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Warframe 1999 is Metal Gear Solid meets Dark Sector, with a twist

Digital Extremes' journey began with Dark Sector, and the new Warframe 1999 update plans to pay to homage to the ultra-violent cult classic.

Warframe 1999 is Metal Gear Solid m: eets Dark Sector, with a twistA wizened man in a skin-tight stealth suit stands with katanas on his back in a warehouse area

Warframe has been on the go for ten years, and Tennocon 2023 is most certainly a celebration of that legacy. As the RPG game enters a new era with the Whispers in the Walls update, we’re also set to go back in time with Warframe 1999, an upcoming story that sees us return to the very beginning of Tenno’s ongoing saga. As the curtain falls on what looks like a radical new step for Warframe, I caught up with creative director Rebecca Ford and Soulframe’s chief creative officer Steve Sinclair to chat about the update, and where it draws its inspiration from.

I’m ushered into a private cinema in Digital Extremes’ London office, complete with potentially the comfiest chair that I have ever sat in. The lights are dimmed, and the exclusive press preview of Warframe’s upcoming Whispers in the Walls update begins. It’s a spectacular new world that really showcases the game’s unique flamboyance, but what stands out amid the golden control panels and spectacular technological miracles is an old, chunky ’90s PC, set up and ready to go.

As our Tenno protagonist moves to activate Transference via said ancient bastion of technology, the screen fades to black before cutting to a disheveled Solid Snake-looking protagonist, who is clearly struggling with something. 

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His name is Arthur, according to Ford, who I had the privilege of catching up with after the screening, and both she and I had a moment swooning over this, to quote Sinclair, “handsome hunk.”

The whole thing clearly channels the ’90s, and one developer reveals that the update is framed by Nine Inch Nails’ Into The Void – fitting both in name, and the fact that it also released in 1999. But when I ask why Ford chose this ’90s aesthetic, she tells me a lot of it comes from rosy childhood memories.

“I was a wee lass then,” she says, a nod to my Scottish heritage. “I was nine years old in 1999. It’s my favorite era of my life because I had no responsibilities! But, inspiration-wise, I really wanted to re-re-do the Dark Sector that was made – or not made!”

She doubles down that Warframe 1999 “is Warframe,” however. “The only thing that is not Warframe is that’s it’s 1999 – but you’ll have to wait and see how it is Warframe. It’s certainly an exciting new look for the game, though, and it feeds into the different experiences that the team wants to provide us with.

A man with black hair and a skintight outfit crouches and looks into the camera

The Warframe 1999 release date is set for 2024, and it will be an update to the base game. 

If you can’t wait until then, then you’ve got the Whispers in the Walls update to look forward to. I suggest checking out our list of the best Warframe builds ahead of time, or some other ninja games to keep you busy.