Wayfinder is the New Collab Between the Makers of Ruined King and Warframe

It will also be playable (in a closed beta) very soon.

You’d be forgiven for not already knowing about Wayfinder: the new game from Airship Syndicate and Digital Extremes. The “character-based online action RPG” was first shown during TennoCon 2022 (and without an official title at the time). TennoCon, if you don’t know, is the annual Warframe fan event that typically has a convention to go with it but has been online-only during the ongoing ravages of COVID. Thus, if you don’t follow Warframe, you might have missed the first footage of the game earlier this year. Now we’ve got a name and a lot more information as Wayfinder was shown at the 2022 Game Awards. We’ll have even more to go off soon, too, as the game is launching into a closed beta just a week from today.

For now, the game looks like a brightly colored action MMO with League of Legends adjacent art and characters. That’s not super surprising given that Airship Syndicate last released Ruined King: a shockingly good League of Legends spinoff in the form of a turn-based RPG. The studio also has some Darksiders DNA thanks to Joe Madureira, who is serving as creative director on Wayfinder. He’s also known well-known as an artist (particularly his work on comics) which brings a similarly chunky, signature thickness to characters.

Madureira recently brought this style to Warframe, as well, having designed the game’s newest playable character, Voruna.

What’s really interesting to me about Wayfinder on paper, however, is that players will supposedly be able to adjust “mutators” for dungeons. This will alter enemy behavior and loot drops manually — allowing you to adjust missions to fit your preferred character or playstyle. Not the other way around. Though the game can then respond by adding mutators of its own to throw you off your game.

As a longtime Warframe fan, I’m also more inclined to pay attention given that Digital Extremes is involved. Airship Syndicate has a strong history of single-player games between Ruined King and the criminally overlooked (and silly named) Battle Chasers: Nightwar. But the team has no direct history with online play. Digital Extremes has been working on that side of things for a decade now, however, and has one of the better free-to-play models I’ve seen. Everything relevant to gameplay is available to everyone; only cosmetics absolutely cost real-world money.

Wayfinder will be free-to-play as well, in case you were curious. Airship Syndicate even name drops the Warframe ethos by saying the game will be “embracing the free-and-fair Digital Extremes philosophy.” At least eventually. The game will launch into an Early Access Program for PC and PlayStation users in the spring of 2023. Then it will become available on “multiple platforms” later that autumn.

Really, Digital Extremes seems like quite the busy little bee all of the sudden. The Canadian developer has mostly just plugged away on Warframe for the past 10 years — with some experiments and contract work here and there. Now, as announced at TennoCon, the studio is helping with both Wayfinder and the recently announced Soulframe, a melee-focused fantasy equivalent to Warframe set in its own universe. Warframe is still going strong, too, with a big update called Lua’s Prey just having launched an entirely new roguelike mode / open-world zone launching later.