It’s been known for years that the Warframes we use to kick the asses of Corpus, Grineer and Infested weren’t always what we thought they were. They were never really just people. What they were, we didn’t know.
Early lore suggested that the original Warframes were feral and terrifying, hungry, destructive monsters. Rhino Prime’s codex entry (unlocked by owning Rhino Prime and viewing him in your Codex on your ship) was one such example, noting a story from an Orokin scientist, watching as an early Rhino Warframe kills and eats his fellow scientists, only to be calmed by the presence of sleeping Tenno in cryopods.
The idea that Warframes were once feral is continued in the quest The New Strange, as we confront a Chroma who literally only goes around breaking things.
The Sacrifice takes this further, giving us descriptions of angry, feral beasts. They were made using a specially designed, tamed strain of the Infestation, which is why most Warframes are at least somewhat organic. But the originals were angry, infested monsters. Angry beasts that the Orokin threw at the Sentients anyway, in the hopes that maybe something will hold. But these monsters were essentially uncontrollable, so they weren’t of any use until the Warframes were paired with Tenno to calm them down.
But let’s take a step back. That Rhino Codex entry mentions eating. Specifically the following:
The beast squats down, shovelling a heap of gore into its mouth.
These early were fucking monsters.
And I kinda felt like drawing Warframes with mouths.
Not all of the Warframes, of course. Because not all of them were originally feral. In fact, most probably weren’t. A lot of later Warframes were built specifically for their Tenno operators, were prototypes or had specific personalities when they were alive. Inaros, despite his ability to devour enemies and turn them into sand, probably looked similar to how he does today back when he was alive during the Orokin era. Titania, despite being animal-y, was designed to be like that and was a new Warframe being designed, as explained in her quest. And Harrow was probably built at the very end of the Orokin era, when things were dying down.
So I’m limiting this to the original 8 Warframes. Because they were the first Warframes to be released, I’m going to assume they were the first to be made and prototyped.
The idea was simple. Add the eyes, mouths, nostrils and ears that these Warframe prototypes would have. This is what I ended up making.
Well, it’s all terrifying.
Especially Trinity and Mag. Because honestly I just assumed they’d remove their protective face plates, just to reveal rows of horrible teeth. The rest of them are kinda simple, and it’s pretty easy to work out where a mouth would be. Maybe I went overboard on the eyes on Loki, but he seems the sort who would need a lot of eyes. Rhino, Excalibur and Volt all seem alright, all things considered.
I had no idea what to do with Ember. Probably for the best.
Of course, the original hungry Warframes were probably way wobblier than this. More lumps and indistinguishable parts. Parts that were then flattened into more appropriate shapes. But it’s also worth remembering that Warframes are basically Infested that are much more tame than the stuff we normally kill with flamethrowers. So it’s possible that they wouldn’t have had proper faces at all.
Still, it’s an interesting thought, and we got some nice drawings out of it.
Let’s just hope that our Warframes won’t go back to being feral monsters again…