Warframe is a free-to-play cooperative third-person shooter developed by Digital Extremes. In Warframe, you take on the role of the Tenno, an ancient race that finds their self at war with other factions. The game is very multiplayer focused as you team up with friends to complete raids, travel the solar system, and gather components to complete new Warframes and weapons.
With the upcoming update, Plains of Eidolon, fans have been anticipating a big change in the game that has never been seen in the 5 year span of the games history. The update is bringing the first open-world setting to Warframe. Players will have the opportunity to travel the Plains of Eidolon with friends, exploring and grouping up to defeat their enemies and discovering some mysteries along the way. See the Teaser Trailer below.
We had the pleasure to sit down and speak with the Live Operations & Community Producer at Digital Extremes, Rebecca Ford, to talk about the upcoming update and some surprises players can look forward to.
(Sick Critic) For those who aren’t familiar with the series or veterans who haven’t looked into the upcoming PoE update, can you give a brief overview of what is coming with this update?
(Rebecca Ford) “As far as Warframe goes, this is a 5-year-old free to play game that we continuously update. It’s basically space Ninjas, so you have your power suit and we are expanding in a way that I don’t think anyone ever thought possible, that we are adding an open game play zone. This is not the maze-like structure you are used to in our corridor shooter, this is open and it’s free and yours to explore”.
(SC) Plains of Eidolon is going to be the first Open-World portion of Warframe. Why did you all decide to switch gears when Warframe has been more of a closed off environment.
(RF) “It is essential for us to switch gears. Warframe is a kind of game that you can spend a lot of time in and becomes a routine, and you love it. It always feels fun and god like, but you always need to be changing the big picture. We have learned in our development history, if you stagnate you kind of die as a game, so we have had to pivot dramatically in the course of our development cycle. This is the next big pivot that we knew was going to be the most work for us. We had the most hope that players would see our vision, and it has matched up very harmoniously that our players have never been more excited for anything in Warframes’ history”.
(SC) Do you guys plan to bring more open world environments to the game, or is this just a chance to try and feel it out?
(RF) “The reaction the second we announced it sort of solidified in our mind that this is a future content type we have to connect to. Once this releases we are hopefully going to see the hype materialize with people coming and celebrating it. We already have in the back of our minds ideas for the next environment, but all of the focus on actual functional development is happening right now to make this go live”.
(SC) Landscapes seem to be a cool new feature coming to the game with towns of NPC’s with unique stories and quests. Will these NPC’s be strictly for Mission purposes or will there be other ways to interact with them?
(RF) “What we are doing in this particular case is largely mission based, but we had this idea with Warframe a couple years ago, of Syndicate. This is very similar to gaining standing with someone to get cool stuff, if they like you. So it’s sort of like a positive and negative reputation system. And we want to apply that to this town overall, with no negative reputation. You are never going to do anything to upset the townspeople, you are only going to gain prominence in that town. That town as a whole is working together and by helping any towns person, you are contributing positively to that standing. You are turning the entire town into an organized group that you can benefit in any way. Whether it’s feeding them fish or bringing them materials, that is a net positive for you with this particular group of people”.
(SC) I did notice the whole spear fishing thing that is coming to the game. Do you want to talk a little about that?
(RF) “Oh my gosh, so that started as a joke but it’s now real. We were like , what is an open area without fishing and then realized we could actually do it. We got the animations, we got the spear art and fish we could use and now we have turned it into an essential part of a resource system for the open area. Typically in Warframe you’re shooting a resource item or an enemy and getting something. In this particular case, now you’re interacting with that resource with gameplay. We’re also adding mining, so if you see a resource deposit on a rock you can extract it and use it in the future weapon system. It’s “mini games” galore”.
(SC) Speaking of new weapon systems, can you tell us a little about the new weapon customization system coming in the update?
(RF) “Yes! I have every weapon in the game so I’ve built them all, I’ve played them all, and I love them. When I was catching wind that we were going modular, one of our artists had the idea, and to me this is everything because of the modularity of it. It has your permutations. You have six blades, your six handles, your six weights, you can build it exactly how you want it. What that is going to do is allow you to experiment with it , and commit. The way we are going to implement it is you are going to experiment with all of the parts as a sort of trial level. Not in a monetization sense, but before you master the anvil blade you must use the wooden sword. Because there are so many options, we are going to let people do those trial versions but in the spirit of the town. So maybe they are made of bone or maybe they are made of something. If they like it, they can commit to it and build it out of the metal. You’ll have the whole world to experiment with and as you commit to them you’ll start earning it within the typical weapons system”.
(SC) This update will likely bring in a new influx of players to the community. How do you expect veterans to receive the expansion, and will there be any rewards for those players who have helped build that community?
(RF) “The veterans are going to access certain content that a new player can’t. The way that is going to manifest is through the night cycle. So, when you’re out on the plains like our character is here, walking through in the day time. Day time is for everyone, night time is for veterans only. When night time comes you’ll be getting barked at saying you are not ready for this, you need to go back into town, but if you are ready for it, which means you have done all of our cinematic quests and have built up a certain amount of systems, you can stay”.
(SC) That’s when the Dark Sentients come out?
(RF) “Yes, the Eidolons. That is when they come out, at night. That is how we are going to kind of block it off”.
(SC) With regards to missions, how will players group up to take on this open world?
(RF) “Each open zone sessions is instanced to a group. So, you form up typically before you go out. like right now on Warframe if you are in your own ship, who do you want to come with you? So, you invite them and you go play. That’s how it’s going to be as well. You’ll meet up with them in the town or a match making setting ahead of time, and then you access the Plains of Eidolon.”.
(SC) Do you expect to continually release large updates like Plains of Eidolon in the coming years, especially if this one is received well by the player base?
(RF) “Oh yes, that is our way. It is the DE way. It is to push out updates that are just risks, with crazy innovation or that are just fallish, and hope that this is what the player wants at this time”.
With all of these major changes to the game coming, players should have a lot to look forward to. Whether you are new to Warframe or a veteran to the series, you will have plenty of fresh content to sink your teeth into.
Stay tuned for more exclusive news from PAX West 2017.