The Warframe Heart of Deimos was finally revealed in full at TennoCon 2020. The yearly convention was relegated to an online-only affair, thanks to the global pandemic, but that didn’t stop developer Digital Extremes from debuting the latest new update. And it’s a doozy. Heart of Deimos will be the game’s third open-world zone, or “landscape,” and sports plenty of new goodies — including mechs.
Shown during the TennoLive keynote, we know Heart of Deimos takes place on… well, Deimos. The martian moon is a completely new playable space that previously didn’t exist on the in-game star chart. The moon has further been overrun by the Infested: one of three main enemy factions present in Warframe. The Infested haven’t gotten much love in previous updates, so Digital Extremes sought to change that. They now join the Grineer and the Corpus as central antagonists on their own open-world area.
That includes many new enemy types, plus factions to work for against them. Heart of Deimos includes two new Syndicates (in-game organizations who pass out missions and rewards). There’s the dysfunctional Entrati family — long dead and/or mutated aristocrat inventors who once researched Deimos — and another, more mysterious group.
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All of that is really just buildup to the big reveal, though. We’re getting mechs, y’all. Specifically, the Warframe models are called “Necramechs,” appear to be powered by corpses, and function as nigh unkillable bosses in the open world. Players can unlock and customize their own after completing The Second Dream campaign (and seeing the massive plot beat therein). Digital Extremes also promises a fun, surprising way for fans to use Necramechs before reaching that milestone.
The mechs aren’t exactly BattleTech or Mobile Suit Gundam sized, but they do provide heavier, chunkier movement options for players. There will be multiple versions, as well, with unique looks and abilities of their own. The plan is to let you take them out in all three Warframe open worlds: not just Deimos.
Circling back to the new area, Deimos has its own moon, despite being a moon. At least that’s what Digital Extremes community director and Warframe voice actor Rebecca Ford called it. The “moon” is proportioned more like a Gundam: a building-sized tentacle with a glowing, blue eye that watches players as they traverse. It perpetually battles the “sun” of Deimos, which is an orange version of the same structure. The day/night cycle relies on the two monsters killing each other over and over for supremacy. When the sun is out, Infested become stronger.
You might be able to hide from the duel underground. Deimos is not the widest world Digital Extremes has ever made. That honor still goes to the Orb Vallis on Venus. Deimos is denser and more vertical. That includes deep, procedurally generated tunnels beneath the surface. There you can find Infested, yes, but also Orokin technology — including hostile Necramechs. According to the devs, these are the only ambient bosses planned for Deimos so far. Whereas the Plains of Eidolon has giant ghost monsters and the Orb Vallis has huge spider-bots.
Heart of Deimos won’t be limited to a new area, though. The entire game “now starts with a Cinematic New Player Introduction,” hopefully addressing a longstanding problem with Warframe. It’s just damn tough to get into. The game is deep and complex. Until now, there hasn’t been a ton to ease new players into the mix, besides directing them to the robust Warframe wiki.
Things are only getting more complicated, too. Players’ in-game ship, the Liset, is growing. Literally. It’s literally growing a big, nasty mouth that eats your unwanted materials and Warframes. Once digested, the frames are converted into a “Helminth Chrysalis.” Basically? You can inject one Warframe ability into another character altogether to make custom power suites.
It’s a pretty unprecedented level of customization for the game. Though it does come with limitations. Only one skill is available to steal from any given frame. The developers showed us the sword-wielding Excalibur, for example, slinging the Shock attack from Volt. On the bright side, you only have to feed the beast once per Warframe. This should finally give players something to do with their robot pals after upgrading to Prime versions!
What else? Well, you can skateboard on a big bug. Deimos is covered in critters: not all of them hostile. One of these is the Velocipod. Players can mount up and ride the nasty dragonfly around like a hoverboard (or K-Drive in Warframe parlance). The major note here is that Digital Extremes will unleash battle on the boards. When riding either a K-Drive or a Velocipod, you will now be able to fire your secondary weapon, blending combat and sick tricks at last.
Earlier in the show we also got a look at the newest Warframe: Xaku. This is the “broken” character that was chosen by community suggestion several months ago. Odds are they will be tied to Heart of Deimos in some way. Interestingly, this is the first non-binary character added to the game. Previous Warframes have always been classified as men or women.
That’s just one of the many ways Warframe is a-changing. The game is one of the most actively updated experiences we’ve ever played. And that’s partially thanks to massive content drops like Heart of Deimos. New lands, new characters, new weapons, and goshdang mech suits are pretty nifty additions. And we’ll get to see them all when the Warframe Heart of Deimos update lands on PC and all consoles simultaneously this Aug. 25.