Electronic Arts and DICE have recently published a little interview with level artist Linnea Harrison, who’s currently working on Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. In this interview she talks about the creation of the incredible metropolis, where the new adventure of Faith take place.
Linnea underlined that the team is sticking with original art direction, building incredible big open environments rich in color. The color here is being used as a gameplay and navigation tool, showing where you can go and how to interact with the environment.
It’s interesting to learn how DICE approaches level design of such a huge and artistic games. Everything start with a rough blackout of the gameplay. The designers test it all, get the mechanics and the flow in place. Then come the level artists. They build the visuals, add details and try to fit this environment into the general structure of the world.
I’ve been busy on how we’re guiding the Mirror’s Edge Catalyst player using color. As you know, the bright and bold colors are part of what create the iconic look of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst, but they have other uses as well: we use color to help the player navigate from A to B in the city of Glass and to easily recognize what part of the city you’re in.
I work together with our level designers, who start out by creating a basic design for a fun, exciting part of the game. I take the structure they created and make it look and feel like the city of Glass by adding materials, props, and of course the iconic colors.
These materials and props can be things like pipes that Faith swings and climbs on, and it’s my job to make them identifiable and fit in well in all environments. Working with different materials also helps define areas of the city. The fancy areas will look glossy and exclusive while the slightly older districts will have concrete and matte materials.
Building Art of Mirror’s Edge
The original Mirror’s Edge had a very strong art direction which largely informs the style of Catalyst. This allows us as artists to create a cohesive world for the player to explore, while expanding on the depth of the first game. Since Mirror’s Edge is so different from other art styles in games these days –realistic but also heavily stylized – that allows for a lot of creativity.
I’ve always wanted to create the kind of art style you see in the city of Glass, even in personal art projects. I like focusing on lighting to bounce bright colors onto large white surfaces, creating a warm space and a unique environment.
The Best Part of the Job
I would say being able to make a world come to life. That is a really cool feeling, partly due to the fact that initially you can’t quite see where you’ll end up. There are concepts and ideas, but as you start putting in props, lighting, and splashes of color to these grey blocks it all comes to life in a wonderfully weird way.
Be sure to check out Linnea’s portfolio for more cool images.
Special thanks to EA DICE for publishing this amazing look into the production of Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.
Linnea Harrison, EA DICE