Soulframe is the next game from Warframe developers Digital Extremes, and this new project inspired by Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke appears to be the “mirror universe version of Warframe” set in a fantasy world.
As reported by the Washington Post, Soulframe was announced during TennoCon 2022 and will be directed by Warframe Director Steve Sinclair, who is stepping down from his current role to bring this new adventure to life.
Soulframe is a free-to-play open-world adventure “heavily influenced by themes of nature, restoration, and exploration,” alongside works like Princess Mononoke and The NeverEnding Story. These inspirations will help the team build a world that is “the collision between industry and nature. In the service of that, the world will show their displeasure with the players who cast them.”
“The imagination [in ‘Soulframe’] is that the world itself is a little angry about what has been done to it, and the reasons underneath tend to shift throughout the day,” said creative director Geoff Crookes. “So there will be proceduralism within the cave networks and crevasses and so on under the world.”
The game is still in very early stages of development, but Sinclair notes that it will share Warframe’s focus on cooperative player-versus-environment combat and procedurally generated environments. Additionally, Soulframe will be an “appropriately odd take on fantasy” and will differ from Warframe’s “flesh-mech-driven spin on the sci-fi genre.”
The differences don’t end here either.
“Where ‘Warframe’ focuses on shooting, this one focuses on melee combat,” Sinclair said. “Where ‘Warframe’ is super fast and insanely fast, this one is going to be a lot slower and heavier. But it still has a lot of similarities with the genre we’re experienced in.”
Soulframe Official Movie Reveal Screenshots
Soulframe appears to have a very open hub world that will be similar to Warframe’s newer open-world planets, but will be more exploration-focused than its predecessor. The team also wants to make it “feel more alive for players moment by moment”.
Since the game is called Soulframe, it seems like Digital Extremes takes inspiration from FromSoftware’s Dark Souls or Elden Ring as well. However, that was not the original plan.
“I think it certainly doesn’t inspire the original ideas or what we wanted to do,” Sinclair said. “Ironically, other titles that might have borrowed from ‘Warframe’ might have been sort of a reverse influence. But ‘Elden Ring’ was definitely a talking point – maybe with the camera, maybe with how excellent their combat pace is. And you know fuck these guys ’cause damn [‘Elden Ring’] was absolutely fantastic.”
The “basic concepts” for Soulframe started floating around the studio in 2019, and as of February of that year only a very small team of mostly artists had been working on it. Why did Digital Extremes decide to announce the game now?
“Our work was extremely community-oriented,” Sinclair said. “It feels disingenuous not to say it [players] about changes and who runs ‘Warframe’. Actually, it’s way too early to announce ‘Soulframe’! But in terms of transparency and making sure they understand how we’re thinking, we tend to be a lot more open… than most studios.”
Sinclair and Crookes also said they don’t plan to remain silent for years like some games announced too soon do, and instead plan to give fans a “behind-the-scenes peek” as soon as possible. Additionally, “die-hard Digital Extremes can play a version of ‘Soulframe’ within a year.”
“We want to try to do it similar to Warframe, like, ‘Hey, watch us make the game and get your hands on the rough bits and let us know how you feel,'” he said Sinclair.
If you want to learn more about Soulframe, be sure to visit the game’s official website. While you have to solve a small puzzle to gain access, the site offers some pictures and a way to sign up for updates.
Not only can fans learn more about the game as new details are revealed, but they can also reserve their envoy’s title (display name in game) and receive the Eye of Alca item instantly when the game launches.
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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and further Pull out.