Exoprimal Director Confirms It ‘Has No Relationship to Dino Crisis’
Image via Capcom

Interview: Discussing Exoprimal, Its Dinosaurs, and Dino Crisis

Now that Exoprimal is here, we have an idea of what it’s like to join together with friends to face tons of dinosaurs. Capcom kicked it off, as well as the promise that other series like Monster Hunter and Street Fighter will come to the game. To help get a better idea of what went into making the game and we could see in the future, Siliconera spoke with Exoprimal Director Takuro Hiraoka about the project. Hiraoka also noted that, “if there’s enough demand from players,” we could see Dino Crisis come to Exoprimal.

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Jenni Lada: First, how did you get started in the industry, and then what led you to working on Exoprimal?

Takuro Hiraoka: I’ve enjoyed video games since I was a young child, and I dreamed of becoming a video game creator as long as I can remember. I continued to hold onto that dream in both undergrad and graduate school. When the time came to look for work and think about the career I wanted, there were a lot of options, but I thought, ‘I want to make video games since they’ve been such an entertaining and enriching part of my life.’ That’s when I began submitting applications to game companies. I was fortunate enough to receive a job offer from Capcom, whose games I’d been playing since I was young. By the way, I have some extremely interesting memories from Capcom’s interview and entrance exam. Hahaha!

When development for Monster Hunter World: Iceborne began to settle down, I was approached to be part of a new project that involved creating a brand-new Capcom IP and building out new development technologies.

When did development on Exoprimal begin?

Hiraoka: Exoprimal’s initial concept was formed in 2018. The game then underwent development, technical testing, and other procedures to become the current version of Exoprimal that released in July 2023.
Exoprimal dinosaurs exosuits
There are 10 Exosuits in Exoprimal to start. What was the goal when designing each one and how did you ensure each felt different?

Hiraoka: Exoprimal was developed around the battle concept of a small number of players working together to defeat massive hordes of dinosaurs. We aimed to provide players with a variety of ways to succeed via satisfying and feel-good gameplay. To achieve that, Exoprimal offers players ten exosuits, which are split into three main roles.

Each class of exosuits contributes in a different way. Assault-type exosuits provide attack power, Tank-type exosuits offer a strong line of defense, and Support-type suits help keep their teammates alive. Within each of these roles, we tried to create different exosuits that carry out their specific jobs in different ways. Everyone will have different tastes, but we created a variety of options to allow everyone to find an exosuit or two that fits their personal preferences and playstyles. We hope you find an exosuit you love.

We also put a lot of effort into designing the aesthetic of each exosuit. We wanted players to be able to recognize exosuits easily while also being able to imagine how they perform in combat (for example skills, capabilities) based on their appearance.

Both Modules and Rigs will affect players’ abilities and Exosuits in Exoprimal. Will these all always be able to be earned in-game without additional purchases? Also, how did you balance them to ensure they don’t get too overpowered?

Hiraoka: No additional purchases are required to obtain the rigs and modules available in the game; they aren’t paid DLC. As players progress and raise their Player/Exosuit Levels, they receive a variety of rewards, which include rigs and modules. We’re also planning to add a variety of rigs and modules in post-launch Title Updates, all of which can be obtained in the same way.

The concept behind rigs and modules is to provide players with a tool that allows them to customize gameplay to better suit their preferred combat style. When equipped, rigs and modules offer players a bit of a power-up. While in development, we asked the development team to be careful to keep all rigs and modules fairly balanced rather than create distinctly superior equipment that would give players an unfair advantage.

That said, it was impossible for the development team to make satisfactory balance adjustments on our own. During the Closed Network Test and multiple Open Beta Tests, we collected players’ combat data as reference to help us make more informed gameplay adjustments. I think it’s important for the development team to repeatedly play the game and cross-reference gameplay data from individuals who actually played the game to optimize overall performance.

There are a mix of traditional dinosaurs and Neosaurs in Exoprimal. How did you determine which dinosaurs would appear in the game at launch?

