Mirrors Edge 2 to use Battlefield 3 Engine?

Footage of the Frostbite 2.0 engine has recently surfaced, demonstrating the technology behind upcoming tactical FPS Battlefield 3 and part of the video demo shows a scene bearing an uncanny similarity to the art style of Mirrors Edge:

Frostbite 2 Engine

Mirrors Edge

The screens show a similar colour palette, with the original Mirrors Edge’s trademark stark red tone and distinct radiosity, particularly in the wall textures but that’s not all that’s similar.

Take a look at the white barrel in the screenshot then compare it with one from Mirrors Edge. The rings around the barrels are an almost perfect match:

The fact that both Battlefield 3 and Mirrors Edge are being developed by DICE adds weight to the theory since a game developer would most likely want to make the most of a brand new proprietary engine.

However at this point not much is know about a Mirrors Edge sequel. Last year, executive producer at DICE Karl-Magnus Trodesson said:

“I can’t really comment on that because we haven’t officially announced that we’re working on it”, adding: “But we were very happy and proud of Mirror’s Edge one as a studio, so we are thinking about what we are going to do in the future” and other than this nothing is known about the project.

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Has EA snuck Bad Company 2’s Vietnam Expansion Pack onto Consoles?

PS3 owners hoping to play a few quick rounds of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 may be surprised to be greeted by a mandatory update a whopping 1752Mb in size.

On the official Battlefield Blog, EA explains the mammoth size as being “in preparation for our upcoming VIP Map Pack 7 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam” and offers a “complete list of fixes” which are:

– Acog and Red dot scope now equippable on MK-14 and G3.

– Fixed a bug on PC where the G3 would do less damage than intended.

– Reduced VADS push back and damage to balance it with the ZU23.

– Fixed a bug where Vehicle Countermeasures would fail to remove tracer darts at high speed.

– Reduced the reload time for Vehicle Countermeasures.

– Slightly increased the AT4’s damage vs armor to emphasize its anti vehicle role while keeping it balanced vs armor.

– Increased the AT4’s top speed and acceleration so users spend less time exposed when firing.

– Increased the AT4’s splash damage so it competes with other AT weapons vs infantry. The AT4 still has the least splash damage of all AT weapons.

– Reduced the splash damage of the Carl Gustav to bring it in line with other explosive weapons. The Carl Gustav still has the most splash damage of all AT weapons.

– Increased the 1 shot kill range of the M95 body shot to counter its lower rate of fire.

– Fixed a bug with the SVU that gave it better close range damage than other semi auto weapons.

– Reduced all weapon damage to the MCOM by 50%.

– Fixed a C4 vs MCOM exploit on Atacama Desert.

– Fixed a bug with FOV when aiming the M1911.

– Lowered the close range damage of the AN94 to highlight its long range role.

– Increased the accuracy of the F2000 on the move to highlight its role as a mobile AR.

– Increased the close range damage of the shotguns to give them a greater advantage vs slugs.

– Slightly lowered the damage of the M60 to balance its accuracy advantage vs other LMGs.

– Slightly lowered the damage of the MG3 at close range to balance it with other high rate of fire weapons.

– Slightly increased the damage of the UH6

The list is obviously not complete and changes to benefit the release of a new map pack and the Vietnam expansion pack have evidently been left out of this list since it’s highly unlikely that 20 very simple and very minor changes to weapon and vehicle specifications would rack up a size close to 2 gigabytes of data, such patches are usually well under 100Mb.

It seems likely that EA have actually put in all, or at least a majority of the data required for the upcoming map pack as well as the Vietnam expansion pack, something which contains just 4 new maps, 6 new vehicles and 15 new weapons and would easily fit inside an update 1752Mb in size.

If this is the case, it means that when Bad Company 2: Vietnam is released, you’ll just be paying $15 to unlock content already existent on your hard drive, a practice that EA already have some experience of, with the actually content downloaded once purchasing Bad Company’s Onslaught mode being less than 1Mb in size. Gamers could also pay to unlock content in EA’s Tiger Woods 2007 that could easily be unlocked by playing through the game. A quick web search reveals hordes of gamers frustrated by this increasingly common practice, one which is not just utilised by EA.

