Warframe Is Going Bigger and Bolder With Fortuna and Railjack Digital Extremes Is Planning Something Big

Warframe Is Going Bigger and Bolder With Fortuna and Railjack 4

Warframe is not content to maintain the status quo. Last year’s Plains of Eidolon expansion is an excellent example of that, as Digital Extremes shifted away from the tight corridors on alien bases and spaceships and embraced an open world for the first time ever. But where that update was a huge departure from what Warframe was at the time, the upcoming Fortuna and Codename: Railjack expansions are aiming to amplify the current experience in impressive and engaging ways.

Announced at TennoCon 2018 in London, Ontario, this past weekend, the Fortuna expansion will be the first of the two updates to launch, with a planned release for later this year. Ditching the rolling hills of Earth in the current open world area, Fortuna takes the action to blue and orange tinged landscape of Orb Vallis on Venus, where giant mushrooms tower over smaller fauna and mountains stretch out into the distance. Stated to be five times as big as Plains of Eidolon, it is much more vibrant and active at first glance, and nowhere is this more apparent than the expansions central location.

(EMBARGO DO NOT PUBLISH) Warframe Is Getting A New Open World, Hoverboards and Spaceship Combat In New Updates 1

Contrasting the alien landscape is the Debt-Internment Colony, a cyberpunk underground city that will serve as the hub area. Inside it reside the Solaris, a new race of part-human, part-robot people that fight back against the ruling Corpus overlords in a revolution called Solaris United. Warframe Senior Producer Dave Kudirka says that the move to Venus, and the introduction of the Solaris, was a deliberate attempt to separate Fortuna from what players saw in Plains of Eidolon.

“Venus is a huge contrast to Earth,” Kudirka tells me. “I think, obviously, all the things like Blade Runner and 70’s sci-fi inspired us. But we also had Cetus, which was kind of a village by the sea, they’re a peaceful fishing community. And we wanted to introduce a new civilization that was totally different.”

If the idea of kickstarting a revolution as an outsider sounds cliche, it helps that Warframe is deliberately setting its own tone for the proceedings. Our introduction to the demo consisted of a chain gang song, with workers moving in time with the beat. The reason why the Solaris are in debt to the Corpus is due to their need to sell off parts of their own bodies so they can eke out a living.

“For so many years [in Warframe] we were fighting the Grainier, the Corpus, the Infested,” Kudirka said. “But you didn’t really feel like anything was at stake. We’re all human. And are we protecting someone, or are we just assholes that raid ships? So this helps establish that, yes, we are the good guys and we’re really trying to help.”

As different as the setting is, Fortuna will play out similarly to Plains of Eidolon. You’ll venture out into the world to complete bounties and farm materials, the former of which can now be turned in outside of the city (the announcement of which sparked some of the biggest cheers I heard at TennoCon). While the current go-to transportation method in Warframe are Archwings, the brand new hoverboards will allow you to travel the landscape quickly on the ground while still being able to do sweet tricks.

But it’s also far more engaging than the earlier expansion. One of the new additions will also place you in the role of a conservationist, tracking down Venusian wildlife and collecting them so they don’t go extinct. To do that, you’ll have to use the appropriate lure and make the correct call in order to draw each animal out. You’ll create these noises through a mini-game, though Digital Extremes has not clarified how to actually do this. From there, it’s a waiting game as you hide and take aim with a tranquillizer rifle to bag and tag your targets. It’s weird at a glance, but it is certainly one of the most interesting additions to the game.

Similarly interesting, in the creepy oh-god-why-did-they-make-this kind of way, are the brand new enemy type: Spider Bots. They are exactly what they sound like – giant spiders that are a fusion of cybernetics and flesh. They range in size from that of a small dog to a three-story building with a machine gun attached to their underbellies. When I asked Kudirka about whether there were any arachnophobes on staff, he was willing to bet that there were likely a handful. If you’re one of those reading this, bless you for conquering your fears, because I’ll be exiting stage left.

But if Fortuna was the only update that Digital Extremes announced, then TennoCon attendees could have gone home perfectly satisfied, unaware of the grander vision that is being planned. Instead, the developers surprised everyone with the reveal of Railjack, a future update that will see Warframe dramatically move away from corridors and planets and into their own controllable spaceship. Up to four players can call a ship from orbit, board it, and more or less seamlessly rocket into space to engage with enemies that are holed away in their own frigates.

