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Nobody wanted Warframe: “Sci-Fi was dead” – But one last try saved the shooter and studio

Warframe is one of the most successful Free2Play shooters on Steam today and is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary. At the beginning it was quite critical to the shooter. But the studio made one last attempt to release the game – with success.

Warframe is a third-person shooter and action game from the developer studio Digital Extremes. As a space ninja, players kill heaps of enemies and collect different combat suits, so-called Warframes, in order to be able to use special abilities.


The game celebrated its release on March 25, 2013. The game now has the reputation of being one of the best Free2Play shooters ever. At the beginning, the developers had a hard time getting started with Warframe. But in the end it worked.

Here’s a trailer for Warframe:


Warframe PS4 launch trailer

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Nobody wanted to release Warframe

Warframe evolved from the ideas of another game by developer studio Digital Extremes called Dark Sector. Under this title, the creative director Steve Sinclair tried to find a publisher for the game.


However, the concept was repeatedly rejected. The argument: “Sci-Fi was dead” (via PCGamer).

They revamped Dark Sector and released the game in 2008. However, it garnered only mixed reactions from players.

2010 in particular was a time of crisis for the studio. CEO Sheldon Carter even speaks of a “last chance” that the playmakers had. About a third of the employees had to be laid off.


The resources and the budget only allowed the implementation of one last project. Should this fail, it would also mean the end of Digital Extremes.

The developers decided to make the one sci-fi game they always wanted to make. So in 2012 work began on Warframe, for which the original concept of Dark Sector was used, which nobody really wanted.

After release, Warframe works its way to the top

Warframe came out in 2013, at a time when free2play games weren’t as popular as they are today. The game studio learned over time how best to implement the game model.


After players criticized a paywall in the beta, for example, Warframe now relies on a free base game whose additional content can be purchased voluntarily.

The wishes and needs of the players were very important. Rebecca Ford, former Warframe Community Manager, said:

I’ve just tried over the years to understand what people like about Warframe and make more of it. Then, when we surprise them, we let them know that sometimes we’ll try different things. And the faster we fail, the easier it is to keep going

Over time, the game retained the underdog charm for many fans, but also delivered new content in regular updates, so that the game continued to develop and grow over the years.


In the meantime, Warframe has built up a loyal community that still enjoys the shooter after all these years.

Why do fans love Warframe so much?

Warframe is one of the top games on Steam today

Warframe is currently the 18th most played game on Steam (as of March 27, 2023), and regularly has over 50,000 active players at the same time. The game ratings are also very positive. Out of a total of 524,713 reviews, 87% are good.


Warframe has also received several off-topic reviews, but these do not count towards the game’s overall rating.

Warframe also makes it into the top lists again and again on MeinMMO and convinces as a free shooter with extensive content and dynamic gameplay.

What can players expect for the anniversary? On the official Warframe website you can see an overview of the special promotions currently running, because: Warframe is currently celebrating its 10th birthday.


In the game there are numerous rewards that you can secure for this occasion, such as special skins or weapons.

In addition, there will soon be special merch for the anniversary, as well as community campaigns and an event at Techno Con 2023.

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