Digital Extremes has revealed a new introduction cinematic for Warframe, which it says will serve as a better introduction to the game's story for new players. The cinematic was directed by Dan Trachtenberg, who was also the director on 10 Cloverfield Lane and is directing the upcoming Uncharted film.
Trachtenberg's credentials also include a 2016 episode of Black Mirror called "Playtest" and the first episode of Amazon original The Boys.
Currently the "new player experience" of Warframe begins with a quest called Vor's Prize, in which players take control of a freshly awakened character whose stasis pod was discovered by the Grineer, one of the antagonist factions.
The short of it is that a Grineer commander called Vor wanted to lay claim to your sleeping warframe for his own nefarious ends, but you are awoken by a motherly figure who calls herself The Lotus and must fight your way free.
By the end of the Vor's Prize quest you are introduced to the basic mechanics of Warframe and let loose on a massive universe of possible gameplay options with very little guidance. Some love this approach to the game, while others argue that more of a tutorial would help Digital Extremes retain new players after the initial quest.
In games like Destiny 2, which is building on the trail that Warframe blazed, players are kept engaged through a campaign which tells a simple story from beginning to end which features the player as the main protagonist.
Warframe's narrative is more disjointed, and you could argue that it is not giving players who come to a game for the story enough of a reason to continue playing.
The Vor's Prize quest raises questions that aren't revisited until players have progressed many hours into the game. Why were members of the player faction referred to as Tenno? Why are the Tenno in stasis? Why were the Grineer hunting warframes? (Vor's motives are explored, but not those of his superiors.)
Instead of continuing the main story it introduces, Warframe offers players a series of side quests and encouragements to unlock the game's map. In the community's parlance, this is referred to as playing through the Star Chart. The Star Chart has over 200 mission spread over the planets and moons of our own solar system.
It takes roughly 100 hours of play to unlock a series cinematic quests that begin to answer the questions raised right in the beginning of the game.
This is actually fantastic. The unique circumstances of Warframe's launch and evolution as allowed it to explore the kind of storytelling you don't really see in games. However, the criticism that Warframe should give newer players more of a story to stay invested in the early stages of the game is also valid.
It isn't clear what kind of introductory campaign or quest the new intro cinematic for Warframe will bring with it, but Digital Extremes has said that it wants to revamp the game's new player experience.
Looking at the cinematic, whatever is coming, it must be a significant change or even total replacement of the current Vor's Prize quest.