Hiraoka: When selecting dinosaurs for Exoprimal, our first priority was making sure the dinosaurs were well-known. Second, it was important for each species of dinosaur to play a specific role and fit well within the intense action that players would be experiencing.

Outside of this, development staff in charge of creating enemies may have included their favorite dinosaurs as well. Haha!

exoprimal dinosaurs neosaurs

Image via Capcom

How did you then determine how the Neosaurs would build on the initial list of Exoprimal dinosaurs?

Hiraoka: Neosaurs’ role in Exoprimal is to further enrich gameplay by performing actions and attacks that regular dinosaurs can’t execute.

Normal dinosaurs primarily appear in hand-to-hand combat and can’t perform long-range or ranged attacked. As far as I know, a T. Rex can’t shoot a laser from its mouth. Haha! This limited the range of possibilities in battle, so creatures called Neosaurs were incorporated into the game to add additional layers of gameplay that weren’t possible solely with regular dinosaurs. Sniper Neosaurs can perform lethal ranged attacks while Gas Neosaurs can floor a team of nearby Exofighters with a deadly explosion. The Neo T. Rex, which players encounter in one of the earlier boss battles, is one of the more powerful Neosaurs in the game.

Once we’d decided on each of the Neosaurs roles and combat styles, it was necessary for them to aesthetically complement the world of Exoprimal. Taking the world of Exoprimal into account, we were able to come up with really cool designs that seamlessly combined features of regular dinosaurs with more sci-fi elements like vortexes and “Lo-Xol.”

With Exoprimal, there were multiple preliminary betas ahead of launch. What were the challenges in preparing these “slices” of gameplay, and how did the data and feedback shape the full version of the game?

Hiraoka: The Closed Network Test and Open Beta Tests were primarily used for testing game technology, so there were many contents from each test that were selected based on testing requirements. However, these betas provided a rare opportunity for people outside the development team to get hands on experience with Exoprimal before launch, so we made sure players were able to experience a variety of content from the game’s main mode, Dino Survival, when playing.

As mentioned previously, we collected players’ gameplay data during each of the pre-launch beta tests. This information played a crucial role in making battle balance adjustments prior to launch. It also provided helpful insight into which components players liked and didn’t like, which we took into consideration to further improve the game before launch. During the Open Beta Tests, we received feedback from some players who were more interested in PvE than PvP, so we incorporated a feature into the full retail version of the game that allows players to select their preferences for the final mission of each Dino Survival match, including the option for no direct combat with the enemy team.

We got a chance to see the post-launch roadmap for Exoprimal during the July 10, 2023 showcase. How does preparing for updates work? When did development for new content begin?

Hiraoka: In terms of Title Updates, we first decided on a rough outline of the contents to include and then moved forward with development. Similar to the to the Open Beta Tests, however, there’s a high possibility we’ll incorporate additional content into our plans based on player feedback post-launch.

A previous announcement noted that the team is investigating ways to offer fully integrated cross-play in Exoprimal. How difficult is that?

Hiraoka: At present, we are exploring ways to incorporate fully integrated cross-play into Exoprimal.

Street Fighter 6 Exoprimal Dino Crisis

Image via Capcom

A Street Fighter Exoprimal crossover was already announced. If you had free reign to pick additional collaborations, which ones would you like to pursue?

Hiraoka: I think it would be a lot of fun to have a collaboration with the Mega Man series, which I’ve been playing since my younger days. The idea of going head-to-head with monsters from the fantasy world of the Dragon’s Dogma series personally excites me as well.

Having a collaboration with the Monster Hunter series, which we announced recently, will be pretty awesome as well!

Could we see Dino Crisis content come to Exoprimal?

Hiraoka: Leviathan is the type of entity that will go to any means to collect a variety of useful combat data. If there’s enough demand from players, Leviathan very well could make this a reality.

Exoprimal is available for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Windows PC.

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Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.