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The Darkness 2 dev announces free-to-play shooter Warframe

Beta sign-up already underway.

Digital Extremes - the developer behind The Darkness 2 and Bioshock 2's multiplayer - has announced Warframe, an upcoming free-to-play third-person shooter for PC.

A closed beta begins sometime in Autumn and sign-ups have already begun on the official site.

Those who sign up for the beta will also get a free pre-launch-only weapon.

The plot concerns an alien race called the Tenno who are on the verge of extinction after being enslaved by the monstrous Grineer for centuries. Their only hope to rise up against their oppressors is "ancient exo-skeletal technology only they can operate" called warframes.

Four players band together in randomly generated missions in the PvE shooter. Players will acquire new warframe augmentations throughout, allowing them to customise their abilities.

"Warframe is a new name for an old game," explained chief creative director at Digital Extremes, Steve Sinclair.

"It was a shelved concept we kept coming back to. High-tech machine-gun ninjas set in a far-future, over-hyphenated, Manga-Dune mash-up. Free-to-play lets us take risks. It allows us to build Warframe with our players."

CEO James Schmalz sees big things in the future for free-to-play games.

"We've heard for years now that PC gaming is dead. It isn't dead; it just went underground for a few years and is now re-emerging with this massively growing free-to-play market that has matured to the point where the quality of games we're seeing rivals many AAA retail games.

"In many ways, we're going back to our PC action-based roots. Free-to-play is like shareware 2.0! Once again, we're connected directly to our end-user. They decide whether or not to pay for their experience and we listen to their feedback and continually improve the experience to make it worth paying for. Game development as it should be."

To get a further idea of what Warframe looks like, observe the debut trailer below.

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Jeffrey Matulef

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Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.

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