Thursday, April 23, 2009

AdVantage Point: Mirror's Edge (2008)

Give an idiot a scanner and a comic book, and let him to pick out all the advertisements for video games.
This is AdVantage Point -- a chance to document the winding timeline of comics/gaming history as it was canonized by the adverts. Musings, rantings, observations, advertisements.

From a series of games promoting established brands with anticipated install bases, to one of the most exciting new properties to emerge from this generation of consoles. Mirror's Edge marks one of the glaring downsides to being a gamer not ready to invest in a current console.

In the comics direct market, the presence of licensed video game properties continues to grow.
Prominent series exist for Street Fighter, Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Halo, World of Warcraft, and several others, including the exciting parkour future shock that Mirror's Edge represents.
The six issue series is published by DC imprint (subsidiary), Wildstorm, who are not connected to the famous DCU icons. With cartoon stylized artwork by Matthew Dow Smith, the action is overseen by writer from the game, Rhianna Pratchett, who has also worked on a handful of other game titles.

With this in mind, it's probably not surprising to learn that this double page advert comes from a DC comic book. I'm not entirely sure that the game hasn't been advertised by rival publishers, but you can assume that the presence of this dynamic double-page spread is the benefit of a deal between the cross promotional brands, playing in to the use of the license.

It's a great advert!
In stark contrast to the advertisement for TNA Impact! that focused on reiterating the personalities associated with the brand; Mirror's Edge offers something far more specific to the game itself.

Like most contemporary adverts, it lacks any kind of screenshot to preview the game, but by utilizing the same stunning CG featured in cover art for the game, we get a stylish image that does actually communicate most of what we need to know. The parkour-style running gameplay is pretty easily expressed through the dynamic image of lead-protagonist, Faith Connors, skirting the edge of a building, while enemies from the game appear across the two page expanse.

Really significant to the game itself, as well as it's promotion, are the clean lines, and ultra-modern stark colour palette that make Mirror's Edge instantly recognisable. It's a visual design sense that creates a brand for the game, consistent throughout all aspects, including the character, who is best glimpsed as legs and arms in the shifting aspect of the first-person view.
It's an aesthetic that speaks to a gamer like me, who really misses the Euro modern techno-pop aspects of the Playstation era. It's the kind of game that shares that immersive level of cool that the Wipeout series had, as much fun to experience and observe, as it is to play.

Of the six adverts featured so far in these laboured almost-daily features, this is probably my favourite.
As interesting as some of the others might be, this strikes me as the perfect balance between communication of the product, composition of the image, and sheer dynamism. Flipping through the pages of inked and coloured comic book artwork, this blindingly stark image with it's vivid reds pops exactly the way the game does. Everything you need to know to inform a purchase, is there.

The only regrets I have regarding Mirror's Edge are that this couldn't have been secured as a Sony-exclusive title that reinvigorated the Playstation brand and attitude. That, and that I don't have any of the currently available consoles (or a viable PC) to play this.

Has the cross-promotion of video games into comics paid any dividends?
Honestly, I don't know. There's been a suggestion that UDON's efforts with Street Fighter have found a market outside the direct comics business, but I don't know how accurate that is. Looking around 1up as I do occasionally, I certainly haven't encountered any awareness about these kinds of tie-ins, aside from occasional references in discussions about franchises.

Original Post:

No comments: