A hush falls at TennoCon 2023; a rarity given the sold-out event boasts thousands of attendees. Why, you ask? It’s quite simple: Soulframe. Digital Extremes has given us our first real deep dive into the upcoming MMORPG, which takes clear inspiration from 2022 Game of the Year Elden Ring. It’s a stunning, high-fantasy world that is a stark reminder of some of the evils present in our own world, and PCGamesN had the pleasure of sitting down with Soulframe‘s chief creative officer, Steve Sinclair, at TennoCon 2023 to chat about the new game.
Nestled in Digital Extremes’ cozy streaming room amid myriad Warframe goodies and a rocking horse (that Warframe creative director Rebecca Ford informs me used to talk), I ask Sinclair about Soulframe’s Elden Ring-esque aesthetic.
Combat features a lot of dodging and parrying, and while the ‘purified’ world looks more akin to something out of Fable, the warped, twisted iteration of Midrath that we’ll likely spend most of our time in certainly channels the moodiness of Elden Ring’s Lands Between.
When I ask if Soulframe is directly inspired by the game, Sinclair tells me “it’s impossible to avoid it. When we were naming the game, we have this premise of the souls of our ancestors, and then we put f**king ‘souls’ in the name.”
“When Elden Ring came out, we were just starting on Soulframe and obviously we, like every developer in the world, looked at each other and went ‘oh shit.’ [Elden Ring] was just so incredible in terms of how the exploration felt and, for me, the non-linearity made it that, when you hit a wall, you just go to a different place – which was refreshing. So yeah, we are taking a lot of inspiration from it.”
However, it’s not the only game that has inspired the Soulframe saga. “There are a lot of other influences there; great melee combat games like Ghost of Tsushima are huge ones as well. You’ll probably notice that the camera is a bit more like Ghost, and less like Elden Ring.”
He does tell me, however, that there’s a “cozy” element to the game. Soulframe is a step away from the grimdark worlds of series like Warhammer 40k, and Sinclair says he’s hoping to channel more “Disney princesses” than blood, guts, and gore.
We see a bit of that during the menu sequence when your character has fallen asleep in the forest and accrued a slew of adorable animals who have dozed off in their lap.
When I ask who came up with the idea of adding said adorable sleeping critters, Sinclair tells me “that was Geoff [Crookes, creative director on Soulframe, formerly Warframe]. He is the Disney princess – he doesn’t look it; well, he does a bit.” Either way, I am very, very thankful for that choice.
As someone who loved the world of Elden Ring but struggled with the soulslike elements, Soulframe is exactly what I want and more. I genuinely felt tears well up in my eyes as we watched the Torment Stag boss fight – that moment cemented the fact that I want to play this game. The music, the aesthetic, and just the whole meaning behind Soulframe has sunk its claws into me, and it’s already skyrocketed towards the top of my most-wanted games.
While we don’t know when the Soulframe release date is just yet, we do have a list of games like Dark Souls if you fancy some FromSoft-style chaos. We also have a list of the best PC games out there, and yes, Elden Ring is on there.