If you have played Mirror’s Edge (2008), you have probably noticed the presence of many rats throughout the game. This page is dedicated to these creatures.
Let’s start with an interview of Tom Farrer (Producer EA/DICE) by PixelatedGeek.com, who explains the origin of this idea of placing that many rats in the game:
Tom Farrer: The rats are an odd joke that grew as we were making the game. It started with one of the level designers adding a rat that gets hit by a sniper on one of the levels for a joke. After that we had all manner of rat related things appearing in the game, rat suicides, giant rats hiding around corners, giant rats running down the street, flying rats, pet rats, the list goes on. Most of them were removed before we released the game but a few still live on. At our launch party we even hid fake rats around the venue and had a “find the rat” competition. It’s all a bit strange…
So we see that it started as a joke between developpers. That said, when Mirror’s Edge was released, the fans started to look for all the rats and discuss their presence which could be more than a simple prank.
There are three types of rats in Mirror’s Edge:
- simple rats, they are only here to add some life to the environment
- rats that die in front of you, to warn you about the danger
- "Easter egg" rats
You can find them in almost all the chapters, and as said before, they are just here to add some life to the city. They usually flee when you get close and they disappear behind boxes or in dark corners.
Rats that die
In this adventure, you will face many dangers, and sometimes rats will "commit suicide" in frond of you, to tell you about these dangers.
At the beginning of chapters "Flight" and "Ropeburn", rats get electrocuted by electric fences.
In the chapter "Jacknife", a rat gets shot by a sniper.
"Easter egg" rats
The first special rat of the game has a name: Scruffy. It’s also the only rat to be white and in a cage. All the other rats are grey and live freely in the city. Scruffy is part of the Janitor‘s life (a page will be dedicated to him later). We don’t know much about this man but he seems to have some kind of importance.
To see Scruffy, start chapter "Ropeburn". At some point, you will arrive in a maintenance area and you have to climb up to reach a button in the janitor’s office. The rat is in this office, in a white cage on the ground.
On the board, there is also a note saying (with a big typo): "Rember: FEED SCRUFFY!"
It is just a speculation but Scruffy could be a reference to the TV show "Futurama". In this show, there’s a very singular character that no one seems to remember, he always has to tell them "I’m Scruffy, the janitor".
There’s not much else to say about Scruffy but I invite you to read the janitor’s page because they are obviously connected.
The other uncommon rat is less easy to spot. In the chapter "Kate", after you leave the atrium, you eventually find the sniper rifle left by Kreeg. To see the rat, you have to shoot the van (as usual) and then shoot a precise spot: where the convoy turns at the end of the street in front of you, there are several ads posters on a wall. One of them contains nine white circles on an orange background. You have to shoot the middle circle. You can wait until the van crashes to do so.
After those two shots, you should see a giant rat running down the road, following the same path as the convoy.
It’s the only giant rat left in the final version of the game (see Tom Farrer’s interview at the beginning of the page).
In chapter "Pirandello/Kruger", after a big fall in a yellow stairwell, you get into an orange room full of SWATs shooting at you. If you get rid of them and take some time to look around, you will see several offices: at ground level and at level one. In the ground level’s office, there is a phone on the wall which contains the following voicemail: "Hi. This is Mr Johannsen from Pleasant Pest Removal confirming our appointment at 11. You’ve got some mighty big rats from the sound of it. See you then!"
One of the many mysteries of Pirandello/Kruger, but it shows us that in the end, this private security company is not that reliable if their buildings are infested with rats (which could be a metaphor for the Runners, see conclusion below).
In chapter "Kate", when you reach the top of the atrium and get into the vents, you can hear some voices. The first time, a man says: "Jesus, the rats are getting bigger here!". Then, a bit later, the same man seems to be talking with another one:
– "This fugitive news never stops, where’s the interesting news?"
– "Define interesting."
– "Aliens. Aliens are always interesting."
The monologue clearly is a reference to rats, but not the dialogue (which makes no sense by the way).
We saw that on one side, we have the developpers who added rats to the game as part of a joke, but on the other side, the fans have discussed a lot about why these creatures are present, especially in such a clean, almost clinical city. Some think that they are a metaphor showing that even if the government seems all-knowing and powerful, there are still creatures that manage to live in the dark, out of this system, and in a way it is similar to the Runners and could mean that some day, this fake “pure society” could fall…