Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.

Following

Tear Jerker / Warframe

Go To

You'd be surprised at how many sad moments there can be in a game about space ninjas.

Spoilers Off applies to all moments pages, so beware of unmarked spoilers.


  • From the tutorial missions, there is Ordis' desperate pleas for help when Vor's Ascaris seemingly takes full control of you.
    Ordis: Lotus... Lotus, do something! Save the Operator!
  • The whole Mirage quest.
  • Orokin Void Sabotage missions that have the Grineer involves a battle with a pair of Grineer sisters. The more immature sister, Sprag, will make emotional pleas to "Wake up... Ven'kra, wake up..." and "NOOO! NO! NO!" if Ven'kra Tel dies first.
    • Ven'kra will also be outraged if Sprag bites it first.
    "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HER?!"
  • As The Second Dream quest showed, while they were amoral, it's sad to think that the grand Orokin Empire has been reduced to just a handful of children in a galaxy mutated beyond their comprehension.
      Advertisement:
    • When The Stalker learned the truth, he stopped to look at himself for a moment...
  • The end of the Sands of Inaros quest, particularly the flashback of young Baro Ki'Teer hiding away, clutching a few grains of sand and praying to Inaros for salvation that wouldn't come as Grineer soldiers break into his house and execute his mother.
  • Ordis turns out to have one of the most tragic pasts in the game. He's a Virtual Ghost of a soldier who was so fatigued by war, so broken by the things he saw and the things he did that he, upon being offered immortality, proceeded to massacre the Orokin offering him the gift so they would be forced to execute him. Instead, the Orokin turned him into a then-mindless Cephalon out of spite, locking away his memories so they could use him as a resource later. When Ordis unlocks those memories he immediately erases them, because he doesn't want to remember. And from the way he phrases it, the dominant emotion in Ordan Karris was self-loathing.
    • In Octavia's Anthem, Hunhow is revealed to remember Ordis's past as Ordan Karris. He is not happy to hear this. Which stinks, because this is right before Hunhow actually does capture Ordis.
  • Near the end of Octavia's Anthem, Hunhow finishes corrupting Cephalon Suda. Ordis goes in to rescue her, but seemingly dies with her as well. The final message he automatically sends to the player is absolutely heartrending:
    Operator, if you are hearing this, I have failed to revive Cephalon Suda. That self-righteous Simaris was correct. You should probably try to isolate Hunhow, that data-murdering Sentient, before he claims more of my kind.
    I hope you can forgive me, Operator, for leaving you. There were times, like Suda, I wish I could have forgotten you. That grey ache of loneliness. Being without you was the greatest pain I have ever felt.
    Do you still remember that glorious day when you returned? So selfless and heroic, engaging all of my missing segments like that! I was ashamed of the mess, but you didn't care. You made me whole again!
    Or... or what about that time you returned - covered in blood - from that awful Grineer ship? I wasn't even mad at the gory mess you left behind.
    How could I be, when you are so perfect, Operator? You will always be.
  • The life and fate of Rell in Chains of Harrow. Even before the catastrophe which gave all the Tenno their powers he was an outcast, struggling with autismnote  that made it hard for him to understand emotions and experiencing sensory overloads from even the most mild of sensations. After the void incident Rell started to see and hear a being called "The Man in the Wall" and was completely ignored, with even Margulis - the only person who truly cared for the Tenno - refusing to believe him. Becoming an outcast all over again he left to form the Red Veil and serve as a ward against this "Man in the Wall", sealing himself via Transference into the Harrow Warframe and becoming the only Tenno who didn't go into stasis and thus was not found by the Lotus. Living on through his Warframe for centuries after his body died, the Red Veil restrained him to prevent him from lashing out. None of the other Tenno would discover him until his transference link begins to decay, and by that point he's under the control of The Man in the Wall and has to be given a Mercy Kill by destroying his Warframe to finally put his spirit to rest.
