A Warframe mobile release feels like a big ask, given how fast-paced and intense the game can get. But developer Digital Extremes confirmed we’ll see the game on smartphones and the like sometime soon. Apparently “Warframe is currently working for mobile devices and is actively in development.”
There’s not a lot more to glean at the moment, because a few minutes of seeing the feature in action at TennoCon 2021, but it feels like a smart move. Genshin Impact and Fortnite rest atop big, colorful, paper piles of proof that multiplayer action games designed for console and PC can do well on mobile. Though there will most certainly be some hurdles for the development team to clear along the way.
The biggest issue that comes to mind is speed. Warframe is a very frenetic game. The primary way of moving between levels is a technique called “bullet jumping,” which is also the hardest element for many new players to wrap their heads around. Bullet jumping requires players to crouch while sprinting before leaping forward horizontally — then string the run, slide, jump pattern together over and over again for maximum speed. It’s not mandatory. It’s just the fastest way to get around. And since most Warframe missions end when most of any given team reaches an extraction point, there’s a premium put on quick completion in the free-to-play shooter.
I can’t even imagine how that will work with a touchscreen. Though perhaps Digital Extremes has some kind of shortcut in mind. There are also certain playable characters — the titular Warframes — with alternative movement speed boosts. Volt, Nezha, and Nova all come to mind. And ‘frame powers are now somewhat interchangeable via the big, nasty puss-mouth called “Helminth” players can talk to on their in-game ship.
I’m just speculating about how this will all work, though. As I’m speculating about which platforms “mobile” actually constitutes. Android phones seem like a shoe-in, but companies like Epic Games (makers of the aforementioned Fortnite) and Microsoft have been at odds with Apple over games lately. The former took Fortnite off the iPhone App Store. Meanwhile, Microsoft still hasn’t put its Xbox Cloud Gaming service on the store at all. You still need to jump through some browser-based hoops to get online.
If I can play the game on my iPhone, however, it’ll at least be nice to jump into some low-impact quests and alerts on the go. I took more of shine to playing Genshin Impact in bed than I anticipated. That is if cross-save arrives in time for me to cart my proper PC progress around. At the very least it’ll be nice to set up my resource extractors from the bathroom.
Disclaimer: Tencent acquired games company Leyou in late 2020, making it the parent company of Digital Extremes’ parent company. Tencent is also the parent company of Fanbyte Media. Though they have no say in our editorial coverage. I honestly think they forget they even own us sometimes, since I haven’t seen or spoken to anyone from there in like three years. Wow! It’s almost been three years since we started this since, hasn’t it? Time is weird and scary.