Warframe Is Going Bigger and Bolder With Fortuna and Railjack
Image provided by Digital Extremes

“It’s a little bit of loading screen hiding, but we wanted to capture the feeling of going to orbit from planetside seamlessly,” Kudirka said. “Once you’re in orbit, you can fly the ship, hop on the pilot controls, the side gunners, the command console, and so forth. So it is kind of a loading screen, but I imagine that whichever planets we put this on, there will be unique atmospheric effects and so forth.”

While the demo showcased entering orbit from Venus’ surface, Kudirka was mum on the details as to where else this feature will be available. I’d imagine that Earth would be a go-to location, considering that is where the other open world area is located. But regardless as to how many planets this feature will be available to use at launch, it is an impressive feature that shifts how Warframe can be played.

Dogfighting in Railjack isn’t just a straightforward affair either. While flying the ship, diverting power to the weapons and shields, and manning turrets is one of the primary methods of combat, both you and the enemy will have the ability to launch and board each other’s ships. In the demo, that meant fighting off a small Corpus raiding party before one player rocketed off to their command ship for some retribution. Fighting on the ship resembles the traditional Warframe combat we’ve come to know over the years, but it has the added twist that players who stay behind can also meaningfully contribute. Using the command module, a small map appears that shows the turrets, locked doors, and more aboard the opposing ship, which can then be activated or deactivated on command.

That meant watching an energy field disappear to allow the boarding party to advance forward. When it came time to scuttle it, the player in the command module fired a torpedo that resulted in a flurry of explosions, which their ally desperately ran through to escape. It felt cinematic to witness, and though we only saw the briefest of glimpses, it was more than enough to reinvigorate my excitement for the future of Warframe.

Warframe Is Going Bigger and Bolder With Fortuna and Railjack 2
Image provided by Digital Extremes

But as more and more is added to Warframe, the content hill that new players must climb is getting steeper and steeper. Talking to Kudirka, it’s clear that Digital Extremes are always looking back on the introductory experience, and may even revisit it later – though when that will happen is anyone’s guess.

“It’s always a balancing act,” Kurdirka said. “How do we serve the players who have been with us for years, who have maxed gear and need something different, and how do we serve new players coming in and welcome them to the game. And it’s tricky. I think now, after five years, that we’re confident in the amount of content that new players have to choose from. But we still lament that we don’t have a way to learn that organically because you go to the web or learn with your friends to figure it out.”

With these two announcements, Digital Extremes have a much longer roadmap for the future than they did before. Though Fortuna is set to launch sometime later this year, Railjack has no set date. Coupled with the brand new cinematic quest that was announced, The New War, along with two new frames for players to make use of, and there is enough content on the horizon to satisfy any fan. Warframe is a dramatically different game now than it was two years ago, and I can’t wait to see where it will be two years hence.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more by Preston Dosza like his reviews of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Dynasty Warriors 9 and why Monster Hunter World will succeed in the west!

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Warframe Is Getting A New Open World, Hoverboards and Spaceship Combat Hoverboards for Everyone

Warframe Is Getting A New Open World, Hoverboards and Spaceship Combat

Warframe‘s future updates will take players to a brand new open world zone on Venus and into the cockpit of a warship, Digital Extremes announced at TennoCon 2018.

The first update, Fortuna, will be similar to last years Plains of Eidolon release. Set on Venus in a large open-world area called The Orb Vallis, players will be tasked with assisting the new Solaris United faction as they fight back against the Corpus overlords on the planet. It looks distinct from Plains from the get go, as towering mushrooms and other fauna dominate a blue and orange tinged environment. There will also be a new hub city, much like Cetus on Earth, called Fortuna. It’s here that you’ll interact with the new faction, and pick up new missions and bounties. The entire area has a cyberpunk vibe that stands out from the rest of Warframe.

