Exoprimal is one of Capcom’s new franchises, and it’s quite different from its other legacy titles like Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Mega Man. Many Capcom games are lauded for their replayability, but this cooperative dinosaur horde shooter is banking even more on players coming back over and over to slay some raptors. Given the crowded market, it’s a big bet, so lead gaming editor Michael Leri recently talked to director Takuro Hiraoka, art director Takuro Fuse, and technical director Kazuki Abe about the game, how the team is planning to keep it fresh, why it’s launching on Game Pass, and more.
Michael Leri: Can you speak to the process and difficulties associated with pitching a new IP?
Takuro Hiraoka: When creating a brand-new IP, everything is going to be started entirely from scratch. That means you have to ask, “What sort of gameplay is it going to be? What sort of concepts does it have? What sort of world is it in? What sort of characters and enemies will it have?” Everything is going to be from the ground up brand new. So coming up with all of those components is something that’s going to be challenging for creating a brand-new IP like Exoprimal.
And so conceptually, it is five exosuits on a single team going head-to-head against a very, very large number of dinosaurs. And so the technical components of getting that massive volume of dinosaurs on the screen is also something that was very challenging for us.
Obviously having only a handful of dinosaurs wouldn’t make the game so exciting. So we as Capcom really wanted to push ourselves to make that number of dinosaurs very impressive and very overwhelming for the player. And the technical components of getting there were a little bit challenging. So we had to work with a variety of partner companies to make sure we were able to get it to that point. But we’re very excited with the outcome.
What steps have you taken to make sure it stays replayable and doesn’t get repetitive over however many hours you choose to play it?
Kazuki Abe: One of the main points of Exoprimal is with every play session, you’re going to have a different experience: the enemies that you’re going to see on screen, the enemies that you encounter, the missions are going to rotate every time. Sometimes you’ll get the same ones, sometimes they’ll be very different.
Every different experience brings that challenge, but also that excitement of figuring out how do you, as a team, overcome these various challenges? It may seem simple in this round, but the next round might not be so simple. And that constant changing of missions and enemies is part of what we hope will keep Exoprimal enjoyable to players for a long time.
How does the team go about making all of the suits unique and viable at the same time?
Hiraoka: All of the 10 exosuits have unique designs and gameplay styles, and that is in line with the game design itself. With this variety of missions, each of the exosuits is going to have its own unique skills and roles. There are assault types, tank types, and support types, each with their own flair.
Thinking about the gameplay and the missions that are coming, one question that popped up is what sort of exosuit do we want to create? What sort of playstyle, attack style, or support style do we want this to have? Do we want it to be a tank suit that protects people with a giant shield? Do we want it to be a support class that heals in close proximity? Do we want something that’s going to do damage from a long distance?
And after putting a lot of thought into the types of exosuits we wanted to have in the game based on the missions and enemies, we decided to work on designs and playstyles and found ways to make both the aesthetic and the playstyle match the vision we had for the different concepts that we had.
Takuro Fuse: So in terms of design, variation of gameplay styles is an important thing, not just in Capcom titles, but any sort of combat and fighting games as well. That is part of the forefront of what went into the design of these characters. There’s the mecha component to them, and these characters do look very robotic. But at the same time, we wanted to make it a point to infuse character and personality into each one.
So it’s the combination of that aesthetic of the mech, but also its own unique personality and flair when it’s on the battlefield: the heroic type, the tough type, someone who looks like a pro wrestler, and then the sleek, nicely framed characters and whatnot. But again, these are not humans — they are mechas — so finding that balance between that personality and that aesthetic was very important. And then there was some inspiration that came from Japanese culture and anime as well. All of these things really came together in this beautiful blend of what we see in the world of Exoprimal.
How has player feedback shaped the game and how important will feedback be after launch?
Abe: Feedback has been very important. In the beta phases, we’re looking on how to improve Exoprimal going into launch and after launch, as well. Player feedback is going to be very important. We hope to look at this in two ways. One is the standard method of looking at responses on social media and community forums such as Reddit and whatnot and seeing what opinions are being thrown around there.
The other [method] is using the gameplay data that’s going to be collected. And so looking at that and analyzing things, for example, where are players really sticking around? Are they dropping out of certain missions? Does it appear like certain missions are very boring to them? Are they really struggling with specific missions that they’re facing up against? Are they dying a lot in specific areas? Looking at comments online and the gameplay data we get and finding ways to balance the game and keep the experience optimal is what we’re going to do.
Capcom games don’t usually launch on Game Pass. What are you hoping Game Pass brings to this game?
Abe: Exoprimal is an online-only game. And so part of the joy is going online whether you’re playing with friends or complete strangers and then playing against friends and strangers. The game is built in such a way where the cross-platform matchmaking is also an option, so you’ll be able to play against people on other platforms. And so you connect with a variety of individuals, whether they’re people you know or not.
And with those various connections, you build various relationships and have various gameplay experiences. And because of that varied experience, it should hopefully make the experience of playing the game more enjoyable for you and others who are there in your matches as well.
Exoprimal is also a new IP, so there’s a lot of unfamiliarity with what the game has to offer. By offering the game on Game Pass, it allows an additional group of folks to be able to join in this cross-platform fun, but it also allows people who are unsure about the game to give it a try for themselves and to really experience and understand the charm of the game and what it has to offer. And then they’ll use that to tell their friends and family about it and really spread the word. So it’s really another stepping stone for getting folks interested in and enjoying what Exoprimal has to offer.
Fuse: So we do understand that recent science depicts dinosaurs with feathers and whatnot. And we actually did consider incorporating the feathers into the design of the dinosaurs.
But when thinking a little bit more, we wanted to create enemies that looked really cool and were very strong, tough opponents, but also something that was going to be familiar to the player. So someone can look at the screen and go, “Oh, I know that dinosaur. That really is exciting.” Having that familiarity really brings home the enjoyment of the game that much more. So that’s the reason ultimately why there are no feathers on the dinosaurs.