As part of this year’s TennoCon celebrations, Warframe developer Digital Extremes has given fans a nice big look at the free-to-play sci-fi shooter’s ambitious Duviri Paradox expansion, which is currently due to launch some time in “winter 2022”.
The Duviri Paradox will be Warframe’s latest open-world expansion, following the likes of Plains of Eidolon and Heart of Deimos, and plunges players into the extremely weird world of Duviri, featuring a sort of fantasy western aesthetic shot through with floating islands and fractals.
It’s also a world that appears to exist inside of the head of new big bad Dominus Thrax, who additionally serves as its less-than-benevolent ruler. Everyone living within Thrax’s domain is trapped inside an endless time loop, doomed to be executed over and over and over again.
In the single-player story mission that will serve as Warframe’s introduction to The Duviri Paradox and its new mechanics (part of which Digital Extremes showed during today’s TennoCon), players are cast as a Drifter who, at the start of the quest, is sentenced to death by impalement. However, just as he’s about to die, a mysterious dismembered hand falls to earth and, seizing his chance, he grabs it and begins his escape.
At that point, The Duviri Paradox switches to Warframe’s familiar third-person perspective as players attempt to escape the King’s Royal Island, using a combination of stealth and a sort of powerful blast move made possible by the Drifter’s peculiar new appendage. Should players be killed, though, the clock winds back to moments before the execution – revealing that Digital Extremes is, in its own words, “flirting with rogue-like elements” for this latest expansion.
Death doesn’t mean a complete rewind, however; once off the starting island (with a fearsome dragon in pursuit), players can begin exploring the vast, weird expanse of Duviri proper. From this point on, activating strange stones around the world will create what are essentially respawn points, and, on each subsequent death, players can decide where exactly they’d like to resume their mission from.
Once out in the wild – which can be explored using the expansion’s new mode of transport, a skeletal horse-like creature known as the Kaithe – players will encounter deadly Dax Guards and tackle various puzzles as they attempt their escape. To aid in their exploration, players can make use of perks known as Decrees to tailor their build (a new selection to choose from are provided each day), enabling them to tackle different content as they explore.
There’s one other curious aspect of The Duviri Paradox that Digital Extremes isn’t quite ready to talk about yet. As will be immediately obvious in the gameplay footage above, the new world primarily exists in stark black and white, with the strange new hand players find giving them the ability to imbue the landscape with colour. The developer notes other elements of colour will come into play too – its palette will shift depending on the mood of Dominus Thrax, for instance – but it’s not entirely clear how the system will work in gameplay terms.
While The Duviri Paradox’s “winter 2022” launch is still some way off, Digital Extremes will “soon” be releasing an iterim update known as Veilbreaker. This will include the game’s 50th Warframe – Styanax, inspired by Greek champions and other ancient warriors – and brings back fan-favourite New War character Kahl. It’ll also see the return of New War’s previously solo-only Archon bosses, this time reworked to be harder and playable as part of Warframe’s more traditional four-player content.
Expect more details on all of the above as their various release dates draw nearer. And if you didn’t catch today’s TennoCon, you might have also missed Digital Extremes’ other major announcement: that the studio is currently working on a brand-new fantasy action-MMORPG called Soulframe, set in a sister universe to Warframe.