This applies to setting: “Warframe” is a unique, flesh-mech-powered spin on the sci-fi genre; “Soulframe” will be a suitably strange take on fantasy. It’ll also apply to gameplay.
“Where ‘Warframe’ is focused on shooting, this one’s focused on melee,” Sinclair said. “Where ‘Warframe’ is super fast and crazy high-speed, this one’s going to be a lot more slow and heavy. But it still has a lot of similarities to the genre that we have experience in.”
Even in the era of endlessly updated live service games, “Warframe” is a unique success story. Launched in 2013 to little fanfare and middling critical reception, the game nonetheless found an audience after Digital Extremes stitched numerous ambitious updates into it, creating the Frankenstein’s monster of the online gaming world. Slowly but surely, a humble cooperative shooter gained an emotional storyline, complex character progression systems, first-person murder mysteries, enormous spaceships you can pilot with friends, catchy musical numbers about labor rights, open-world planets, hoverboarding (with tricks), pets and fishing.
Fans have been able to witness and help shape the creation of many of these systems via development streams on Twitch that have also run since 2013. The result is a live service game guided by the whims of developers and players alike, with the question, “What’s the coolest possible thing we could do here?” at the heart of countless decisions.
But no game is limitless. Eventually, developers need a blank slate. For Sinclair and company, “Soulframe” represents an opportunity to go out on a familiar yet fresh limb and see where it takes them.
“Soulframe’s” world, as proposed, might be its most interesting character. The game will focus on themes of nature, restoration and adventure as inspired by works like “Princess Mononoke” and “The NeverEnding Story” — specifically, the collision between industry and nature. In service of that, the world will show its displeasure toward players who occupy it.
“The conceit [in ‘Soulframe’] is that the world itself is a little angry about what’s been done to it, and the grounds underneath tend to shift throughout the day,” said creative director Geoff Crookes. “So there’s going to be proceduralism within the cave networks and crevasses and so on underneath the world.”
The hub world,…