Note: I've been quite busy in the last two months. I nonetheless managed to contribute something to The Editing Room, the site that single-handedly influenced Playthroughline's style. Read my take on The Adjustment Bureauhere. Also, the next Short Script to go up will be that of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I feel as if this entire blog has been leading up to that one.
I share both Tom Francis' affinity for and frustration with Mirror's Edge. It's a beautiful but flawed game; its potential is marred by what seems like a series of last-minute cop-outs. "Wait, are consumers really going to go for a game where all you do is run and jump around? Better add some weapons to even that out!". The loose approach to the game's mechanics can also be seen when looking at its story. Mirror's Edge is a game where the disconnect between story and gameplay manifests itself visually.
The most striking aspect of Mirror's Edge is its starkly colourful and unusually bright environment. The unnamed metropolis it's set in is practically a character in itself. Just take a look at the Mirror's Edge collection over at Dead End Thrills, and you're set as far as desktop wallpapers are concerned. Which makes the transition to 2D animated cutscenes all the more jarring. It's as if there was no longer any time or budget for motion captured cutscenes to complement the (addition of a) story, so the gaps had to be filled out with something that could be slapped together at a moment's notice. I've pointed out this disconnect before (namely here), but if you look at the story as is, regardless of how it's presented, one element sticks out as being most exemplary of that disconnect. And that's the character of Lieutenant Miller.
He's a police officer and the direct superior to Kate, and alternates between helping and hampering Faith on her mission. Most of the inconsistencies regarding his role are superficially pointed out in the Short Script, and those inconsistencies stem from the fact that Miller appears to be a holdover character. It seems he's on hand whenever the story trips up to provide whatever function is required at that point. This undermines his character at every turn because he clearly knows about the whole plot to set up Kate (one of the bad guys flat-out told him about it). Then, when Mercury dies and Faith no longer has a guiding voice in her ear, Miller shows up in the last level to fill that role, even though his presence there would be excrutiatingly implausible. He just tries to be too many things at once (which he demonstrates by wearing a turtleneck under his suit).
Welcome to Playthroughline, a personal blog focused on the implementation of stories in games. In addition to general musings about narrative design, you’ll also find a collection of scripts that basically do for videogames what The Editing Room does for movies.