While at E3, PlayStation LifeStyle got a chance to speak with the Studio General Manager for Digital Extremes, Sheldon Carter, about their upcoming free-to-play PS4 game, Warframe. Find out what this title has in common with the first ever PS3 title to be announced, what development on the PS4 was like, and much more below.
For an interview with Red Barrels about Outlast on PS4 go here.
What was inspiration for Warframe?
Well, that’s a big story actually. About 10 years ago we had the idea for this game, we pitched it to publishers all over the place and everyone said ‘ehh, Sci-fi isn’t really all that big.’ They didn’t know back then where games were going, so none of the publishers would take it. We morphed that idea and actually ended up building a game called Dark Sector. We were still kicking around this idea when we were working on Darkness 2, and BioShock.
After we finished up the last couple of games, we said, Hey, why not take a shot? Why not build this game where you get to be a space ninja? So what you see from Warframe is that dream coming true.
So the first images shown for Dark Sector was actually Warframe?
It is funny actually, because last console generation we were the first next-gen game on the PS3 and now we are going to be a launch title for the PS4 – with the game we really wanted to make.
Warframe is going to be a self published title, correct?
Totally, no publisher. The only people that paid for this game are the players, which is fantastic, because they are the reason we get to do this.
What are the benefits of doing self publishing? [Read Daily Reaction for more]
Oh my god, there’s just so many. When you get to have full creative control and you get to do exactly what you want to do, and the only people you are responsible to are the players of your game, that’s the ideal way to develop. I mean, sometime you have publishing relationships and those can be great, or they can be not so great. This would take that totally out of the equation, and the only thing we care about is making a great game that we like and our players like.
Have you found any limitations to doing self publishing?
Not yet, that could scale but, right now not really. Everything has been great. Basically the whole time when you’re developing and you’re working with a publisher you know how to make a game, you just don’t have the money to make it. So, know we know how to make a game, and we have our own funding.
What are your plans for the pay-to-play model?
Right now the game is currently in beta on PC. Everything that you could get in the game you can earn, you do not have to pay. If you want to support the game, or if you want help us make more content, there’s lots of ways for you to pay for premium currency and get things faster.
Will all of the game’s content be available through the PSN store? Or will you be using an internal market within Warframe?
We are working with Sony right now to figure out how to do the transactions, but so far they have been really supportive, as you can see [gestures toward kiosks]. So we are not really worried that they will change anything on us.
Were there any difficulties converting the code from the PC version onto the PS4?
We have only been working on it for something like 4 months. So, the PS4 is incredibly easy to work with. For us to get up and running on it, with some special features like touch pad functionality and we also have some specific PS4 stuff that did take a little bit – but, overall, it has been fantastic.
How are you guys planning on marketing the game? Will it simply done through the PSN Store?
That is one of the things with self publishing, we are only doing word of mouth. We have tons of people that seem to love doing live streams and YouTube videos of what they are doing in Warframe. We are kind of relying on them to spread the word.
What are you most proud of when it comes to Warframe?
That we thought we had a good idea, even though the publishers didn’t think it was that great of an idea, but we did it ourselves and wow- now we have over 2 million registered users. It is the validation of ‘yeah, this was a good idea.’ People love it and are having a great time with it.
Will you be trying to bring over PC gamers to the console version? And will there be any form of cross play between the two markets?
It is hard to say right now what’s possible to happen, in our ideal world – absolutely, you would be able to migrate your account to PS4 if you want to, and they would be able to play with each other if possible. So, as long as that stuff is technically possible, we will do it.
Will you be ready for the PS4’s launch?
Yeah, we are a launch title. It is going to be awesome. The second you buy your PS4, you can come home and download Warframe and play it.