Warframe: Nintendo Switch, expansions, and everything else that happened at TennoCon 2018
Last weekend, Warframe developer Digital Extremes hosted the 2018 edition of its annual TennoCon convention, a convention that’s entirely dedicated to Warframe and its large fan following. Since its launch in 2013, Warframe has slowly evolved from a small-scale co-op shooter into one of the most popular F2P games to date, and that popularity is bolstered by the fact that it can currently be played on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. However, during TennoCon 2018, Digital Extremes made a number of new announcements regarding Warframe, including the reveal of two upcoming expansions and how the game will soon be coming to yet another platform.
The Fortuna Expansion
Sometime in late 2018, Warframe will be receiving a massive free expansion called Fortuna that will build on the systems from last year’s Plains of Eidolon update. Plains of Eidolon was significant because it introduced Warframe’s first open-world outdoor region (Warframe is primarily a linear corridor-based experience), and Fortuna will be adding in the second such region, a new outdoor area on the planet Venus called Orb Vallis.
Fortuna will refer to an underground prison colony in Orb Vallis that houses a new friendly faction called the Solaris United, a race of cyborgs who seek to break free from their Corpus overlords. Players will get to explore the vast landscape of Orb Vallis in their bid to free the Solaris United, and Digital Extremes says that Orb Vallis will both be much bigger than the Plains of Eidolon’s five square kilometer size (about five times bigger), and will feature more diverse landscapes and flora such as snowy mountains and giant mushrooms.
There will also be new robotic threats that players can encounter while exploring Orb Vallis, including massive bug-like robots that will require more than one player to take down. Of course, if a player grows tired of hunting and fighting the region’s more hostile denizens, Orb Vallis will also support the same non-combat activities found in the Plains of Eidolon (fishing, mining, etc.), and will even add in a new activity wherein players can use customizable lures to tranquilize and safely extract endangered wildlife on behalf of the Solaris United.
As you might have noticed in the above Fortuna trailer, the expansion will also introduce a brand new traversal method: rideable hoverboards. According to Digital Extremes, players will be able to use both the new hoverboards (called Bondi K-Drives in the game’s lore) and the standard Archwing flightsuits while exploring Orb Vallis. And yes, you’ll be able to perform various tricks like 360 spins and backflips while riding a K-Drive. Like virtually everything else in Warframe, the K-Drives will be highly customizable, with players able to unlock a variety of board styles, colors, and underside graphics among other things.
A second expansion, titled Codename: Railjack, is set to arrive sometime in early 2019, and it will introduce a brand new game mode that ties into the new Fortuna content. Once Railjack is live, a group of players will be able to seamlessly board a large carrier-style ship while on the surface of Orb Vallis and then ride it up into space where they’ll engage AI-controlled enemy fighters and capital ships.
Similar to the popular indie game FTL, each player will be put in charge of a specific ship component. So, for example, one player will be in charge of piloting, another will be able to divert resources to different systems (such as thrusters for speed or shields for damage absorption), and yet another will man the ship’s gun turrets. Players will also be able to jettison from the ship and engage enemies in Archwing combat, and they’ll even be able to board enemy capital ships and sabotage them from within.
Two New Warframes
Digital Extremes made sure to mention that, much like virtually every previous Warframe update before them, Fortuna and Codename: Railjack will each introduce a new playable Warframe (referring to the various character archetypes players can unlock and use), which means fans have two new Warframe models to look forward to. Sadly, Digital Extremes wasn’t quite ready to reveal the new Warframes entirely, but fans were still excited by the prospect that two entirely new and unique frames are nonetheless on the way.
A Nintendo Switch Port
Finally, it was announced that Warframe is coming to Nintendo Switch. The Switch version doesn’t yet have a release date, but Digital Extremes did confirm that it is collaborating with fellow game developer Panic Button in developing the port. In the past Panic Button has helped in porting several other high-profile games, including Wolfenstein II, Doom, and Rocket League, to the Switch, so it sounds like Warframe is in good hands.
Much like Warframe’s other versions, the Switch port will be F2P, though it’s not yet clear whether existing players will be able to transfer their progress over from one of the currently available versions. Players who started on PC can do a one-time transfer of their progress over to either the Xbox One or PS4 version, so one could reasonably assume that a similar feature would be offered for the Switch port. However, just to be safe, existing players might want to wait until Digital Extremes makes a final ruling.