Steve Sinclair's new project. Rebecca is the new creative director on Warframe.
Digital Extremes has announced Soulframe, a new MMO inspired by the works of Studio Ghibli that is currently in early development status. The newly announced MMO game draws influence from different fantasy genres and art, but is not solely influenced by western artistry. The works of Hayao Miyazaki alongside other Studio Ghibli projects are key inspirations for Soulframe’s fantastical elements. “Our team has a fond love for Miyazaki and Princess Mononoke where there is this idea of nature and humanity colliding and we’ll be exploring a lot of themes around nature, restoration, and exploration in this new title,”
“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.”
“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 hub world, meanwhile, will be open, more akin to “Warframe’s” recently added open-world planets than its early foundation of corridors and space stations. Crookes wants “Soulframe” to have a focus on exploration that “Warframe” never had — for it to feel more alive to players on a moment-to-moment basis. “I’m chasing that 'short session but high immersion’ thing where you sign in and you come out of your yurt and you are where you last signed off,” he said, “but the world feels like it’s been going on without you.”
“Our work has been extremely community driven,” Sinclair said. “It feels disingenuous not to tell [players] about changes and who’s leading ‘Warframe.’ It’s way too early to announce ‘Soulframe,’ actually! But in terms of transparency and making sure they understand how we think, we tend to be a lot more open … than most studios.” But Sinclair and Crookes don’t plan to announce “Soulframe” and then recede into a hush-hush development lab that’s all metal bars and tinted windows. After finding success with regular “Warframe” behind-the-scenes Twitch streams, they plan to give fans a look behind the curtain of “Soulframe” as early as possible. Ideally, that process will begin ASAP, and Digital Extremes die-hards will get to play a version of “Soulframe” within a year.