Warframe Is Getting A New Open World, Hoverboards and Spaceship Combat
Image provided by Digital Extremes

The Corpus themselves bring plenty of new weapons and technology to the fight as well. Corpus ground troopers will receive a number of new variants, but the strangest and most impressive new aspect are the new Spider Bot enemies. They are exactly what they sound like – giant cyborg spiders that come in different shapes and sizes that look like they pack a hell of a lot of punch.

More importantly, in my view, is the introduction of a new mode of transportation. Called the Bondi K-Drive, it is a hoverboard that will let you jet across landscapes with ease. They can even do tricks, if you’re interested in becoming the greatest pro hoverboarder in the system. You can see it in action in the image below:

Warframe Is Getting A New Open World, Hoverboards and Spaceship Combat
Image provided by Digital Extremes

Digital Extremes also surprised fans by announcing another expansion that will be released after Fortuna. Called Codename: Railjack, the update will allow for 1-4 players to ascend into space and take part in PvE combat in a warship. Players can take control of several different aspects of the ship, including manning turrets, piloting the ship, making repairs and even boarding enemy ships with Archwings.

Also shown off during the show were two upcoming Warframes, codenamed Revenant and Garuda. Revanant is an Eidolon themed frame that is ‘affliction’ and vampire themed. It has a passive lifesteal ability, and can also turn enemy minions into familiars. Garuda, meanwhile, is a raptor themed frame that ’emphasizes gore and playing with her prey’, and may potentially make use of the raptor-claws on her hands with her abilities.

No release date has been announced for either expansion, but stay tuned to CGMagazine for more coverage of WarframeFortuna and Codename: Railjack in the coming days.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out more by Preston Dosza like his reviews of BlazBlue: Cross Tag Battle, Dynasty Warriors 9 and why Monster Hunter World will succeed in the west!

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: FeMonster Hunter World Beta: the Insatiable NergiganteDissidia Final Fantasy NT,  Star Wars Battlefront IISonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

Never miss when new CGM articles go out by following us on Twitter and Facebook!

CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

TennoCon 2018 Date Has Been Announced: July 7, 2018

TennoCon 2018 Date Has Been Announced: July 7, 2018 1

Warframe’s yearly event, TennoCon 2018, finally received a date giving fans of the game reason to look up to Warframe’s future.

Announced during one of Warframe’s Devstreams, TennoCon 2018 is taking place in London, Ontario, Canada on July 7, 2018. Warframe’s Devstreams also released information on its TennoGen Round 11, which will include many varied skins for players to enjoy.

During last year’s TennoCon, Digital Extremes announced the vast plains of Eidolon for players to explore, along with many other additions. So far, there are few details available for TennoCon 2018, indicating that fans will have to check back with the Devstreams for further details. Currently, the TennoCon 2018 website is hyping up its fans with a second by second countdown.

Tickets for TenneCon 2018 are currently not available, but its countdown website offers a sign-up service that promises to alert users when tickets are made available for purchase. For your ease, this link will be available here. For those who rather watch TennoCon 2018, you may do on Warframe’s Twitch Channel.

Warframe is a third-person co-op adventure game, available free-to-play for all Windows, PS4, and Xbox One owners.


Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out Pedro D’avila’s findings on the Oscar nominees, and Skydance Media’s latest partnership with Tencent.

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Don’t forget to tune in every Friday the Pixels & Ink Podcast to hear the latest news, previews, and in-depth game discussions!

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CGMagazine is Canada’s premiere comics and gaming magazine. Subscribe today to get the best of CGM delivered right to your door! Never miss when a new issue goes live by subscribing to our newsletter! Signing up gives you exclusive entry into our contest pool. Sign up once, you’ll have a chance to win! Sign up today!

Tennocon and Warframe – Where they’ll go from here

Tennocon and Warframe – Where they'll go from here 21

London, Ontario isn’t the first place I’d think to travel to for a convention. Local affairs are common, but they’re rarely worthy of bringing in international traffic. It’s also strange to have a convention for one single video game, least of all a free-to-play shooter where the individual mission time averages five minutes. And yet TennoCon, the convention for fans and members of the Warframe community, does just that. Warframe has you play as the Tenno, far-future space ninjas who awaken into a post-human solar system.

