Warframe: 1999 may reimagine a classic Digital Extremes game

Is Warframe: 1999 the not-so-subtle return of Hayden Tenno?

Digital Extremes’ Warframe is one of the longest-lasting live-service games on the market, having started its free-to-play romp back in 2013. Some of the game’s oldest fans may well remember that DE’s sci-fi adventure ambitions started earlier still, with the original concept behind Dark Sector: a game that embodied many of Warframe‘s core design principles at first, only to eventually be retrofitted into a bog standard (albeit charming) cover-based third-person shooter. Well, Dark Sector has always had more than a few parallels with Warframe proper, and those parallels may be explored in a new context with Warframe: 1999.

Notably, Digital Extremes recently revealed one of Warframe‘s two upcoming expansions, those being Whispers in the Walls and Warframe: 19991999 is due to launch sometime in 2024, and what’s really notable about it is that it appears to take players far, far away from the central conflict of the Sol system. Instead, it is seemingly set in an alternative version of the year 1999.

Is Warframe: 1999 a Dark Sector revival?

Digital Extremes has, historically, never been too concerned about whether the team will stray too far away from Warframe‘s core lore and gameplay principles. This has resulted in a remarkably layered but also fragmented experience, where not all of the game’s features necessarily interact with one another. It’s always been a bit strange, then, that the studio chose not to do anything with Dark Sector, short of releasing some of its cosmetics as microtransactions in Warframe.

It’s worth pointing out that DE itself hasn’t come out and said that 1999 is a re-envisioning of Dark Sector. The similarities, however, are certainly striking. The protagonist of Warframe: 1999 is a mystery man known as Arthur, who is – for whatever reason – fielding the Excalibur bodysuit with an old-school combat harness and other various tidbits of regular, modern-day kit. His enemies? The techno-organic plague, which may or may not have something to do with the mad scientist type (Entrati) who appears at the end of the trailer. The similarities with Dark Sector‘s Hayden Tenno are impossible to ignore.

Now, it’s anyone’s guess whether Digital Extremes is actually gunning to reenvision Dark Sector in the context of Warframe‘s own lore, but that certainly looks like what’s going on. Warframe veterans may wish to keep an eye out for 1999, then, as it has the potential of being remarkably interesting to those who enjoy the game’s wacky lore.

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Filip Galekovic
A lifetime gamer and writer, Filip has successfully made a career out of combining the two just in time for the bot-driven AI revolution to come into its own.
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