      Advertisement:
    • In a shocking bit of Fridge Horror, the player Tenno was with Rell on the Zariman Ten-Zero when it went through the Void, and afterwards when they became the Tenno. Which means they might have forgotten about Rell or ignored him like everyone else. Who's to say they weren't one of the ones who picked on or made fun of him: Rell himself is the only one who knows.
      • Possibly subverted — one of the dialogue choices in The Second Dream has the Tenno mentioning a fight with another child on the Zariman who was holding a third child by the throat. Given what we see in the comics, it's likely this was Rell, meaning the Operator stood up for him.
    • Even worse is that it's highly implied Rell was right.
    • The last thing Rell does before he finally passes on is ask who will protect the rest of the Tenno from the Man in the Wall after he's gone. Even now, after all those years trapped inside Harrow, and all the things the other children did to him, he still cared.
  • Advertisement:
  • Chains of Harrow. There were no records or mention of Rell anywhere when Lotus found the Tenno and took them as her own, and the realization that she not only missed one of her "children", but also that he's been suffering alone for centuries hits her hard. There is an unmistakable sense of urgency in her voice as she speaks of stabilizing Rell's transference link. Betraying how desperate she is to help him, and how guilty she feels for not being there. When Paladino suggests a Mercy Kill, she becomes noticeably silent and does not appear for the rest of the quest. Perhaps refusing to watch as the child she failed die.
  • The Apostasy Prologue. Where. Do we. Begin? After completing Chains of Harrow and building the new personal quarters on the Liset, Palladino sends you a gift. It's an orb of light that transports you to the moon. After a short walk where you follow these orbs, your operator comes face-to-face with the Lotus... Only for Ballas, the Orokin who weaponized the Tenno, to reveal himself, alive and well. Mistaking her for Margulis, he's followed by the Lotus, who removes her helmet and willingly holds his hand as they leave through a portal. The operator slowly picks up the Lotus's discarded helmet and hugs it, having never looked more like an orphaned child than they do now...
    • And just to add salt to the wound, With The Lotus gone, Ordis is now Mission Control, but instead of appearing as himself, he instead creates a virtual version of The Lotus. So now, every time she gives you directions, every time she congratulates you, every time she worries about you, it'll just remind you of what you lost.
  • Collecting Ghoul fragments while out on the Plains of Eidolon provides a bit of backstory for the warframe Khora. It's a doubly heartwarming and tearjerking anecdote by Corpus scientist Sigor Savah. While collecting gene records of Orokin-era creatures, he happened upon "Specimen VK-7," an intact kavat preserved since the Orokin era. Savah, being a Corpus, had initially intended to offer a kavat like VK-7 to the Corpus elite for a large fortune. However, after VK-7 willed herself back to life, Savah had a change of heart away from he profit-driven Corpus doctrine. He and VK-7 formed a bond of trust, leading to VK-7 bringing the hand of her master, Khora, to Savah in hopes that he could find her. This eventually lead to the Corpus trying to capture VK-7. Savah defiantly held off Corpus hunters sent after her, ensuring her escape, but leading to his own arrest. As he's about to be executed, Savah was saved by VK-7, and the two attempted to escape from Venus, where Savah was assigned. In order for him to escape, VK-7 closed his ground-to-orbit pod door and lunged at the enemy, ensuring he got off of Venus. This part is especially sad when listening to Savah telling the story. You can hear him fighting back tears as he recounts the loss of someone who possibly his closest friend.

  • Excalibur Umbra has the personality of the Dax it was transformed from. It has only one memory, that of its transformation into a warframe and then murdering his own son because Ballas forced him to. And it's been forced to relive it, over and over, for who knows how long.
    • What's even worse is that, the "Sacrifice" may refer to Excalibur Umbra's son. As Ballas puts it, "all miracles require sacrifice".
      • Umbra's consistently seen at the base of a cherry tree, howling in what seems to be fury - but it's actually loss. And closer examination suggests that the scenery surrounding the tree is full of memorial stones. Umbra's grieving in the graveyard of his family - the family that, true to his threat - Ballas had killed.
