You know, this was originally what I was supposed to post when I finished walking home sixish hours ago. And crap there's a ham that needs to be put away before I go to bed.
Anyway, massive spoiler's for Mirror's Edge, and first post on this concept is here.
So, as I've said, more beginning, and no reason for there not to be plot in that beginning. Also some kind of conversation system, so that you can convince people not to do things they do in the standard story (like telling Merc to get out when it's obvious his position is compromised and completely unsafe), and generally interact with people on occasion.
I also think that it would be a good idea to have a way (probably pretty damned hard) to avert Pope's assassination just because that's such a vital part of the plot that seeing how things spin out in different directions without it should be very interesting.
But what I was thinking about on the walk home started with the scene in Mirror's Edge that started with Pope's assassination.
He's dead, you're talking to your sister, I think there should be a way to convince her to run with you because:
1) Why not?
2) It both restricts and expands what you can do. A two person team would be able to get to places a single person couldn't, so new areas would open up to you, but at the same time Kate isn't a runner so she couldn't be counted on to do all the things that you do which would close off paths that would be open without her.
3) The plot spins off in a different direction and that's a big part of what this game would be about, the player makes a decision and it changes things.
But, carry on with the standard escape except make the enemies more realistic to the plot. In the game they're all PK, who will tell you, "Halt or we will open fire," but in fact will open fire regardless. In reality all available units were called in because the assassination of one of the four candidates for Mayor of what seems to be either a semi autonomous city or an outright city state (meaning it's more like the assassination of a presidential candidate) is the biggest crime that's happened in, like, ever. And sudden valley girl accent aside no matter how PK tried to set things up there's no way there wouldn't be actual police included when all available units were called in.
So there should be CPF there. In the game there isn't, but there should be. And when it comes to the CPF, "Halt or we will open fire," should mean, "If you don't halt we won't open fire." Which means being captured, which means being interrogated.
And then there's all sorts of opportunities. Faith could take the blame for Kate, it's what Kate's boss was willing to pull a gun on Faith to do. If they arranged a deal, Kate gets the blame taken off in exchange for security lapses that allow Faith to escape then they could:
1) Clear the CPF, which was the entire reason for framing Kate.
2) Make PK look ineffectual since they're presumably the ones holding Kate and Faith.
Which would change the trend in the game of PK taking more and more power from the CPF using the scandal of Kate being the caught "assassin."
But it could also lead to Faith going to PK early, or Faith going to the Shard early. The city is wired for surveillance, cameras everywhere, everything tapped into, all non-runner supplied non-face to face communication monitored. There should be exonerating evidence, and the only way there wouldn't be is if the files were somehow deleted or they were refused to be released, both of which would send Faith to the Shard.
But rewind again. Say that Faith gets away as she does in the game, but rather than going to Jackknife she tries to break her sister out. Information later, free Kate now. Now she's breaking into a holding cell at a jail/police station/PK facility. Now this is changing things. New mission, different focus (no way Faith should be taking this head on, should be stealth and sneak) different style, different outcomes, different plot.
Rewind again. What if Faith is strengthening her association with Celeste, renewing their friendship since she got taken out of commission, telling her stories about how much Kate means to her and how she owes Kate for past mistakes, arguing the point on what constitutes living as opposed to surviving and gradually turning Cel to her side?
With the extended beginning and the interactive rather than prescripted conversations (well interactive prescripted conversations, I'm not advocating an AI conversation partner, just branches) there would be a lot of time to make Cel feel pretty damned attached to Faith and then if you follow the canon plotline to the Mall, maybe seeing a small army trying to kill Faith would flip her.
So much of the game is spent trying to find Pope's killer, what if she then gets Pope's killer on her side? Coming to her rescue even.
Consider the original Pink Panther movie. It really wasn't all that good and in truth the only one that mattered was Return of the Pink Panther, but think of the original. Why wasn't Clouseau in any danger at the end when he was convicted of being the Phantom? Because the Phantom would strike again. And when he did it would prove that he couldn't be Clouseau because Clouseau would be in prison or jail at the time.
Knowing how Cel was dressed for the assassination Merc or Faith probably have contacts who could leak to the police that there was someone dressed like that there, even make the argument that that was the suspect who got away.
If Faith could sneak in and talk to Kate she could have Kate give a description that matched that.
Then all they need to do is leak a little bit about Icarus (Cel's assassin garb is pretty clearly a modified project Icarus suit) to trusted members of the police, that would make them suspect PK (which honestly they probably already do) and then set up a second assassination attempt. There are, recall, two other challengers for Mayor left alive.
This would be even better if Faith could find an honest news crew to cover it. Have it work the same way, A CPF Guard seems to be alone with the Mayoral candidate, Cel in full assassin gear knocks the guard out and then is about to shoot the Mayoral candidate with the guard's gun when... well probably the smart thing would be for the gun to be empty, but either way CPF guards jump out, honest news crew, if there is one, is filming it from neighboring building with a telephoto lens.
Cel makes her getaway using a prearranged path she worked out with Faith.
It's proof that the CPF is being framed, Kate goes free, Cel was so covered up she hasn't implicated herself, and if any details of project Icarus were released PK is implicated in the Pope assassination.
When the game ends the corrupt Mayor is still Mayor, but PK is on the way down, legitimate forces of Law and order are on the way up, and the corrupt Mayor is probably under investigation for his relationship to PK since there are signs all over the city with his name right next to their logo, not to mention the fact they (apparently) were trying to take out his competitors to secure the election.
Completely different end to the game, very different plot, flows from what's already there.
Locate key junctures in the plot, see what other directions they could have gone in. Focus on running. Faith isn't a fighter. If she goes to the Shard early maybe she should walk in the front door as if she were taking a tour and then quietly slip into the ventilation system/maintenance corridors on an upper level.
Run and hide should be a primary strategy, with stand and fight being a secondary option used as a last resort, but most of all, make it feel like Faith matters. Her actions spiral out and change the world.
If she goes to Kate instead of Jackknife that changes things, If she surrenders instead of runs that changes things. If she flips Cel just by being a really good friend, that changes things. If she tells Merc to leave, that changes things. If she stays with Kate, that changes things. If she does X instead of Y that changes things.