A change.org petition demanding for the removal of game critic Anita Sarkeesian’s role in the making of Mirror’s Edge — a first-person action-adventure platform game currently developed by EA’s Digital Illusions (DICE) — has reached over 30,000 supporters, and will likely reach its goal by day’s end. The petition was made on October 1st, 2014 after the story was originally covered in early January this year by major gaming news sites. An excerpt of the petition reads:
“Anita does not speak for gamers, female or otherwise, on the difficulty or appeal of games. She only offers personal insights catering to her own agenda. In fact, she went so far as to say that women needed a whole new “simplified” control set for this game, based on her personal experiences, passing them off as the opinion of the female gaming community.”
This comes almost one year after the first Mirror’s Edge writer & co-story designer Rhianna Pratchett (Tomb Raider, Heavenly Sword, Thief) stated on Twitter that she would not be returning to write for the second entry, which will be a reboot. Earlier in 2012, Rhianna also explained some of the challenges that went into creating the narrative for Mirror’s Edge in an interview with Actiontrip.
It’s really lovely that people care enough to ask whether I’m involved with Mirror’s Edge 2, but I’m not & wasn’t asked. (Cont’d)
— Rhianna Pratchett (@rhipratchett) January 7, 2014
Let’s face it ME1’s story didn’t review that great (for many reasons). So I consider myself a casualty of that development process. (cont’d) — Rhianna Pratchett (@rhipratchett) January 7, 2014
According to major site reviews, the original game received above average scores and was criticized for its narrative presentation. Some reviewers applauded the loose storyline but found that the animated cut scenes impeded on player immersion. Other reviews pointed out shortcomings with the combat system and player perspective. The lack of a multiplayer mode was also a point for some to consider. On top of these criticisms, development of the reboot was first halted by EA Executive VP Patrick Soderlund because the first game failed to meet sales expectations. Mirror’s Edge was formally introduced via a stunning trailer during E3 2013.
Anita Sarkeesian, a noted critic in the videogame industry, has made no mention of her role via her recent activity on her Twitter account @femfreq. Ms. Sarkeesian was accused of mentioning that Mirror’s Edge had a difficult control scheme, although a similar sentiment was given by EA VP of Mobile Gaming, Frank Gibeau. Both Twitter and Tumblr communities have voiced opinions regarding the petition, and Youtube personalities have broadcasted the petition for all to see. APGNation reached out to DICE and EA for comment — none has been received at the time of publication. In E3 2014, members of DICE were seen in a trailer discussing Mirror’s Edge and some of the ideas that went into its reformulation. Neither Anita nor any writers were featured in the trailer. Mirror’s Edge is slated for release sometime in 2016.
What are your thoughts on the petition and Anita Sarkeesian’s alleged involvement? Are you excited to experience the reboot of the famed parkour action-adventure game? We’ll be updating this story as more develops, so keep your eyes out for gaming news and events by following us on Twitter @APGNation!
UPDATE: EA has officially responded to the Change.org petition and stated that Anita Sarkeesian is not a part of the development for Mirror’s Edge.