally, carrying a weapon slows Faith down; the heavier the gun, the more it hinders her movement. This introduces an element of strategy in determining when to trade agility for short-term firepower.
Along with the campaign mode, Mirror's Edge features a time attack mode, where the player must try to complete one of a set of special maps in the shortest amount of time. Best times can be uploaded to online leaderboards, where players can also download ghosts of other players to compete against. The maps are unlocked by playing through the campaign mode. According to producer Tom Ferrer, the time trial portions of Mirror's Edge are "bite-sized and short so you can grind them and play them and get faster and faster. It's not like playing an entire level."