TennoCon 2019: Empyrean Demo

empyrean railjack warframe

While we weren’t expecting Railjack at TennoCon 2018, it was the thing that blew our minds – actual spacecombat coming to Warframe.

Fast forward to a year later, and Railjack, now Empyrean, was shown off in far greater detail – so much that it seems like it may be nearing completion, but more on that later,

Taking up at least half of the 1-and-a-half hour stage time, Empyrean was clearly the focus of the show, and so it well should be. Essentially enabling players to traverse space in their own ship (the Railjack), it provides space combat in Warframe like neverseen before.

In fact, it’s a lot more than that – at worst, it provides basic dogfighting  fromwithin the cockpit of the Railjack,and at best? A team-based raid-like system, enabling teams of up to 4 players to hunt down large enemy ships, infiltrate them, and destroy them – all for phat loots, of course.


While we could gush for hours and hours about what you can see in the demo (and it’s very likely we will do so in Episode 41 of the podcast!), here are the important takeaways:

  • Squad Link: Suggested to be game-changing by the team themselves, Squad Link essentially allows players to ask for help from other squads in the system. In the demo, the Railjack squad was looking to take down a very large ship as part of a mission with multiple objectives. One of these objectiveswasto take down the shield generator. While possible from space, it’s time consuming. However, using Squad Link, another squad (who was fishing at the time) was able to perform a mini objective that took down the shield fromthe ground – netting both squads a reward. Sounds very cool.
  • “Grand Theft Warframe”: While we had seen in aprevious demo that players could infiltrate enemy ships and destroy them from the inside, what we weren’t aware of was that they could also commandeer them. In this way, while a large ship may be surrounded by asmall fleet, a group of four Tenno could commandeer several smaller units and wreak havok – then simplydestroythem when done. 
  • Customisation: This is key, in my opinion. Being a major new system for the game, there needs to be an endless variety to the way that the Railjack can be customised – from individual components, to mods, to colour, and so on. From what we’ve seen, it looks like the team has done a fantastic job in this regard, allowing players to name their ship, apply decals, play with colouring, and much more besides. We’ll see how it all plays out when we get our hands on it (I just hope the grind isn’t over too quickly).
  • Kingpin: This took us by surprise. Alongside Railjack, the team has been developing a Kingpin system, which will be tied to this release. In the example provided, certain enemies will be able to resist death under specific circumstances, allowing them to not only stay alive, but steal an Ability from the warframe that kills them. Over time, they become more powerful, and effectively become an enemy specificto that player only. This is not unlike the Nemesis system from the LOTR Shadow of War series, and as a big fan of that system, I whole-heartedly welcome it to Warframe! To be clear, DE is steering away from calling this a Kingpin system, referring to their Kingpins as Kuva Liches.
  • Graphics Upgrade: Railjack will not only bring with it an overhaul to the game’s systems at large, but also a major overhaul to the graphics engine. It was extremely clear from the demo shown that this is a huge leap ahead from what we have become used to, so it’s really going to help the game feel even more modern. 
railjack squad link

Sadly, there was no release date, but I do harbour hope that Empyrean is not too far away. I say this for several reasons – 1. because I want it really badly; 2. because the team has changed the logo everywhere to represent the Empyrean logo, and 3. because NOTHING was said in regards to release, suggesting it’s probably not too far away, but also not close enough for the team to want to commit to… That’s my reasoning at least… And I really hope it is the case, because… 

Well, just watch the video.

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