We've finally got an extended look at Soulframe, the upcoming fantasy action RPG from Warframe developers Digital Extremes. This weekend's TennoCon saw a short trailer, above, and a thirty-minute extended reveal of gameplay and character options, below. In that we got a picture of a fantasy world about player Envoy characters reclaiming the natural world of magical ancestors from a controlling, corrupting force.
This first look showed a much slower-paced game than Warframe, clearly taking hints from the more purposeful—sometimes even slow—combat of third-person fantasy action RPGs like Elden Ring. There's little of the 100% octane, straight into your veins, wild combat of Warframe to be seen.
Announced last year, we haven't heard too much about Soulframe since then, when it looked a lot like a cross of Warframe and Princess Mononoke. This new look really dials in on a more medieval-inspired fantasy aesthetic that's deeply interested in nature and the natural world—while still retaining the more occult, strange fantasy energy that Digital Extremes is better known for.
"It's a long-running game, it's going to be free-to-play and all of those things you can expect from a Digital Extremes game, but the pacing is kind of inverted. Where Warframe is fast and frenetic, Soulframe is going to be slow and pensive," said Steve Sinclair, former creative director on Warframe who left that post to be lead on Soulframe.
The trailers show off sun-dappled forests and hazy distances interspersed with more surreal fantasy sights. Like the player's home hub, for example, which lives on an endless silver watery surface where they'll collect their ancestor spirits into a sort of extra-corporeal town. In a stylish twist, the player simply falls backward through the watery floor to return to the real world. It's all still very understated compared to Warframe, much more grounded than the sleek metals and LED-lit corridors of Digital Extremes' biggest hit.
That's most notable departure is in the UI, which is definitely taking cues from illuminated manuscripts in its fonts and color palette. For all that, DE is clear that it'll be an open-ish world above with a large variety of procedural levels and dungeons that make Warframe an MMO-lite game structure. It's still a bit simplified, at least, with three core stats, or virtues, of Courage, Spirit, and Grace.
Given its name there's also the "frame" connection, where you sign magical pacts with the Ancestors to gain their power to fight the invading Ode forces. Those'll be your swappable skillsets to go along with your swappable weapons and the like.
For my part, I didn't have huge expectations of Soulframe. This presentation changed that. While I'm as always quite wary of a free-to-play model's disrespect for your time and money, the world and gameplay style presented here might be enough to get me properly invested after all. You can find out more and sign up for the game launch on Soulframe's website. Soulframe has no release date as of yet, but best guesses think it'll come in late 2024.