Tennocon and Warframe – Where they'll go from here 17
TennoCon 2017 (via Warframe and Digital Extreme facebook.com/PlayWarframe)

The interior convention hall at TennoCon 2017 greets us with the haunting, drum-heavy music the game is known for, and the outer halls are decked out with banners depicted the titular Warframes. The inner rooms are dimly lit, walls lined in blue with orange lighting, and the screens of several standing tables with Warframe games for the visitors to play. Beanbag chairs lay scattered in front of a massive display where streamers play. The main room, with three screens and a main stage, is not quite filled, but the enthusiasm in the room is palpable. Cheers at the concept art of the new Operator gear, drawn by artist Keith Thompson, fill the room during the Art panel. The atmosphere is relaxed with spikes of enthusiasm at every reveal.

“Despite all the hate we see on the Internet, when you get to see them in it shows people that behind the keyboard we’re all human beings,” says Rob from A Gay Guy Plays, a YouTube personality who makes videos analyzing and reviewing Warframe‘s content.,

Rob was featured on a panel of YouTube personalities discussing the Warframe community and their involvement. Among those was Mogamu, one of the early streamers who was also at the previous year’s TennoCon (also the first). “It’s amazing,” he said, about the current convention. “The best con[vention] in 2017.”

Tennocon and Warframe – Where they'll go from here 15
TennoCon 2017 (via Warframe and Digital Extreme facebook.com/PlayWarframe)

The Plains of Eidolon announcement arouses cheers from the crowd as the Orokin tower is revealed—people are excited about the new direction Warframe is taking. The shooter has mostly been corridor-driven dungeon crawls up until now, and having spent four years with the same formula this new plan answers the question, “Where the game will go from here?”

“I wake up in terror at the thought that [Warframe] has become stagnant,” says Steve Sinclair, Creative Director. Warframe‘s been around for four years at this point, with most of the new content being new weapons and levels, the latter being largely the same format of winding narrow and modular pathways. (Sinclair mentions, “Earth is pretty much green corridors”). While Warframe is not losing those roots, games, even online ones, tend to show their age after a few years. Sinclair says that they went into 2017 looking to challenge that.

“At the beginning of the year, we really felt like we needed to get out of our comfort zone. It’s all new rendering tech, its visibility distances that are three or four times what we’re used to. It’s been a mad rush this year to say ‘let’s break our technology to create a more natural feel to the world of Warframe.’” This includes the game’s Evolution engine, used as far back as Dark Sector, the single-player spiritual antecedent of Warframe. “Even in Warframe‘s era, we’ve done great upgrades to the engine. We said, ‘let’s not rest on our laurels, let’s break and rebuild it.’ Plains of Eidolon is the extreme of this.”

Tennocon and Warframe – Where they'll go from here 11
TennoCon 2017 (via Warframe and Digital Extreme facebook.com/PlayWarframe)

He refers to the ultimate example of this being the Eidolons themselves—the remains of ancient robotic juggernauts that were destroyed at the foot of the golden tower, who rise at night to wreak havoc on all they see. Unlike the other foes in Warframe, which swarm against your lone space ninja, the Eidolons are the size of buildings and require all one’s skills and weapons to defeat. “We’ve never built a creature of that size before,” Sinclair says.

Warframe is certainly an eye-catching game, both in terms of graphics and the strange nature of the world and humanity in this distant future. The Orokin Towers—structures from an ancient era of even higher technology—reveal bleeding, oozing blubber beneath their white-and-gold exterior. Sinclair likens the Ostrong people who scavenge them to whalers. But it’s not only the towers that the Plains of Eidolon explore—it’s finally showing the civilians of the Warframe universe in more detail.

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TennoCon 2017 (via Warframe and Digital Extreme facebook.com/PlayWarframe)

Warframe has always relied on a minimalist storytelling, with many details kept hidden—the history and setting, for one, but also the world beyond the military factions and your martial characters. “Usually in Warframe we have the Lotus (your guide in Warframe) chatting with us, and it’s very quick and engaging, but people keep asking ‘who are we protecting, who are we saving?’” Sinclair hopes that the settlement of Cetus will expand on that further, as some of the previous stories have.

