Warframe COO Says Development Is "A Marathon, Not A Sprint"

Warframe COO Says Development Is "A Marathon, Not A Sprint"

Burnout doesn't help make Warframe happen.

The persistent online loot-ninja shooter Warframe announced a host of upcoming gameplay additions at its annual convention Tennocon. With a new expansion and spacefaring adventures on the way, that's a lot of game to develop; but Digital Extremes' chief operating officer Sheldon Carter says the team takes a longer-term approach to development, as opposed to crunching in short-term.

In an interview with Eurogamer, Carter notes that Warframe is an evolving game with only one immovable date—Tennocon—and it can move other updates around. But to build a game for as long as it has, it needs to be flexible.

"Warframe is a game that's been around for seven years and the reason why we've been around for so long is that our development team—generally speaking—take the idea that it's a marathon, not a sprint," Carter tells Eurogamer. "If we sprint, it's not going to work, it's not even a comment on crunch or the industry, it's literally for our business model to work, we have to treat it like a marathon. If we did treat it like a sprint, we'd be dead."

Being transparent has helped a little, Carter says, in setting those expectations. Doing activities like developer streams and being open about content delays builds a relationship between Digital Extremes and the community. Whether this model could work for other developers isn't quite so simple.

"I personally lived in the classic build-and-release cycle for a really long time, and I know that's incredibly hard to manage and to figure out and to meet deadlines, so I have a lot of sympathy and empathy for every developer that's in a different position than we are," says Carter. "We're in this great one, so I love it."

Crunch, or the practice of long and often mandatory overtime for developers leading up to a game's launch, has been an ongoing pain point for the video game industry. Studios like NetherRealm Studios and the now-shuttered Telltale Games went through periods of crunch, while other developers like Playground Games and 343 Industries have spoke out against the practice.

Digital Extremes is set to launch a lot of Warframe content over the coming months, including the spacefaring Empyrean update, a new open-world area, and The New War update coming this Christmas. There's a lot on the horizon for the space-ninja loot-shooter. It's comforting to know the developers of Warframe aren't working themselves to the bone to make it happen.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Eric Van Allen

News Editor

Eric is a writer and Texan. He's a former contributor to sites including Compete, Polygon, Waypoint, and the Washington Post. He loves competitive games, live music, and travel.

Read this next

Warframe Developer Responds to Recent Wave of Negative Reviews on Steam

Several issues with the Chinese Warframe community brought on a torrent of negativity.

Warframe Offers a Creative Battle Pass In the Form of a Radio Drama

That's one way to introduce a battle pass.

Warframe's Journey From Just Another F2P Shooter to One of the Best Games of the Generation

Warframe is five years old, with a new expansion and Switch port under its belt this month. We look back on how it got to this point.

Fortnite, Warframe, and More Get Mouse and Keyboard Support on Xbox One Next Week

Players will be matched with only fellow mouse and keyboard players.

Warframe's Blade Runner-Esque Fortuna Expansion is Coming to PC in November

The free, new open-world update has a lot of neon.

Warframe for Nintendo Switch Release Date Confirmed

We know when Digital Extremes' MMO is coming.

More News

If You're Bad at Tetris 99, You Can Now Squad Up For Help

The puzzle-battle royale hybrid just got friendlier.

Resident Evil's Newest Survivor is a Living Homage to "Jill Sandwich"

Martin should probably stay away from small rooms with descending ceilings.

The CEO of Japanese Indie Publisher Dangen Entertainment Resigns As Allegations of Harassment Mount

Ben Judd is stepping back from the publisher he helped found, as well as his "other industry endeavors."

More on PC

Once the King of PC Gaming, MechWarrior is Now the Big Stompy Ghost of a Bygone Era

A legacy series returns, and there’s little else like it in gaming today.

Resident Evil's Newest Survivor is a Living Homage to "Jill Sandwich"

Martin should probably stay away from small rooms with descending ceilings.

The CEO of Japanese Indie Publisher Dangen Entertainment Resigns As Allegations of Harassment Mount

Ben Judd is stepping back from the publisher he helped found, as well as his "other industry endeavors."

The Game Awards is Launching a New Initiative Featuring Limited-Time Demos of Upcoming Games

Over a dozen games will have demos available for a limited time.

Disco Elysium: How to Get to the Fishing Village and Close the Water Lock

We show you how to get across the water and into Land's End in Disco Elysium.

More MMO Games

Final Fantasy 14 May Have Just Been Confirmed for PS5

Will the realm be reborn again on a new console?

Rare Announces Everwild, Its Mysterious New IP

We got a glimpse of what Rare's next project is.

Bungie is Dropping Some Cryptic Teasers for Destiny 2

Turns out hitting level 999 was just the tip of the iceberg.