Exoprimal's Takuro Hiraoka reveals new PvE modes and possible collaborations with other Capcom IPs

The director of Exoprimal, the new mech-versus-dinosaur IP from Capcom, shares what the dev team has learned from user feedback on the game's betas.


Exoprimal, a new IP from Capcom that features exosuits and hordes of dinosaurs, has had a closed network test and an open beta. This third-person action game features a variety of exosuits that players use to compete against each other in teams of five in Dino Survival mode, which incorporates elements of both PvP and PvE. That said, some players are concerned that there wasn't enough PvE content in the betas and want to know how bots and matchmaking will work in the final release. The game's website also hints that there will be future collaborations with other Capcom franchises.

Fortunately, we had the opportunity to ask about all these issues in an interview with several members of the Exoprimal’s development team, including director Takuro Hiraoka, art director Takuro Fuse, and technical director Kazuki Abe. All the answers they gave were translated by Capcom’s Dominic Abordo, with clarity for one answer provided by Capcom’s Kasey Whitteaker. They share how the development team has addressed the wealth of user feedback from the betas.

Exoprimal Interview Dinosaurs
Controlling a massive dinosaur using the Dominator is one of the most thrilling parts of Exoprimal's PvP modes.

Source: Capcom

Shacknews: One of the best parts of Dino Survival from what I played behind closed doors is the ability to change into a dinosaur using the Dominator item and wreck the other team. Was it difficult to balance the gameplay between the exosuits and the dinosaur transformation?

Takuro Hiraoka: Regardless of what type of game it is, the idea of gameplay balance is an ongoing conversation that really doesn’t end. So with Exoprimal in particular, the Exosuits, they’re state-of-the-art. They are some of the strongest beings in existence at the time of the game. The reality is that dinosaurs are also historically some of the strongest creatures that have ever roamed. So when players are going up against dinosaurs, the reality is that it’s the strongest versus the strongest, and it’s a battle of who’s going to come out on top as the strongest of the strongest.

So when using the Dominator, balance of course is an important thing. The Dominator itself summons large dinosaurs like the triceratops, the carnotaurus, and the Tyrannosaurus rex. And the idea of calling it the Dominator is that transforming into this large beast that is powerful, that is intimidating — it really has this strong presence to it. And if the balance is adjusted too much, then it really compromises the strength, the threat, that the dinosaur presents. So while gameplay balance of course is important, this particular feature of the Dominator was built in such a way that doesn’t compromise the strength and intimidation that is presented by these large dinosaurs that you’re summoning out of the Dominator. 

At the same time, the gameplay experience has to be enjoyable, while it allows you to turn the tables in a match. It’s one of the features that really allows you to catch up if you’re behind, for example, so it does add a lot of fun components to the game without taking too much away from the gameplay.

Shacknews: Also, has the team thought about making a mode where everyone plays as a dinosaur?

Hiraoka: The Dominator allows players to summon a dinosaur to bring that strength, that threat, to the match, and wreak havoc on the opposing team. It’s a limited item. It’s really a clutch item if you’re stuck in a situation — you can really turn the tables and it can really level the playing field for your team. So by having that available, that special item that players can use to catch up and keep things fair.

If everyone plays a dinosaur, it might not quite be as special so to speak. At present, we are not considering any mode where people are all playing as dinosaurs.

Shacknews: If a team happens to lose a player during a match, will other players be able to jump in? Will there be settings to control whether missing players will be replaced by AI bots or other players?

Hiraoka: When players get disconnected, for example, or someone from their team decides to leave a match, that player will be replaced by default by a bot. In the OBT (Open Beta Test), that bot didn’t necessarily have a whole lot of variation, but moving into launch, we’re looking into making sure that exosuit bot also has variety to it, that it's not using necessarily the same exosuit the entire time to really keep the gameplay interesting and intriguing on a fair level across both teams.

Shacknews: Will there be any alternatives to voice chat for communication? Like text chat, pings, or specific commands?

Hiraoka: So in terms of alternate forms of communication, there are a couple of different options players will have. The ping system, for example, will allow players to pinpoint where they are going — they’ll put little markers on something so they know what target they’re going for.

And then separate from that, the game also offers a variety of chat-type features such as stamps, for example. Stamps will have different messages, such as “Let’s go!”, “Let’s take down the dinosaur!”, various things like that. So those stamps can be used as a communication form. And then players will also have a variety of emotes at their disposal as well. Those emotes can be used as another tool for communication.

At present, there are no plans for text chat for the game.

Exoprimal Interview Modules
Modules allow multiple adjustments to exosuits by improving base stats and abilities.

Source: Capcom

Shacknews: In our play session because it was early in the game, we didn't have the ability to experiment with many modules that can alter the abilities of an exosuit. Do you have any examples of modules that significantly change how an exosuit plays, or any modules that you would like to highlight?  

Hiraoka: So in terms of modules, there are two types. The first is what we call base modules, which can be used across all suits. And there will be a variety of smaller power-ups, such as reduction to damage, which puts down the amount of damage, and making your suit faster. These are usable across all suit types, regardless of what suit you’re suing.

