Warframe's ambitious Railjack gameplay demo proves Warframe 2 is already here

I don't care if you've never played Warframe before or are a Tenno with hundreds of hours under your fashionable space belt, you need to watch this trailer for Warframe  - Codename: Railjack. It's a free expansion that will seamlessly take you from the new open-world of Fortuna, to ship-to-ship combat, to open-space acrobatics, to infiltrating the big bad's capital ship, all with friends fighting alongside you on turrets or in jetpacks or on foot. If that sounds familiar, it may be because it's pretty much a fully realized response to any given video game fan request thread.

Adding this kind of a massive new gameplay experience would be sequel territory for many games; making a clean break to give the developers time and resources to build this cool new idea into their game concept, hoping fans enjoy it enough to make up for whatever might be left behind with the previous game. But when I asked Warframe senior producer Dave Kudirka if the team ever took other big ideas and put them on a shelf labeled "Warframe 2" instead, he responded with an exuberant "never."

"We don't shut ideas down," Kudirka said. "That's not the way our studio works. We're like, 'Let's try this. Let's prototype it, if it gets somewhere we take it to the next stage.' We have people on the team that continue to release the updates that players expect. But when we have an idea like an open world or the Railjack and we believe in it we're gonna give it the best shot we can.

"We're gonna make a prototype. We're not gonna write it on paper and say, 'This is what it does!' We're gonna make the gameplay, get it in our hands, and we're like 'Does this feel good?' We don't shy away from things, we don't do anything like that. But we will be realistic on what timelines things will be on."

Speaking of which, developer Digital Extremes definitely did not give a release date or window for Railjack. Heck, the demo barely made it onto the stage for TennoCon 2018. 

Contrary to what that time crunch may lead you to believe, the idea behind Railjack has actually been circulating around Digital Extremes since about… oh, 2001? Skip to 1:12:00 in this video if it doesn't automatically take you there.

When Warframe came out in 2013 as a procedurally generated corridor shooter, turning it into a seamless ship-to-space-to-ship combat game probably felt a little overambitious. But I'm glad that idea never went on the sequel shelf. Honestly, it sounds like Digital Extremes doesn't even have a sequel shelf. Or if they do they just use it to store collectible statues or something.

Creative director Steve Sinclair said in a press-only preview that Warframe: Fortuna is currently planned to arrive in the fall, with Railjack following sometime later. You can start playing right now, of course, but I wouldn't blame you if want to wait for Warframe to hit Nintendo Switch so you can do your space ninja thing wherever you have wifi.

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