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The upcoming Warframe Empyrean expansion is looking to add more than just ship-to-ship combat. At Tennocon 2019, Digital Extremes revealed a new feature called “Squad Link” built around coordinating multiple squads of players.
As detailed in the presentation, Squad Link works with a new kind of quest that revolves around multiple squads of players completing different missions on different parts of a map. As part of this, players can even call for help from other squads in the same mission.
Digital Extremes demonstrated this with a battle against a Kuva Lich. This specific Kuva Lich had activated a shield relay on Earth to protect the capital ship it was on. With this in mind, the squad going after the Lich sends out a Squad Link beacon for any other squads in the area to take out the shield relay for them.
If this all sounds familiar, that’s because it’s meant to call back to a certain moment from Star Wars. Game director Steve Sinclair himself made the comparison with the Battle or Endor from Return of the Jedi.
That said, all this is optional. Sinclair stated that players don’t have to complete Squad Link objectives and that there will be other, harder ways to complete these missions.
Of course, the other thing that may remind people of Star Wars is that Warframe Empyrean features ship-to-ship combat. As part of this, Digital Extremes detailed some of the specifics of Empyrean’s implementation of it.
At its core, the mode is built around a squad managing a starship called a Railjack. This includes the ever-present trope of players having to manage their Railjack’s power between weapons, shields, and more in combat. Players can also board any enemy ships they’re facing. Once they’ve infiltrated an enemy ship, they can then go and eliminate its captain, effectively stealing the ship.
In addition to this, the Railjack can provide air support as well during missions. During the demo, one developer who was piloting a ship was called upon to provide some air support to another on the ground. The pilot then demonstrated the use of a targeting radar that displayed both enemies and other players, using it to cover the latter’s escape.
While Digital Extremes revealed all this, one thing it did not reveal was Empyrean‘s release date. That said, when it does finally arrive, Empyrean looks to greatly expand how Warframe plays.