And then there’s also going to be a second type of module, which are created for specific exosuits. Those modules will change the nature of exosuits, attacks, and other active skills. So it becomes a question of do you use the module? Do you not use the module? If you’re going to use one, which one are you going to use? And you can look at which skills you want to modify within that suit’s arsenal.

So for Deadeye, for example, Deadeye has an attack that launches a grenade. And it goes at a bit of an arc and it flies out into a location. One of the modules being created for Deadeye specifically allows a player to pinpoint a specific area to target with a grenade and it will go at that specific target. It also increases the speed of the grenade and can do a little bit more damage. So when going up against a large dinosaur, for example, this module can become really handy because you can better target what you’re trying to attack with this module and do a bit more effective damage. So of course it becomes more fun for in-game strategy, but it also adds that fun component of what sorts of builds as a player do you want to make outside of the gameplay itself.

Kasey Whitteaker from Capcom (for clarity): The rifle grenade module there, it’s not necessarily that you pinpoint a location to fire the grenade. It makes the grenade fire in a straighter path rather than on an arc, so you can fire it similar to a bullet. So it does provide more accuracy, but it’s not like you’re scanning around changing the camera angle. It just flies more straight as opposed to on an arc. 

Shacknews: A lot of players who had the chance to play the Exoprimal beta say they want a PvE mode where they can kill hordes of dinosaurs without any PvP elements. What kind of PvE modes can they expect with Exoprimal at launch or after launch?

Kazuki Abe: In the various betas, there were a handful of PvE missions that are available. The full game will offer even more of the PvE experience that are additional PvE missions from what you’ve seen in the beta so far. For example, working together as a team of ten to go up against challenging enemies, and in some instances you can consider it a boss battle sort of thing. So going up against a horde of strong enemies, working to take them down.

We can’t go into too many specifics at this time, but we want to reassure you that there’s going to be a wide variety of PvE missions available to players, even beyond what has been experienced in the beta so far.

Exoprimal Intervie PvE Neo T-rex
This Neo T-rex was a boss that a large team of players could try to bring down in the closed network test. There will be more PvE modes like this in the final release.

Source: Capcom

Shacknews: Was there anything in particular that the development team learned from user feedback on the Exoprimal betas?

Hiraoka: So a variety of players did join the OBT, and we’re very appreciative of the large number of folks who gave their opinions on the post-OBT survey as well as on social media. There was a wide variety of opinions and feedback, and we actually really do appreciate and take into consideration most of what was said across all of these platforms.

Dino Survival offers a variety of experiences going head-to-head against dinosaurs, going head-to-head against another team of players. And for a lot of people that experience is very exciting, that variety. There were some folks who didn’t necessarily agree with that experience being the most optimal. There were players who, for example, wanted PvE-only and did not like the PvP.

So based on this variety of pains that were appearing in these forums, the dev team really looked at what sort of additions can we make to the base game to make the game even more enjoyable for a larger player base, to really provide that satisfying gameplay experience for them. So as I mentioned earlier, adding a variety of high-difficulty missions where a team of ten will go against a very challenging enemy or boss, for example.

As we’ve announced on our official website and the information site, we are working on an additional feature that allows teams to play in a pure PvE or co-op-only sort of mode that removes any direct conflict with another opposing team. And so the two teams are going through a variety of PvE missions, and the team that completes those missions first will be considered the winner. So these are in addition to the base game that’s already being built out and offered to folks. Again, we’re very appreciative of the feedback we’ve received and we want to do what we can to really make this game as enjoyable of an experience for everyone as possible.

Shacknews: The official website notes that Exoprimal will have future collaborations with other Capcom games. At a glance, Dino Crisis, Monster Hunter, Hauzer from Red Earth, and maybe Cadillacs and Dinosaurs would make a lot of sense. Are you able to reveal any hints about what these collaborations might be? If not, are there any particular Capcom franchises that you would love to see with Exoprimal?

Hiraoka: So unfortunately, as I’m sure you’ve imagined, information on collaborations at this point is top secret, so we’re not able to say. That said, we do see that fans are speculating a variety of Capcom series would be a really good match. And we find it really enjoyable to see how they’re speculating on potential collaborations that are available.

There are a lot of good IPs in the Capcom library that of course would fit with Exoprimal. So, that said, Leviathan as an advanced AI is obviously able to summon dinosaurs from the past into the future. What else can Leviathan do? It’s really… we want folks to speculate and see what they think might be coming, things to look forward to. What’s going to come? We’re very curious to hear. But we hope that you’re looking forward to seeing what we’re bringing to the table.

Exoprimal is set to release on July 14, 2023 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC via Steam and Windows Store. It will also be available through Xbox Game pass on launch day.

Contributing Editor

Once upon a time, Nick's parents confiscated his Super Nintendo because he was "playing it too much." He has secretly sworn revenge ever since. Nick is now a freelance writer for various video game sites. Powered by iced green tea, he typically plays RPGs of all kinds like Shin Megami Tensei, Elder Scrolls, and Fallout. In his spare time, he follows the latest season of Critical Role.

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