As with everything in Warframe, we always get a Grineer version of a thing first, followed by a Corpus version. This has been the case for ages. For example, we got the Plains of Eidolon, which is Grineer, then later on we got Fortuna, which is Corpus. The same will happen with Railjack and, eventually, Kuva Liches.
But how would Corpus Liches even work?
At first, this seems like an easy question to answer. You just have randomly generated Corpus enemies, the same way you do for Grineer Liches. The process would be similar too. You have your Parazon, you put mods on it, you stab the Lich, if it’s wrong they level up, if it’s right, they die. You also stab Kuva Thralls and they give you information on what mods you need to use.
Thematically though, that doesn’t work.
The Grineer have this pseudomagical thing called Kuva. Kuva is a strange substance that is clearly linked to eternal life or life essence or… something. And it is mainly just a Grineer thing right now. Alright, sure, the Orokin had Kuva and the Sentients tried to obtain it, but these days the Grineer have the monopoly on the black and red stuff.
The Coprus however never really got into Kuva. There’s no real established connection between Corpus and Kuva. Sure, we have seen instances where Corpus use Orokin tech, but they seem to avoid the red liquid.
If they want Liches, the Corpus need something else.
But what should the Corpus use?
Well, let’s think about what the Corpus are known for. Money, mega-capitalism, technology, robots and a huge financially motivated society that’s nigh impossible to climb. So we have some themes, we just need to find a way to tie that into two things: a recurring enemy that can come back after being killed; and a reason for someone to want to kill you.
The second option is pretty easy. While the Grineer mostly just want control and revenge, the Corpus are schemers. They get upset if you fuck with their business. Or make them lose money. So a Corpus entity, perhaps a company that lost money because of Tenno actions, would be a good enemy that would create Corpus Liches in the first place.
What would a Corpus enemy send to attack the Tenno?
So perhaps the CEO of a Corpus company wants to send a henchman after you, after you make him lose money. The Corpus are known for their technological prowess AND their augmentation. So a super-powered mecha-henchman could totally be possible, perhaps using different weapons and Corpus tools every time you see them. We already have Scrambus and Nullifier units, so we can have some challenge there as well.
Aside from people like John Prodman though, we don’t really get actual people fighting. Most of the Corpus we fight are lowly engineers and workers, and they send their robots to fight. Heck, most big Corpus bosses are robots, so it makes sense that a Corpus Lich would also be robotic. We’ve seen the “Animo” AI in the past with Ambulas, and that gives us a strong base.
Although, if I’m honest, I don’t think I want another Ambulas boss. Something like a Hyena, Zanuka or even a Bursa would probably work better.
What about Amalgams?
Sure, Amalgam Liches could work, but the thing with Amalgams is that they’re only part Corpus and don’t really get into the nitty gritty parts of Corpus lore. All the Amalgam stuff we’ve seen is basically Alad V’s mistake, creating a hybrid between Sentient and Corpus. It’s not true Corpus. Plus, we’ve had enough of Alad V’s antics anyway. With so many Corpus out there, we need to take a break from that manipulative, Valkyr-hurting asshole.
Amalgams also have the issue of getting in the way of a potential Sentient lich as well, but I don’t think we’ll ever get that far.
For a similar reason, I don’t think an Orb enemy like the Orb Vallis bosses Profit-Taker and Exploiter Orb would work well either, since they’re paired with Sentient tech. Plus, they already have their own stories.
So what do I think?
Personally, I think the AI robot route is the best bet for a Corpus Lich. I think it slots much more neatly into the same positions that Grineer Liches do. An AI robot also cleanly deals with the adaptation and killing them thing that Liches do. If the Tenno break one, then you just build another robot and transfer the AI into that, and the ‘death’ of the robot spurs the AI onwards.
As to when we’ll actually get Corpus Liches, or whether they will even work the same way Grineer ones do, that’s yet to be seen. Frankly, Liches weren’t that well accepted by the community, so I doubt whether we’ll ever even see Corpus Liches in the future…