Just recently I (Robin Ek, TGG) got a chance to do an interview with Digital Extremes Rebecca Ford (Live Ops and Community Producer). So I talked with Ford about everything from “Warframe”, Tennocon, “Keystone” to Digital Extremes history =) And with that said, please enjoy my interview with Miss Ford.

digital extremes rebecca ford

Rebecca Ford works as a Live Ops and Community Producer at Digital Extremes.

Robin TGG
Would you be so kind and give our readers a proper introduction of yourself? =)

Rebecca:
Hi! My name is Rebecca Ford, and I am the Live Ops and Community Producer on Warframe. I started as an intern at Digital Extremes in 2011 and have been with the team and Warframe since the beginning! My job is to ensure that all of the moving parts of each update are organized, structured as best as possible, and ready to go when we hit the big green UPDATE button. That, and I manage all of the community elements, from answering questions, running streams, hanging out with our partners and long-time players. And, oh, I play a lot of Warframe!

warframe and digital extremes

Digital Extremes has been around since 1993, so they have a lot if history and titles to their name.

Robin TGG
Could you perhaps tell us a bit about the history of how Digital Extremes and Warframe came to be? You might even have some stories to share from the early days of Digital Extremes?

Rebecca:
I will give you a quick rundown, but since we have been around for nearly 25 years, I will have to keep it short! After creating an Ultima clone called Sorcery on the Apple IIe and creating games in college, James Schmalz designed Epic Pinball for Epic MegaGames in 1993 and eventually founded Digital Extremes in 1993. Digital Extremes was the co-developer with Epic Games on all of the Unreal and Unreal Tournament games.

Some of our other highlighted games range from the sci-fic action game Dark Sector and third-party work on BioShock for PS3 and the multiplayer campaign for BioShock 2, but after our work on the well-received The Darkness II, we saw a troubling trend in role of the independent developer. Digital Extremes has always been an independent developer, and so when publishers began asking for high-end graphics and top-of-the-line games without giving developers enough time and or money to develop them, we reflected on the company’s best direction. After a few projects that just didn’t feel right, our development team drew up drafts for some original concepts.

The strongest one came from our original work on Dark Sector. After many intense nights crafting plans, Steve Sinclair (Creative Director) and a handful of others created a new game that was everything we wanted – a science fiction-based action game called Warframe. That really is the Cliff’s Notes. Needless to say, Warframe was a Hail-Mary game. It was all or nothing with this one. With an immense amount of work, a huge commitment to our community, and many, many, many updates later, Warframe has become something we have become very proud of.

warframe

Digital Extremes has worked on twenty different game titles since 1993, including “Warframe”, “Sword Coast Legends”, ” Unreal”, “The Darkness II” and their upcoming FPS game “Keystone”.

Robin TGG
Since 1993, Digital Extremes have worked with games such as Solar Winds (that was your first game, right?) Unreal, Unreal Tournament, Dark Sector, The Darkness 2, Warframe and Sword Coast Legends. That’s also the reason why I’m curious to know which game projects you’ve enjoyed the most Vs the least?

Rebecca:
I admit, Digital Extremes has worked on some amazing games — many of them before my time with the company. So I can really only answer the one question, which is to say that I have worked on Warframe since I started. It’s been an amazing ride and we have amassed a fantastic, strong, and loyal community to whom we owe everything. For me, it’s Warframe all the way!

Robin TGG
What could you tell us about the upcoming Warframe comic? And how did the partnership with Top Cow happen? I mean, did they reach out to you? Or was it the other way around?

Source:
Warframe’s homepage
Warframe gets its own original comic series

Rebecca:
We originally worked with Top Cow Comics on Dark Sector and The Darkness II comics, so we already had established relationship with Top Cow and Matt Hawkins, in particular. Top Cow is a great indie comic book company – they create original storylines and hire super talented artists. About a year ago, we got back in touch with Matt Hawkins, President, COO, and writer for Top Cow, to talk about Warframe, so he downloaded the game and started playing it. After a few discussions and talks where they had pitched a bunch of ideas that were close to the mark, Creative Director Steve Sinclair sent over an outline for a story, which they loved, and Top Cow took it from there.

The comic is a standalone story that ties into the Warframe universe over a five-comic series. It focuses on the Warframe Excalibur, who must protect a blinded young girl, the last survivor of a recently destroyed village on Earth. We introduce a new setting, scenario, and enemies, so it’s easy to understand for new players, and it gives away hints and foreshadows for long-time players who will pick up on all of the nuances. If you attend TennoCon, the SDCC, or the NYCC, you can get a free, Matt Hawkins-signed copy!

Robin TGG
Warframe has had a lot of success since its launch back in 2013. So I would love to hear what the journey to success has been like for you guys? (the ups and downs).

Rebecca:
Well, so many stories to tell… But here is one our favorites. Before deciding to self-publish Warframe, we visited a number of publishers to discuss our idea for Warframe. We visited some of the top Asian free-to-play publishers and took in their feedback. It was a little like a horror show. First, they told us our early ideas for Warframe would fail because, while it was very pretty, Western developers like us would never be able to iterate fast enough to keep up with the demand of a free-to-play audience. Second, they told us it would fail because it was a PVE game [player-vs.-environment]. And third, they told us that nobody wanted sci-fi games.

We listened to their collective feedback and considered it all. We then created Warframe on our own terms, as both developer and publisher. We made a free-to-play science fiction game that’s PvE, and we have iterated as often as we can possibly do with quality storylines, deep, impactful game features, an expansive universe, and we’re now on our 33rd Warframe – Harrow! We made the very game that the collective publishing intelligentsia had told us would never succeed. And, well, here we are =)

Source:
Warframe sets a new record on Steam
Digital Extremes celebrates Warframe’s four-year milestone

Robin TGG
What’s the history behind the TennoCon event? How did it all start? And what’s your gameplay for TennoCon 2017?

