The upcoming Mirror's Edge Catalyst brings Faith back to traversing the rooftops of the City of Glass, but instead of continuing the story from where it left off after the first Mirror's Edge game, the developers at Dice decided to start all over again. Catalyst isn't a sequel, it's a reboot, telling the story of how Faith went from freelance runner to resistance fighter.
Faith's glossy world of the future is one of civil unrest. A group of corporations called the Conglomerate have taken control of essentially everything, getting their dirty hands into the government and economic matters causing normal citizens to suffer while the elite prosper. And where there is unrest, there is revolution. Eventually, the Black November resistance movement crops up taking formerly peaceful protests to more violent ends. At the start of the game, Faith is a Runner - a mercenary hired to complete missions assigned by various Corporate Houses in exchange for cash. She ends up landing herself in jail and isn't exactly a good guy at first, but we expect that events will unfold that will force her into conflict with the Conglomerate and grow her into the hero the city needs.
Mirror's Edge has never been about toting a gun through multiple corporate strongholds and shooting your way to victory (though enemy encounters can get violent), it's about navigating the environment as quickly as possible using your freerunning skills. In Mirror's Edge Catalyst, Faith explores an open-world environment - as opposed to the more linear design of the first game - and seems more nimble than ever. She can jump impossibly far distances, use wall runs to reach new heights, and climb just about any surface she can get a handhold on. It's all about momentum, so it might take some practice before you can string together the necessary moves and bound across rooftops like a pro, but you’ll get some help from the new and improved Runner Vision.
The first Mirror's Edge was quite linear, so the developers only had to highlight a few paths in Runner Vision; fairly straightforward. In Catalyst, because the player has multiple objectives to choose from in the open-world, the new Runners Vision works more like a car's GPS, recalculating the fastest route to your destination based on your current location. Just follow the red and you'll be just fine.
Outside of falling off skyscrapers to your doom, you also have to watch out for heavily-armed KrugerSec guards. Early footage of the game in action not only shows the heroine acrobatically slipping through office buildings' tight security, but when the alarms go off and KrugerSec gets in her way, Faith is no pushover. The developers have completely done away with Faith using guns; instead she can take down her enemies just as fast as she can move through the environment, and, if you're skilled enough, do it without missing a beat. Vaulting kicks, wall-running jump kicks, and sliding trip moves allow the runner to keep her momentum as she bowls over anyone unlucky enough to get in her way.
On top of her ninja-like agility, Faith appears to have a wrist-mounted grappling hook at her disposal. The new device was only revealed on a piece of the game's promotional artwork so we don't actually have any confirmation on how it will work. Will it allow Faith to zip up buildings like Batman? Maybe she can swing across the rooftops like Spidey? Your guess is as good as ours.
As far as we can tell, the city has maintained the ultra-clean, pristine appearance of the original Mirror's Edge. As you encounter the various corporations of the Conglomerate, you'll visit different areas of the city ranging from the neon nightlife and nightclubs of the Anchor district to the posh-y marina of The View district. From what we've seen of the gameplay trailers, Faith moves from indoor to outdoor locations freely, meaning that you'll make your way through buildings just as often as you go over them.
Catalyst is also introducing a day to night cycle to the futuristic city, so it won't always be high noon as you're going about your missions. There's no word as to how this might affect the gameplay by having rotating guard shifts or stealth opportunities at night, but it does substantially change the aesthetics of the environments, bringing bright neon colors to contrast the shadowy areas and the spotlights to highlight the futuristic architecture. The new day-to-night transitions seems like it could give the City of Glass much more life.