“We started out with ‘we’re gonna make ninjas and put them in space, and people won’t care,’” Sinclair says. “But at Tennocon, we’re talking with players with Keith Power, our composer, and they said ‘the Second Dream quest just blew my mind; they said it’s such an important part of my life, and that’s a story.’” The quest was the first to introduce players to their characters’ true origins and nature, and revealed much about whom they are playing as. The storytelling is going deeper, talking more about the people of Warframe, their motivations, and their interactions.

Tennocon and Warframe – Where they'll go from here 14
TennoCon 2017 (via Warframe and Digital Extreme facebook.com/PlayWarframe)

“I wanted to make it weird,” Sinclair says, “We’re trying to get off the beaten path. With Chains of Harrow we told a story of a child with Aspergers. We want to tell human stories, we want to really get out of the comfort zone, and we don’t want to just be James Cameron and Lucas ripoffs. Sci-fi really has a lot of that—we want to be weird.” He also mentions another story, Octavia’s Anthem, which deals with an artificial intelligence suffering from memory issues that he likens to Alzheimer’s.

“We’re trying to bring humanity into our wacky space sci-fi.”

Tennocon and Warframe – Where they'll go from here 3
TennoCon 2017 (via Warframe and Digital Extreme facebook.com/PlayWarframe)

TennoCon shows that Warframe has already taken hold of people’s hearts, with players cheering wildly at the promise of new expansions and directions. It’s popular and it’s well done, and the 2017 event shows that Digital Extremes plans to keep adding to it and take it in new directions, rather than just let it dwindle. Sinclair credits the fans as the key motivator to the developers’ enthusiasm.

“The people at TennoCon, they’ve been very kind and considerate, but I feel like they’re looking for a change.”

Warframe: Plains of Eidolon Brings A Larger, Living World

Plains of Eidolon Brings A larger, Different World

Warframe’s four years have let to the game expanding drastically, from the basic third-person action game where it started its open-beta life. Its nebulous state of revision and exploration has led to some drastic innovations (the new parkour system for mobility), and some unfortunate fumbles (the Dark Sectors competitive territory-wars). So when something as unexpected as the Plains of Eidolon rolls out in front of me, I tend to become concerned.

Read moreWarframe: Plains of Eidolon Brings A Larger, Living World

Warframe bring TennGen to Consoles

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Digital Extreme’s free-to-play multiplayer online third-person shooter Warframe is receiving a pretty in depth update on Sept 13, 201.  The Silver Grove update came out for PC in early Sept, and should be live on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One now. The update goes a long way to simplify and streamline some existing elements of the game, as well as bring TennGen to console players.

The Silver Grove promises a great deal of tweaks and improvements over a great deal of Warframe. In this update, Fusion gets a complete overhaul, allowing extraneous mods to be broken down into Endo, rather than having to fiddle with the Fusion cores of the past. Partial upgrades are also gone, and UI will plainly list how much Endo is required to achieve the next rank.

Apart from that, there are a slew of other additions. A new frame, a new quest, glyphs to tag the environment, and some improvements on the previously mentioned in-game eSport. Lunaro expands with a new map, the ability to guard while in possession and, of course, a pass button.

The Silver Grove will introduce console players to TennGen, a collection of cosmetic skins for their frame. The important thing about TennGen is that these skins are all user created. More importantly however, proceeds from the purchase of these skins will be split with the creators.

Warframe’s success shouldn’t be a surprise if you look at the support given to it by Digital Extremes. The game has no shortage of updates and add-ons, ranging from cosmetic skins to it’s own in-game competitive sport, Lunaro.

With an update like this, it’s pretty easy to see why Warframe has such staying power. The game initially released on the PC in 2013, and took its time before appearing on consoles. While fully featured AAA competitors have released and fizzled (games like Destiny and The Division have waning popularity)  this quiet free game is growing. At the time of this writing, it sits at 14 on Steam’s top player count, between Fallout 4 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

When you are left wondering why Warframe has been kicking around for over three years, but The Division goes out of style after a few months, consider that it is probably because of the support Digital Extremes gives to both the game and the fans.

