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How early on did you decide on the look of the game?
NC: It was early on. We wanted to make a statement in the fact that the game felt very different, and very unique. When you see a screenshot of Mirror's Edge, you know it's Mirror's Edge. It just doesn't become another first person game.
There are a lot of great games out there, but sometimes it's difficult to distinguish between them and us. That was a statement that we wanted to make very early on, and we've really tried to do that throughout the game. "How can we make this very different?"
How much has the game turned out to be the original pitch and design concept, or evolved into something by necessity?
NC: I think the greatest thing in what we did is that we spent a lot of time in white box, that we really proved out what we were doing, very early. The levels were then built out from that. I think had we built a level and then built mechanics around that, we probably would be in a very different situation today than when we started.
I think the whole concept was to build a game around movement, and that's still the same. We've created so many different mechanics, with puzzling, exploration, speed. Also, then, we have these chase mechanics, where you're being chased down by the cops, and you're really trying to get away, and then there's obviously combat, as well.
So we really wanted to build that variety. All the levels have that beat to them, where it's changing the mechanics that you enjoy.
But I think, coming back to your question, that the game has really been true to what we set out to do, and that's really because we proved out the basics early on.
Did you have to adjust your designers and development teams? It's pretty different from your past games; not only in the fact that it's not really a shooter, but also in that most of your past games have been multiplayer.
NC: Yeah. And I think that's a good challenge for us; that was something that we wanted to do, and I think it's great for everyone on the team to do something very different. So, yeah, we've learned a lot.
You know, none of us would claim that it's been easy. It's hard making something like this. It's hard doing new IP; there are challenges along the way, completely. So we've learned a lot which will help us, but I come back to the same point, which is: we were very specific at the beginning to get the specifics right, and that's the one thing that we've learned. That's the best thing that we did, to focus on that, and build a game around the core mechanics.
This is a pretty open question: Is there anything that you did carry from your past games, in terms of things you learned from designing the Battlefield series?
NC: I think it's just looking at what you've got, looking at where your strengths are in your game, and in your mechanics, and building the levels out around it. And the fact that we could've gone open world, we could've made a game that felt very open, but we went for a more linear story, and we went for a more level-based game -- and the reason for that was that we wanted to pack as much action in as we could.
As soon as we'd have gone open world, I think that would've watered it down. So I think that was one learning, in the fact that a lot of people think, nowadays, that open world's the way to go, and it's the next-gen thing -- I don't think I believe it is.
It's clearly right for some games, absolutely, but you can actually get a lot more in, at times, in more of a level-based [game].
You have to give a choice; it can't be just, "Do this, do this," you know. And that's what we've done: We've built every level out to have lots of choice, and I think the thing that we're really pleased about is that, actually, the amount of choice in every level is just limited to your imagination. Which really plays in the movement, and the parkour elements that we talked about.