    • The one thing that makes the impact that much stronger, is that we can see how strongly his son loved and idolised his father. As well as his reaction of complete shock and fear when Umbra lashes at him.
    • Continuing from Apostasy Prologue, Ordis' desperate fumbling to cheer up the Operator after their Heroic BSoD, and failing badly. It's like watching someone who's never had experience being a foster parent trying to connect with their new ward, and it's painful.
    • The very end of the quest. Thought you were going to save the Lotus after killing Ballas? Nope. When you finally see her again, she's reverted to her original Sentient self, in both appearance and seemingly personality. To twist the knife further, you get to see Lotus - or rather, Natah - take Ballas's body and disappear to parts unknown once more, with the implication she's going off to rejoin her Sentient brethren.
  • Since the start of The War Within, the Operator has been slowly spiraling the path of insanity, mostly because of the apparition, The Man in the Wall. Especially after Rell's passing, they slowly seem to become unhinged, frequently seeing dark versions of themselves, taunting them in the comfort of their own orbiter. The poor Operator's grip on sanity slips even more after The Sacrifice, when they adopted Excalibur Umbra's memory as their own, fully believing that they had killed 'their son, Issah' in a dialogue with the said dark apparition. Without Lotus to comfort and keep the Operator grounded, they are treading down a dark path where they might lose themselves, just like Rell did.
  • Ballas is a callous monster, willing to sacrifice anyone and engineer the fall of an entire civilization. It is still hard not to feel pity when you come across the Chimera.
  • As of the Fortuna update, the entire concept of Fortuna is this. Crapsack World doesn't begin to describe it. The Solaris are enslaved to an offshoot of the already greedy and amoral Corpus, leading to a what is effectively a chain-ganged Slave Race who regularly replace parts of their bodies with equipment and machinery just to stay solvent. That same crushing debt can be passed from parent to child as a damning inheritance. Notably, almost every NPC has had their head and face replaced with some kind of sensor pack, lending them a deeply disturbing feeling. It's an exceptionally depressing place, even with flashes of hope in the form of brilliant subversives like Ticker or well-meaning conservationists like The Business.
    • Ticker's shop, where the player purchases debt-bonds, is a constant stream of people who are heavily in debt. Each case file is unique, and their punishments can be anything from "10 years hard labor on the Orb Vallis" to "Total bodily repossession and permanent brain-shelving. Debt passed to dependents". While it's possible to pay off the debts of some of these people, as Ticker themselves puts it when you exit their shop...
      Ticker: Check back in a little bit. New merchandise all the time. All the damn time.
  • The story of Ticker's Memory Fragments is a terrible tragedy. Ticker had a loved one that they cared about deeply, and that loved one ended up getting brain shelved. Ticker sold nearly all their body to pay back that debt and buy a body for that person, only to find that they didn't remember Ticker or almost anything at all about their former life. What worsens it is that before those events, they seemed to have a fairly rough dispute, and that was possibly the last time they interacted. It drives home how terrifying the idea of being in debt to the Corpus is.
  • During the Ropalolyst boss fight it's under the control of Natah, who contacts you, and reveals that her transformation into the Lotus was Heel–Face Brainwashing; now that she's been found by the Sentients, her program's been reverted, and she's not happy with what the Orokin did to her. The Lotus, adoptive mother of the Tenno, by all appearances, is gone - the only thing left in Natah is Natah, a deeply angry and bitter person who was forced to love the murderers of her species, and now hates them with equal intensity.
  • During Empyrean, you may find your way to the secret Erra quest, the prologue to the New War - and discovered it's named after the admiral of the Sentient fleet, Natah's brother. His Establishing Character Moment is him nearly killing a helpless Dax - only to stop when the Lotus personally comes to stop him, and his demeanor completely changes, showing that not only did the siblings get along, but that Erra literally does not comprehend that Natah may have become the Lotus willingly; he promptly proclaims his utter disgust for the Operators, who he feels had to have forced her to be their mother. It's one of the most human moments we've seen a Warframe villain have (ironic, given how he's a Sentient), and it lays out that no matter what happens in the New War, either the Tenno or the Sentients are going to feel utterly betrayed and hurt.
