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‘Warframe’ sister game ‘Soulframe’ — Everything we know

'Warframe' sister game 'Soulframe' — Everything we know
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Digital Extremes has been largely known as the “Warframe” studio since its signature game released in 2013. Today, that is changing.

The developer describes its new game “Soulframe” as less of a sequel and more of a sister to the online space ninja opus “Warframe”, which has spanned countless genres over ten years of updates. Steve Sinclair, who left his ten-year role as “Warframe” director to lead the new project, told The Washington Post that the game will share “Warframe’s” focus on cooperative player-environment combat and procedurally generated environments. but it will be “mirror universe version of ‘Warframe'”. “

This applies to the setting: “Warframe,” a unique, meat-mechanical spin on the sci-fi genre; “Soulframe” will be a weird look, befitting the fantasy. It will also apply to the game.

“Where ‘Warframe’ focuses on shooting, it focuses on melee,” Sinclair said. “Where Warframe is super fast and crazy high speed, this is going to be a lot slower and heavier. But it still has a lot of similarities to the genre we’re experiencing.”

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Even in the age of endlessly updated live service games, “Warframe” is a unique success story. Released in 2013 with little fanfare and moderately critical response, the game still found an audience after Digital Extremes added numerous ambitious updates to it and created Frankenstein’s beast of the online gaming world. Slowly but surely, a humble cooperative shooter has gained an emotional story, complex character progression systems, first-person murder mysteries, massive spaceships you can pilot with your friends. catchy musical numbers about labor rights, open world planets, hoverboarding (with cheats), pets, and fishing.

Fans have witnessed and helped shape many of these systems through development streams on Twitch since 2013. The result is a live service game driven by the whims of developers and players, with the question: “What’s the coolest thing we can do here?” at the center of countless decisions.

But no game is unlimited. Finally, developers need a blank slate. For Sinclair and company, “Soulframe” represents an opportunity to explore a familiar yet fresh limb and see where it takes them.

The world of “Soulframe” might be his most interesting character, as suggested. Inspired by works such as “Princess Mononoke” and “The NeverEnding Story”, the game will focus on themes of nature, restoration and adventure, particularly the clash between industry and nature. In service of this, the world will show its displeasure towards the players who occupy it.

“Concept [in ‘Soulframe’] “The world is a little angry about what’s been done to it, and the ground beneath it tends to change throughout the day,” said creative director Geoff Crookes. “So there will be proceduralism within cave networks and crevices at the bottom of the earth.”

The hub world, meanwhile, will be open, similar to “Warframe’s” recently added open-world planets rather than the initial establishment of corridors and space stations. Crookes wants “Soulframe” to focus on exploration that “Warframe” never had – to make players feel more alive every moment.

“I’m after the ‘short session but high immersion’ thing where you sign in and leave the dorm and where you last signed,” he said, “but it feels like the world goes on without you.”

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Combat will be slow-paced and melee-focused – and the name of the game is literally “Seoulframe” — Sinclair and Crookes stressed that From Software is not trying to make a game in the vein of the genre-leading Souls franchise, which includes the 2022 megahit “Elden Ring.” More precisely, they did not enter the project with this in mind.

“I don’t think there was any inspiration for initial ideas or what we wanted to do,” Sinclair said. Said. “Ironically, other titles borrowed from ‘Warframe’ could have been some sort of counter-effect. But ‘Elden Ring’ has definitely been a topic. Some talk – maybe it’s about the camera, maybe it’s about how excellent the combat speeds are. And you know, fuck those guys, cause damn it [‘Elden Ring’] It was absolutely great.”

Sinclair and Crookes weren’t ready to discuss the precise details that distinguish “Soulframe’s” melee combat from Souls games, and there’s good reason for that: “Soulframe” is still very early in development. Basic concepts for the game started floating around Digital Extremes in 2019, but until this February, only a very small team – largely artists – was dedicated to working on it.

So why are you announcing it now when there’s not much to show from the game? Sinclair has admitted that it becomes a “meme” when companies reveal games with vague CG trailers and few concrete details, but above all she wants to be frank with gamers.

“Our work has been extremely community driven,” Sinclair said. Said. “It seems dishonest not to say [players] about changes and who runs ‘Warframe’. It’s actually too early to announce ‘Soulframe’! But we tend to be much more open than most studios in terms of transparency and making sure they understand how we think.”

But Sinclair and Crookes don’t plan to announce “Soulframe” and then retreat to a quiet development lab of all-metal bars and colored windows. After finding success with regular “Warframe” behind-the-scenes Twitch streams, they plan to give fans a peek behind the scenes of “Soulframe” as soon as possible. Ideally, this process will begin as soon as possible, with Digital Extremes die-hards playing a version of “Soulframe” within a year.

“What we want to try is to do something akin to ‘Warframe’, namely, ‘Hey, watch us play the game and take the rough parts and tell us how you feel,’ Sinclair said.

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That strategy might not sound like it at such an early stage, but Sinclair believes it’s not far from what Digital Extremes did with “Warframe,” which is now a completely unrecognizable game compared to its launch release.

“Doing it is like exploring it at the same time,” Sinclair said. “In my mind, it’s like, if it doesn’t work, just keep going until you die or work. There are a lot of things in ‘Warframe’ like miserable failures from a design perspective. And we just said, ‘Okay, well, we’re not going to do that anymore.’ Just fix it and rebuild. do it.’

“It’s tiring and difficult. You get what someone makes a spreadsheet of promises you don’t keep. But I think with ‘Warframe’ we were able to champion some people. [of the game] by talking to them less cautiously, less polishedly.”

Sinclair also chose this moment to announce “Soulframe” because “Warframe” is about to receive a new open world expansion “The Duviri Paradox” and wants to show that the game is in good hands.

“At Warframe ten years, all the people in leadership positions were there for 10 years, there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for other people to take on leadership roles,” he said. “I wanted to get a little off the road and get some new ideas – a chance to stretch a little for the next generation of our great team.”

However, after all these years on the project, letting Sinclair and Crookes go hasn’t been easy.

“It feels like the first time you leave the house. It’s exciting, but also a little bittersweet,” said Crookes. “Even though we broke up, I can’t see us ignoring ‘Warframe’ completely.”

“We’ve already slapped our hands a few times,” Sinclair said with a laugh. “I couldn’t help myself to intervene and that created some conflict.”

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