The pros and cons of Mirror’s Edge have been debated time and time again, but there hasn’t been much talk about its FOV.
In order to simulate a sans peripheral, stereoscopic view, FPS games tend to use a 90 degree window. The FOV in Mirror’s Edge, however, seems to be smaller. This might’ve been a result of wanting to achieve a more personal, zoomed-in feeling and a cleaner, flatter look (a smaller FOV tends to flatten the perspective of the projected image), but was it really necessary?
Now don’t get me wrong, DICE has created some really impressive visual effects in Mirror’s Edge. The motion blur, camera movement, body positioning and reactions, etc. were all a large jump ahead of the usual FPS fare where disembodied, chest-level cameras are a standard. Still, why shorten the FOV? After all, it tends to exaggerate camera movement which can lead to motion sickness, something that DICE had battled throughout the game’s development.
I myself never got motion sickness playing Mirror’s Edge, but the FOV still bugged me. Why? Well, at times it made everything seem too cramped up. Now this isn’t really noticable when overlooking a large vista, but it becomes quite apparent in tight hallways or in areas without an expansive view of the horizon. In a game that’s supposed to embody the spirit of parkour, it often caused me to feel boxed in and not adequately aware of my surroundings — probably not the sensation DICE intended.
Also — and this is completely unrelated — more of the music in Mirror’s Edge should’ve been as good as the title theme.
All sorts of entertainment media use the concept of secrets to add intrigue and evoke a powerful emotional reaction. A strong effect of unveiling a secret can be the validation of the observer’s perceptiveness and reasoning; a wink wink, nudge nudge for being such a smart cookie.
However, most forms of media tend to be strictly passive. Aside from the occasional dabbling in interaction, the audience exerts no direct influence over the medium’s content.
Games — and videogames in particular – are inherently different. They are interactive and require players, not just observers.
Now let’s apply this denotation to design in videogames.