    • And then the unnamed clip after Erra contains several disturbing elements...to start off, Erra is utterly shocked when Natah recounts that she killed him during their confrontation on the moon, and tries to hastily write it off as her memories having been altered or not completely recovered. But Natah insists that Erra was killed, and Erra continues to give hasty excuses along with stating that their mother is apparently dead, also contrary to Natah's beliefs, and tells her she needs to heal from that the Makers did to her. When Natah asks if the leashed Ballas is one of the creators, Erra grabs Natah and throws her into some kind of containment field, telling, no, ordering her to "finish the War." He then drops Ballas' leash...who then stands up to his full height, beside Erra as an equal now as they watch Natah intently. The heartbreaking part comes in when you realize that even among her kin, Natah has apparently once again been betrayed to be used as a tool against her captor's enemies. She seriously just can't catch a break...
  • The final trailer for the New War has an Operator facing Natah and a swarm of Battlecysts. She is bombarded by memories of the Lotus speaking to her, comforting her, and the moment in the Second Dream when the Lotus comes in person. The trailer ends with Natah having made no sign of recognition; the Operator, tears streaming down her face, nevertheless readies her amp and charges.
  • The New War has so many moments.
    • The first casualty of the conflict among the Tenno's team? Teshin. After going ahead to try and clear out a path for the Operator, he ends up captured and forced to fight against Erra, ending with the Sentient lifting him into the air and giving him a Neck Snap. Completing the quest sees him replaced by an orange hologram at Relays, all but confirming that he's gone for good.
    • Natah is cast into the Void by Ballas, with the Tenno desperately trying to save her, even as she pleads with them to let her go. Just to twist the knife further, Ballas cuts off her hand to force the Operator to release her.
    • Ballas mocks the Operator over their failure before stabbing the Tenno with his sword, sending them into the Void as well.
    • The Sentients win the New War. All that preparation done since the end of The Sacrifice was All for Nothing. Now Ballas rules over the system as Narmer, with all hope of opposing him seeming lost.
    • During your first playable sequence as The Drifter, you can find several Ostrons trapped in cages. Their quotes are a mixture of defiance against their captors and begging for you to help save their families, as well as unsureness on whether the Unum still lives.
    • The Drifter has taken up residence inside the crashed remains of the Operator's ship. Seeing your old home now stuck in nature is a bit sobering.
    • Inside the Somatic Link within the Drifter's camp, you can find the Lotus, now a spectral figure resembling an Eidolon. Ordis, still standing vigil of the ship, indicates that she is fading. To finally have the Lotus back, only to see that she is dying, can really tug on the heartstrings.
    • Who is the Drifter? They're the Operator, only...without their Void powers. Which means no amps, no Warframes no...Tenno. The Operator themselves even tell Ordis not to call them "Operator" any longer, because they're not that—they're just...some person, forced into hiding by Ballas. It really hammers in just how thoroughly Ballas has won.
    • The visit to Fortuna can really bring a few tears to your eyes.
    • While Hunhow is certainly a villain, it's still possible to feel a measure of sympathy for him when the Drifter meets with him on Uranus and spells out that the Sentient Destroyer of Worlds is now just waiting to die, bitter over how Ballas has manipulated his son into betraying him.
    • As you hunt down the Archons, you overhear Hunhow and Erra arguing with one another, and you can see just how conflict Hunhow is with opposing his son. Hunhow knows that Ballas is manipulating Erra, but the latter is still bitter over how Hunhow lost the Old War, while Ballas lead the Sentients to victory—and by 'victory', we mean he rules alone, with Erra as his subordinate, as Hunhow attempts to point out to Erra. For all the talk of victory, however, it becomes clear that all Ballas has done is put the Sentients right back under the boot of an Orokin.
      Erra: A curious weapon, Drifter. You seem to have made a powerful friend.
