Digital Extremes has announced during TennoCon 2022 that it's started development on a whole new game. Titled Soulframe, the team led by former Warframe senior staff Jeff Ross and Steve Sinclair, is a fantasy title — drifting away from the sci-fi setting Warframe has established over the past seven years.
In their place, Rebecca Ford is taking over as lead creative director on Warframe. In an interview with us shortly before TennoCon, she took us through the change, as well as how she’s been secretly leading the team over the past six months.
“It's a lot. It's overwhelming, it's exciting. It's fundamentally something I didn't know I wanted to do. But now that I've been doing it for six months, I feel that I can take good care of Warframe. We've been in this really weird situation right now where no one knows, even though it's been happening for six months. The team at Digital Extremes wanted me to know that I wanted to do it. They didn't want to throw me to the wolf-frame, so to speak, and not give me a chance to say ‘whoa, this is not what I expected. That's not for me.'”In an press release sent out following the announcement, creative director on Soulframe Geoff Crookes writes: "With Soulframe’s worldbuilding and thematic elements, we are really looking to go back to our childhood favorites and pull inspiration from the elaborate fantasy worlds that we fell in love with growing up. Our team is really interested in this idea of nature and humanity colliding and we’ll be exploring a lot of those themes through our own lens while playing with ideas of restoration and exploration.”
In addition to the news of a new game being created in-house, Digital Extremes also announced that it's starting up indie-publishing support with Airship Syndicate — creators of Darksiders, Genesis and recently, Ruined King: A League of Legends Story. The team at Airship also gave a teaser of their upcoming MMO project during TennoCon as part of the announcement, embedded below.
According to Ford, Digital Extremes is open to assisting in the creation of any genre of game, not just MMOs like Warframe, Soulframe, and Airship Syndicate’s upcoming title. “Honestly, it's just promising projects, and a studio that is proud of their vision and wants to do it the right way.”
For those up to date with the history of Digital Extremes, this is certainly a reversal of fates compared to the position they found themselves in with Warframe’s launch in 2013. Back then, the game was a last ditch attempt to save the studio (brilliantly recorded in the No Clip documentary on the studio). Thankfully, it appears Warframe’s success has put the studio in a position to branch out to other projects.
“Honestly, it's almost more pressure, because now you have a success story to compare yourself with,” says Ford. “It's a different flavour of pressure. It's like getting off the roller coaster and into a skydive. At this time we’ve got people who are saying goodbye to Warframe. Like Steve, he's worked here for 25 years! Also, in a lot of regards, so have Scott and Geoff. Maybe they thought Warframe was the last thing they were going to do, and they could leave and say we did it, we did what we wanted to do."
“But now they get another chance, and DE gets a chance to enter the fantasy genre. So it's really more of a can we do fantasy, and how do we use the lessons learned from Warframe with their experience to apply it to a different genre? They were comfortable enough with the idea that I would lead Warframe with the team. You know, we have Pablo, and Megan, and a whole bunch of other folks behind the scenes. Some people know, some don't, and they trust us. So I trust them to do fantasy well, and they trust us to keep Warframe going and do a good job and make them proud.”
For more info on the latest TennoCon announcements, check out our interviews with Rebecca Ford on The Duviri Paradox, as well as the Velibreaker update coming to Warframe!