What Went Wrong with Exoprimal?

Of the many games I was excited for this year, Exoprimal is probably my least expected. After its unveiling at Sony’s March 2022 State of Play, many thought Dino Crisis had returned. The sheer range of dinosaurs and a Regina lookalike fueled that assumption even further.

Then the mech suits and floating AI were showcased, and things only got more confusing. When the title card and platforms dropped, there was still some hope that this was related to Capcom’s cult-classic survival horror series.

However, it was eventually clarified that this wasn’t a new Dino Crisis game. No connection, no relation, nada.

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To top it off, Capcom talked about the title as a new live-service game. With how negatively the trend had been (and continues to be) received, it was more than a little surprising that the immensely successful publisher had chosen to go down this path.

Nevertheless, when I finally got my hands on Exoprimal in the closed beta, I was pleasantly surprised. Was it trying to reinvent the co-op shooter genre? No, but it did offer some fast-paced, mindless fun with a healthy variety of Exosuits, some challenging Dinosaurs and great combat. Of course, it was a beta, so there was the hope that Capcom would clean up several things and deliver even more content. Opting out of PvP as the final mission also seemed like a good addition.

In my heart, I had hoped that the PvEvP aspect wasn’t the only thing the game had going on. That there was a decent amount of customization, and the final game would have missions with a lot more variety with a story that was intriguing, if not necessarily well-written. More than anything, I was optimistic that the progression wouldn’t be a mess due to a Battle Pass and loot boxes.

Cut to several months later, and Exoprimal has received a middling response. There are some positive reviews, with the Xbox Series X/S version having a 70 Metascore. However, plenty of negative reviews abound, with many criticizing the disjointed campaign and repetitive gameplay of the PvEvP approach. It’s a mixed bag, and I found way too much hampering the experience.


The story felt throwaway with some awful dialogue; the objectives felt samey and repetitive; PvP was still very much a thing, even if you chose PvE due to the Dominators that enemy players could invade with; maps were dull and constrained you to a fixed path or location – the list goes on. I’ve seen comparisons to Earth Defense Force and how you need to play with friends to have fun.

They seemingly forget that (a) Exoprimal, even when played solo, is played with teams by default and still manages to be dull and repetitive, and (b) Earth Defense Force gives you way more weapons, options and interesting scenarios. Plus, you can freely move around the gigantic maps and do your thing, even if that involves squashing hundreds upon hundreds of enemies. I noted this in my review of Exoprimal, but it feels like a paid version of Destiny 2’s Gambit, which also crumbled due to the mix of PvEvP and the balance issues that wrought.

Nevertheless, Exoprimal’s existence is baffling. Why would Capcom okay a live-service title, especially with a winning franchise like Monster Hunter with its post-launch Title Updates, or compelling single-player games? Street Fighter 6 provided a resurgence for the series and offers fun single-player modes (and World Tour) with excellent online battles. On the other hand, it also had remasters like Mega Man Battle Network Legacy Collection, which sold over 1 million units, and the critically acclaimed Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective.


Even if the company is willing to sink before it ever remakes or remasters Dino Crisis, it could have brought back Lost Planet. Release remasters or remake all three titles, and incorporate online co-op support with some new features. Lo and behold, you have a series of fun third-person shooters with some potential for post-launch support. If it takes off, you can look to support them in the longer term.

Of course, for those keeping track of Capcom’s other multiplayer-only titles over the years, Exoprimal probably isn’t that surprising. This is the same company that released Umbrella Corps, a mix of Resident Evil and Counter-Strike: GO that ended up being one of the worst games ever made. It also recently released Resident Evil Resistance, an asymmetrical multiplayer title, and Resident Evil Re:Verse, a competitive multiplayer game set in the universe. So this isn’t the company’s first brush with such projects ranging from underwhelming to awful.

Exoprimal had more resources put into it based on the production values. Some missions are undoubtedly good and paint a picture of what a regular co-op title could have offered. So why did Capcom go in the PvEvP direction with invasion mechanics? Why didn’t it just create a story-focused third-person shooter with AI squadmates and co-op support?

Aside from it costing more resources and someone on the team liking Destiny 2’s Gambit, it’s hard to say. No reports of troubled development or other issues circulated leading up to release. Sure enough, there’s a feeling that this is the game that Capcom wanted to release.


For all we know, this could have been the plan, with Capcom planning a few seasons ahead and then taking a call afterwards to see if Exoprimal is still profitable. It’s not entirely uncommon for live service titles from publishers in Japan. Look at all the mobile games that Square Enix shut down over the past year or so, like Just Cause Mobile (which didn’t even get a chance to release). Bandai Namco’s Gundam Evolution is another example, as it shuts down roughly a year after its launch on consoles.

If support ends by next year for Exoprimal, it would be a shame. It’s completely online, so unlike Monster Hunter Rise or World, there’s no hope that fans can continue enjoying the content they paid for. Time will tell if that happens. However, as we’ve seen with live-service games over the years, without a constant flow of content and reinventions, it’s hard to keep track with Destiny 2, The Division 2, Fortnite and so on.

Whether Capcom goes down its trademark route of releasing a paid expansion after numerous free Title Updates remains to be seen. For now, it hasn’t announced anything significantly game-changing for Exoprimal, which further lends credence to this being a one-to-two-year-long project at best. As always, plans could change, but even if it fulfills all of the company’s targets for the short term, it’s the long term that remains a constant threat.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.

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