      Hunhow: They have me, Erra. Until you come to your senses. Ballas is not one of us. He is a parasite, adapting to whatever suits him. He is using you, and our kind. Surely you see that.
      Erra: See what?! A century of your FAILURES?! Your betrayal of your own people? Narmer has given our people more than you ever could: Victory. When MY Archons have crushed this scant-fly, you'll be back to rotting in the deep. Alone.
    • Their second conversation isn't much better in that regard.
      Hunhow: Erra. Call off these aberrations! Give your sister a second chance at freedom. Are you so blind to the truth?! You haven't won! YOU... are a DAX in every way but name! A servant to the old Golden Lord.
      Erra: A second chance?! I see... You're not just trying to stop my Archons from finding her. You're trying to bring her back yourself. Either way, she'll soon be returned to us, and this time, as Natah. Purged of Tenno lies and Human weakness!
    • In the Third conversation, Hunhow's quiet, sincere question is a sobering reminder that the destroyer of worlds is still a father.
      Erra: Why do you conspire against me, father? There is peace and dominion now. The first in centuries. Our people will finally flourish as we were meant to, atop the pyramid of living things. All of us...as one.
      Hunhow: Are you trying to convince me? Or yourself, son?
    • The first time you give Natah a restoration crystal from an Archon, she tries to bite you after receiving it. Given just how much the Operator looked up to her, it clearly stings.
    • The second time you give Natah a crystal, she tries to attack you because she doesn't recognize you. The ensuring attempt to flee her ends only when Ordis throws himself in the path of her attack and is destroyed. Fortunately he survives, as it was just a Remote Body.
    • The final time you revisit the Zariman reveals the true nature of the Drifter — they aren't a grown up Operator. They're an Alternate Universe version of the Operator who not only never received their Void powers, but also was never rescued from the Zariman 10-0. The only reason they "escaped" now is because, since they and the Operator are the same person, they were sent out in the Operator's place to prevent a Temporal Paradox. And given by how much they aged, they must have been stuck in the Zariman 10-0 for years, and are implied to have spent that entire time completely alone.
    • When Erra realizes where his path has led to, he immediately makes a Heel–Face Turn to help you rescue Natah. He's last seen holding up some debris to allow you to progress on to save his sister, all while being blasted with intense solar radiation, before apparently being crushed under the debris.
      • Veilbreaker makes this even worse; Somehow Erra's corpse was later reanimated using an Archon Ram head. The result is only vaguely reminiscent of Erra, and is much more warped and unhinged than he ever was. It's apparent from The Lotus's reaction that she sees this as a Fate Worse than Death for her brother.
    • The final battle with Ballas as he forces the Lotus to attack you before turning on her has some very uncomfortable parallels to Domestic Abuse. Ballas throwing all blame for his actions onto the Lotus and Margulis by proxy for not being totally obedient to him. The Lotus offering to stay with him, to be whatever he wants, as long as he promises not to hurt her child(ren). The Operator trying to stop him, to little avail... until they manage to put one of Ballas' own veils on him.
      • And what does the Veil make Ballas see? Margulis as she once was, proclaiming her love for him. It's enough to stop the rampaging tyrant in his tracks, and he doesn't even think twice when "Margulis" tells him to kiss her, as part of Lotus' gambit to absorb the energy from the stolen Archon shard into herself, killing him in the process. Abusive, controlling, and tyrannical despot that he was, he still loved Margulis, in his own twisted way.
  • During Archon Hunt missions, Lotus is clearly conflicted about fighting Pazuul, since he's essentially puppeteering Erra's corpse. While she acknowledges that her brother was a villain who needed to be stopped, she still mourns the being he could have been without Ballas' manipulations.
    • Even worse, transmissions during some Archon Hunt missions will reveal that Erra is still alive within Pazuul's consciousness, and it's implied that he's aware of everything that Pazuul does using his body.
    • During an Archon Spy Mission, clearing two of the three vaults will prompt this message from Erra:
    Erra: Tenno, I'm truly sorry.... for everything. I saw the truth far too late. She will never forgive me... but you will, won't you?
Top