Long ago, in October 2012, the Tenno began their mission to bring balance to the Origin System. At the time, I’m sure most players felt exotic weapons, ninja skills, and space magic were sufficient for the task at hand. But little did they know how their arsenal would expand.
In March of 2013, Update 7 landed, ushering in the now comically long ‘open beta’. Part of this update was the arrival of Sentinels—small robotic companions that tag along on missions, providing various forms of support. Sentinels are themselves fairly elaborate. They can be equipped with different weapons, and modded to suit various playstyles. I imagine most players didn’t expect much more aside from the occasional introduction of a new one.
In July 2014, Update 14 brought the Kubrow into our lives—dog-like creatures hatched from an egg, in an incubator, on our very own spaceship! For realz. They can be modded like Sentinels, and they come in different breeds with different personality traits. Now, if only they could roam freely around the ship like a real pet. Update 14.5 made it so.
Well, we’ve got dogs, might as well have cats. Am I right? Yeah I’m right. As of July 2016 we can breed Kavats, cat-like companions with their own special abilities and personalities. What’s more, we now get to decide when, or even if, we want to mature our pets into battle ready adulthood, allowing us to keep them in puppy/kitten state indefinitely. Who doesn’t love puppies and kittens?
At this point, one might think Warframe had taken the companion system as far as it could go, but they would be wrong. Update 19.5 brought with it a curious new mechanic where Warframes can contract a sort of Infested infection. This infection manifests itself as a cyst. Someone at DE apparently saw this and thought—new companion! The cyst can be drained and combined with a Kubrow egg to give rise to a Helminth Charger: half Kubrow, half Infested, and 100% badass. Thus Hera was born.
The evolution of companions in Warframe is typical of just about every element within the game. It is perpetually evolving, improving, and expanding in new directions. At this point, the only thing I’ve come to expect is the unexpected. As for the future of companions, Plains of Eidolon will introduce open world gameplay, perhaps a horse would be in order.