It's hard to keep track of all of the free-to-play offerings that are out there, but you'll want to give the newly announced Warframe some extra love as an effort from The Darkness 2 developer Digital Extremes. The just-announced game will be host to a closed beta test in fall 2012 and you can sign up for it right now on the PlayWarframe.com website.
The teaser clip above hits all the right notes even if it's just a series of flash-frozen looks at some of the game's action moments. The press release describes the setting as a "new Dark Age" in outer space, with the alien Tenno rising up against their Grineer masters after centuries of enslavement.
Players enter the game as the tide starts to turn for the Tenno after they start using ancient technology, the titular Warframe exo-skeletons (stylized as WARFRAME), to aid them in their struggle. From the sound of things, finding and/or unlocking (and/or buying, presumably) new Warframes is a central part of the game.
The press release describes the game as a "PvE shooter" with "MMO-Lite" features, all built around four-player squads working together to improve their characters and fight in the ongoing Tenno/Grineer war. The game also features procedurally generated missions via an Automatic Mission Generator, with the aim being to create a fresh experience each time you play.
Interestingly, Warframe is actually not a new project for Digital Extremes. Steve Sinclair, the studio's chief creative director, reveals in a statement that the game "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."
Sounds good to me, especially with the talented team behind The Darkness 2 at the helm. There's no release date yet, though plans call for a full launch to follow the beta sometime "this winter."