Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers for Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst feels both like a decent first step in establishing a multi-title franchise and a death nail all at the same time. For everything that DICE got right with its iconic traversal system and increased amount of content, there were a number of fatal flaws that doomed Catalyst to fall into the oft-forgettable good-not-great camp. Its side content felt especially forgettable, even for a game that falls into the Creedlike sub-genre (think AAA open-world “check box” games) and its story was predictable and one note. Still, with an ending that allows for the possibility of future titles and an obvious list of what could be improved upon, it’s not out of the question for another Mirror’s Edge title to pop up in the coming years.
Before diving into why a Mirror’s Edge Catalyst sequel might not be a great idea, it’s worth discussing its ending, as it finds a way to leave a number of doors open for future iterations. Aside from the fact that Faith’s closing speech is somewhat cringe-worthy thanks to its level of cliche, DICE’s writing staff made it a point to stress that the turmoil in the city of Glass is far from over. Faith remarks that there is still a great amount of work to be done in freeing the city from the clutches of the Conglomerate, despite the fact that the Reflection virus was stopped in its tracks. Even though Kruger Holdings CEO Gabriel Kruger appeared to perish in the destruction that occurred at the top of The Shard (Side Note: having The Shard be the center of the city of Glass is equal parts awesome and corny), Faith’s sister Cat/Isabel has all the makings of a clear sequel villain after becoming the head of Kruger Holdings. There’s certainly enough narrative material here to work out the framework of a potential sequel to Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, but the real question is whether or not it’s going to be worth it for EA and DICE.
Obviously there is a massive amount of work that goes into developing any game, and considering that Mirror’s Edge Catalyst was an admitted passion project from DICE, it feels awkward to say that some aspects felt phoned in. Unfortunately for players, when it comes to the side content and general open-world design in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst give off this impression. Because every side mission was either a basic time-trial or some sort of territory capture, there wasn’t anything outside of the basic traversal methods and art-style that set Mirror’s Edge Catalyst apart from the wealth of AAA open-world games that we’ve seen in the last twelve months. There’s definitely a great deal of opportunity to create unique parkour activities and interesting side-stories in an open-world Mirror’s Edge game, but the fact that Catalyst felt so standard doesn’t lend a great deal of faith to the idea that this is a series that will live on for years to come. After all, if you’re looking to adapt an open-world title into a lasting franchise in this day an age, you need to have something unique at your disposal. A perfect example of this would be the Nemesis System in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, a title whose sequel is all but confirmed at this point.
What’s especially damning for the Mirror’s Edge franchise as a whole is just how little fanfare has been seen for Catalyst. Combine the fact that the amount of fans clamoring for this title isn’t as high as one might think (there are only so many people who actually purchased the first game) with a launch week that has been overshadowed with massive pre-E3 announcements and it doesn’t really seem like gamers necessarily care about a new Mirror’s Edge game. After all, if we find out that Mirror’s Edge Catalyst sported lackluster sales numbers akin to its predecessor, would anyone really be surprised? It’s not out of the realm of possibility that we’ll see another Mirror’s Edge game in the future, but considering that Catalyst’s launch was more of a whimper than a bang, those prospects seem dimmer than ever.