TennoCon: A Trip to the Future of Games Development and Marketing

TennoCon: A Trip to the Future of Games Development and Marketing 1

“At the very least it will be a very good corporate event for Digital Extremes,” joked Meridith Braun, VP of Publishing at Digital Extremes, when she told me about their backup plans for the party they were throwing. “We …[knew] our fans …[were] really excited and loyal …[to] the game. We just weren’t sure if they were willing to come [from] far and wide to London, Ontario. We debated if we should do Toronto or something in the states with a denser population. Now seeing that they really are willing to come this far, I think that we’ll only make it bigger next year.”

TennoCon-2016-Warframe-Digital-Extremes2

She’s talking about TennoCon 2016, a celebration of Digital Extremes’ free-to-play cooperative third-person shooter Warframe. For those not familiar with their work, Digital Extremes, a London, Ontario based developer, is still remembered for collaborating with Epic Games (the Gears of War developers) to make the Unreal franchise in the late 90s/early 2000s. More recently, they have developed, or been involved in developing, several well-known titles, including Darksector, The Darkness 2, Bioshock (the PS3 version), Bioshock 2 (its multiplayer aspect), and the 2013 Star Trek game based on the rebooted movie franchise.   TennoCon: A Trip to the Future of Games Development and Marketing 11

In 2013 they also released Warframe to mildly critical reviews, but three years later the in-game financial transactions are still funding monthly updates from the studio. It’s been so successful that the game now boasts 22 million registered accounts, and during this year’s TennoCon roughly 1,200 excited Tenno (Warframe community members, in the game’s parlance) descended on the London Convention Center to celebrate that success. Some of the Tenno weren’t even sporting Ontario identification cards, according to Meridith Braun: “I met somebody from the Netherlands, and he came just for the weekend. Someone else told me that there are people here from Korea and Japan.”

TennoCon: A Trip to the Future of Games Development and Marketing 5

In terms of content, the convention itself wasn’t anything to really write home about. There was a large stage and seating for a schedule of Q&A panels, a table in the middle to meet famous YouTubers, a merchandise booth full of Warframe swag, and plenty of consoles to play the game on. Actually, the really impressive part of this pop-culture event was the speed with which the attendees bonded. Complete strangers who ordinarily might flip each other off on the highway or avoid each other’s gaze on the subway were instantly starting conversations amongst themselves, secure in the knowledge that they had something in common. It’s true that this attitude is very common at something like the Penny Arcade Expo, but don’t forget that PAX started in August of 2004, whereas this was the first ever TennoCon. Clearly the community is already a tight one.

Steve Sinclair, the Creative Director of Warframe, attributes the success of the game, the community, and TennoCon 2016 to the dialogue Digital Extremes has fostered with the Tenno, “We don’t have a big marketing budget. It’s people who love the game spreading the game, and when I talked to them today and asked ‘why are you still playing?’, the answers were ‘the game is still alive, you keep updating it, it is constantly evolving, you guys are open to us, and you guys tell us what you are doing. And it becomes sort of like a relationship.’”

As an impartial observer, I found  it a surreal relationship to behold. Men and women from all areas of Digital Extremes were pressed to answer questions or give comments on a wide variety of subjects. Some of these conversations were so esoteric that I didn’t have the background to follow along. Requests for autographs and pictures flooded in like a raging river after a major storm. Anyone identified as a person working on the game was treated with such a rock star reverence that it must have been hard for them to return to relative anonymity the next day. That said, it became very clear in London that the admiration expressed at TennoCon was never one sided.

TennoCon: A Trip to the Future of Games Development and Marketing 10

“Looking around at the faces here, I recognize writers, level designers, artists, sound designers who want to come and talk to players,” explained Steve. “And that was never the thing before. They read [comments] and at all levels of the company, hey Steve we did this and it was a big mistake. That never happened before.  [Before] they just did their job, they put their energy in, they didn’t phone in, but now they want to be part of that community and affect change like players do.”

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In that sense, TennoCon is more than just a celebration of Warframe. It is also a step into the future of developing, marketing, and selling games. “The industry changed so much to focus so much on retail,” Meridith Braun told me. “The publisher put that middle man between us and our gamers, and the barrier to those gamers got bigger and bigger over the years because games became more expensive. And deliver to the customer  because there was only retail at that time, so now with that advent of digital distribution we finally realized we can take that all back again.”