It’s easy to see why this is done, paying for extra content and not having to wait for it to download is a lot more appealing than the alternative but then it’s also easy to see why the principle of paying for content you already possess can be irksome to gamers.

The Hypocrisy of the Medal of Honour Taliban Controversy

For those of you living under a massive rock, the latest incarnation of long-running first person shooter franchise Medal of Honour was released earlier this month to generally positive but few gushing-with-praise reviews and selling a hugely respectable 1.5 million copies worldwide in the first five days of release thanks largely to an extensive marketing campaign, no small feat for a reboot of an IP that has festered over the last few years.

However the release was overshadowed by possibly the largest video game controversy (that’s right another one) since Modern Warfare 2’s ‘how man holiday-goers can you shoot in the face?’ level. It seems that when you make a game that pitches you, as a member of the US army, against the Taliban, the logical decision to make the Taliban the playable opposing force in the multiplayer mode isn’t acceptable.

Fox News were typically ‘fair and balanced’ about the whole situation:

On top of this, UK defence secretary Liam Fox was quick to speak out and was quoted as saying:

“It’s shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban. At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands. I am disgusted and angry. It’s hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game. I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product.”

Canadian defence minister Peter Mackay was quick to read the minds of all 30 million people in his country:

“I find it wrong to have anyone, children in particular, playing the role of the Taliban. I’m sure most Canadians are uncomfortable and angry about this.”

Putting aside the obvious fact that in his country it’s the ESRB that is responsible for the T rating that the game has earned which enables ‘children’ to play the game, not Electronic Arts, the whole controversy over the matter is a shameless hypocrisy for two very simple reasons:

1. It was seemingly fine to play as a Nazi in the previous Medal of Honour Games

That’s right, all previous incarnations of the series which pitted the player against the Nazis have featured multiplayer modes that let you take control of members of a political group responsible for the deaths of:

  • 6 million Jews
  • 2 million Soviet prisoners of war
  • 2 million poles
  • 250,000 disabled people
  • 200,000 gypsies
  • 15,000  homosexuals

Granted, none of the games were as callous as to let the player take part in any of this but the newest game doesn’t let you kill any civilians either, instead it simply focuses on the conflict between the US army and the Taliban, or at least it did until the developers caved in to pressure and renamed them the ‘opposing force’.

EA representative Amanda Taggart was quick to point out the logical necessity of having the Taliban in the multiplayer mode, just like the Nazis in the previous games were also a necessity, saying:

“If someone’s the cop, someone’s gotta be the robber, someone’s gotta be the pirate and someone’s gotta be the alien.”

It’s true that the war against the Taliban is still ongoing whereas the war against the Nazi party has long been over, although fringe groups still exist, but anyone who compared the Taliban with the Nazi party would certainly agree that the latter ‘s actions were by far more devastating and immoral than anything the Taliban has ever done. And despite the fact that the Nazi party was disbanded a long time ago, most of the criticisms about the latest Medal of Honour game don’t stem from the fact that the Taliban are still active, but more that they’re responsible for the deaths of many citizens from the Western countries that are criticising the game, a charge that can also be pointed at the Nazis.

All of which brings me nicely onto the second reason why the controversy is hypocritical:

2.The forces fighting the Taliban aren’t beyond moral criticism.

The War in Afghanistan, as well as being condemned as illegal by many, has also seen the estimated deaths of between 8,991 and 28,583 civilians killed as a result of US led military actions, far exceeding the civilian casualties enacted on the West by the Taliban.

In addition to this there is a vast array of documented civil rights abuses, from the illegal detentions in Guantanamo Bay to the beating to death of an innocent taxi driver at Bagram Air Base, actions widely condemned by human rights groups from across the globe.

Without wanting to enter a drawn out political debate about the necessity of the War in Afghanistan, the civil rights abuses and the collateral damage incurred as a result, it seems that it wouldn’t exactly be unthinkable for some people to claim that of the two forces playable in the multiplayer mode of Medal of Honour, both sides are at least equally morally repugnant. There’s no denying that the Taliban is a terrorist group responsible for atrocities, but then again the US and indeed to other countries in the coalition have, in instances, been as reprehensible and I’m sure that many gamers in Afghanistan would be equally as offended by the prospect of playing a game as a soldier from the same army that has invaded their country.