Source:
Digital Extremes has announced their second annual Warframe conference Tennocon 2017

Rebecca:
TennoCon happened because we had spent three years traveling around the world to meet our players. But only a handful of us get to do that – eight or so of us travel and there are over 150 people missing out on meeting some of the kindest and nicest players! We wanted to bring a convention to our hometown (London, Ontario, Canada) so that Warframe players could get a handcrafted experience, and our team could get to meet the people who love what they do!

Robin TGG
I still remember that one time when a couple got married for real in Warframe, and from what I can tell that event became a big success. So is that something that you would like to see more of in the future? (special in-game events by fans and whatnot).

Source:
You are invited to a Warframe wedding

Rebecca:
Yes haha – When players connect so deeply with Warframe that they want to include it in life’s milestones, it means a lot to us, and we want to facilitate these events as often as we can!


Robin TGG
Digital Extremes and Warframe sure aren’t strangers to charity. In the matter of fact, last year’s TennoCon managed to collect 75,000 USD for charity, and this year’s edition of the event aims to double that amount of money (TennoCon 2017 has partnered up with Covenant House Toronto). So I take it that this is something that you intend to do in the future as well? And how has the response been towards your charity events so far?

Source:
Stack-up: Prime charity wrap-up

Rebecca:
Yes, we plan on donating a portion of the event’s proceeds to a charity organization. This year we have partnered with the Covenant House Toronto, a truly invaluable community organization that helps kids transition through tough times, homelessness, difficult family situations and more. We will announce the amount soon after the show has ended.

Robin TGG
How do you keep up with all the updates and new content that you release for “Warframe”? Because from my point of view, you seem to do that quite often.

Rebecca:
I play the game a LOT. I mean, it’s my job to work on Warframe, but I also love it and have made many friends playing it, and so it’s really the best of both worlds.

nintendo switch

Will “Warframe” find its way to the Nintendo Switch console in the future? Time will tell.

Robin TGG
Warframe is already out for PC, Xbox One and PS4, but will we ever see Warframe on the Nintendo Switch console?

Rebecca:
We don’t have any immediate plans to bring Warframe to Switch, but we’re always looking at new possibilities and opportunities that make sense for the game and our players.

Robin TGG
What were your reactions when you heard that your company had been picked as one of the top ten best companies to work for in Canada back in 2011? (“Ten Best Companies To Work For”, canadastop100).

Source:
Canada’s top 100

Rebecca:
I was surprised and happy. I am grateful to be working with such a talented group of people. Digital Extremes is a great place to work; I agree with their choice!

warframe new weapons

Will Digital Extremes be able to keep “Warframe” interesting, fresh and fun to play in the future as well? The future will decide that for us.

Robin TGG
How do you intend to keep “Warframe” fresh, interesting and fun to play in the future?

Rebecca:
We constantly update the game. We fix things, add new content, experiment with ideas, and listen to our community. The idea for the Warframe Harrow has been around for years, yet it hadn’t been used. After Octavia’s Anthem, we needed to something a little…darker. Harrow fit the bill perfectly.

Robin TGG
I have been with many different kinds of game communities since the 90s. Even so, I still have to admit that the Warframe community is quite something else, because from my point of view. The community appears to have been very supportive of Warframe throughout the years. So what do you think it is that makes the Warframe community different from any other game community?

Rebecca:
A couple of things have created the framework for this community, starting with the fact that Warframe is primarily a PvE game, i.e., it’s designed for people to play it with others. It’s a cooperative game, and like all coop games, the fun is amplified 10X when others are around to play it with you. Second, we have always dedicated ourselves to our community. We have a strong relationship, trust, and back and forth conversation that enables us to hear their feedback, reflect on what makes sense, admit when we are wrong, and build on their advice and opinions. It’s a two-way street (and it has had some bumps)!

Robin TGG
Is there anything new that you could tell us about “Keystone” that hasn’t been told yet? And what’s your own personal goals and expectations for that title?

Rebecca:
We are in early Closed Alpha at the moment, and so, like Warframe, we are spending a lot of time listening, watching, iterating and adding a LOT of content. Expect some more news in late summer or early spring.

Source:
Digital Extremes has announced a new first-person-shooter called “Keystone”
Keystone’s homepage

tennocon 2017 warframe

One of the things that Digital Extremes will focus on in the near future TennoCon 2017, because the event is just four days away now.

Robin TGG
What’s your plans, hopes and expectations for the rest of this year? And is there anything else that you would like to tell our readers?

Rebecca:
My plans? Haha. Well, when does TennoCon end? 😛 In all seriousness, our plans are to give our players as much love and goodness at TennoCon as we possibly can. We have great panels, speakers, activities, merchandise, and other treats in store – including a huge announcement to make (keep your eyes out for this one!). TennoCon is our second annual Warframe celebration and appreciation for our fans, and it happens Saturday, July 8. After that, we have more plans and announcements for Warframe and Keystone in the late summer/early fall, but, sadly, I cannot really talk about them just yet. I will say that, without revealing any secrets, this is going to be a really significant summer for both games. Big news is coming!!

tgg author avatar robin ek
Robin “V-Act” Ek
Editor in chief
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheGamingGround

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2 Comments ON " Interview with Digital Extremes Rebecca Ford ̵... "
  • Lord Vector

    I never had much interest in warframe but still an interesting read. Thanks!

    • Well, I gave the game a try to the PS4 while at a friends house, and I enjoyed it quite a bit =) Oh, thanks 😉 I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed our interview with Rebecca Ford =) We got more interviews coming up shortly!

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