Opinion

Exoprimal Is The Latest Casualty Of Gaming’s Worst Trend

Capcom's PvEvP game is shutting down support later this month.

Players take on a T-Rex in Exoprimal.
Capcom

In any other era, Exoprimal could have thrived. Capcom’s 2023 game about eliminating waves of fast and deadly dinosaurs with a variety of cool-looking heroes in badass mech suits has mass appeal written all over it. Even if it didn’t flourish upon release, it seemed destined to become another Capcom cult classic like Asura’s Wrath and God Hand before it. But unlike those titles, Exoprimal is also a live-service game, which launched with plans to release a steady drop of new content to keep players hooked. Now, it appears that strategy has backfired, revealing a bigger probably with modern gaming in the process.

What happened to Exoprimal?

Capcom recently announced will no longer update the game with new content, delivering a soul-crushing blow to a cool game that deserves better.

“With the release of Title Update 4, all planned Exoprimal seasonal content has been finished,” the team announced in a press release. “After Season 4, which concludes on July 11th, Season 1 will return.”

Capcom will cease support for Exoprimal later this month.

Capcom

Past seasons will repeat at the start of every month, looping indefinitely. All limited-time battle passes will be made available for purchase so players can get one final chance to get the unlocks they may have missed. And bots will remain so players can play without assembling a full party of players.

It’s a depressing end for such a new game. Released on July 2023, Exoprimal is a PvEvP shooter, where two teams compete to better handle the onslaught of Jurassic threats pouring through portals. The teams are tasked with completing a handful of objectives as they fight off raptors and massive dino-bosses in raid-like levels. It’s Gears’ horde mode and Overwatch’s frantic team-based multiplayer combined with a dash of Dino Crisis and a touch of Platinum Games’ signature style.

Was Exoprimal doomed from the start?

Exoprimal wasn’t perfect. The game lacked the variety needed to keep its encounters fresh for as long as Capcom wanted this game to last. The snail’s pace at which Exoprimal doles our new wrinkles to its simple mechanics meant many players likely stopped playing before they reached the best parts of its endgame.

Despite its shortcomings, its satisfying gameplay, ultra-bright aesthetic, and fun premise made it a winner. Exoprimal game did alright critically, earning an 8/10 from Inverse. It also launched on Game Pass, making the barrier to entry that much more negligible.

Exoprimal had all of the standard live service features, including limited-time unlockable weapons and equipment and a periodic season pass.

Capcom

Sadly, after a decent launch, Exoprimal failed to stay in the minds of gamers today. But it’s not like Capcom didn’t try: Exoprimal received a year’s worth of support. Several of these updates took steps to improve the game with new bosses, weapons, and abilities. These updates also included some great crossover events with other Capcom franchises like Mega Man and Monster Hunter. Exoprimal’s updates were another great showcase for Capcom’s signature ability to blend a bit of fun camp into a genuinely intriguing universe.

But it wasn’t enough to keep up with game service mainstays like Fortnite or Grand Theft Auto V. While more than a million players jumped in at launch thanks to its availability on Game Pass, just a year later things seem dire. On Steam, where the game is currently on sale, Exoprimal has less than 30 players playing it as of this writing. It is almost inevitable that Exoprimal will go the way of games like Knockout City, Crystal Dynamic’s The Avengers, and BioWare’s Anthem.

Capcom added a lot of fun, self-referential content in Exoprimal’s seasonal updates.

Capcom

Under slightly different circumstances, maybe it could have found more success. Had it been released as a discount title like Helldivers 2, it could have been an easier pill to swallow for players not on Game Pass at launch. Had it been released during a less crowded year, maybe players would have stuck with it a bit longer. If it wasn’t trying to sell gamers’ quarterly season passes, it maybe could have found an audience with a different kind of player.

The Problem With Live-Service Games

The most devastating of these hypotheticals is Exoprimal’s very existence as a service game. Because of the uphill battle it had trying to become the next sustainable forever game, it was robbed of the second chance that so many legacy Capcom hidden gems were afforded.

Asura’s Wrath was a sales bomb when it was released in 2012. But its ludicrous anime-inspired setpieces and combat found its audience as players discovered it at a deep discount. Capcom’s gorgeous Zelda-like Okami famously flopped when it was released on the PS2 back in 2006. But through word of mouth, the game’s exceptional quality eventually pushed Capcom to re-release the game on Wii and HD consoles for a second chance at life.

Exoprimal, a game about fighting dinosaurs with cool mech suits with friends, would have thrived in any other gaming era.

Capcom

Exoprimal will never get that chance, and that’s pretty lame. It's a nice gesture for Capcom to keep those servers on for those who spent $60 on this one a year ago. But knowing the developer has closed the book on it means it's a tough sell to new players. With more and more developers delisting games they no longer support, picking up Exoprimal for even $20 is an investment that comes with some huge asterisks.

Had Exoprimal launched with a more feature-complete campaign not reliant on a flourishing community of players, it could have remained on store shelves indefinitely waiting for fans to discover its many redeeming qualities. The game could have continued to exist despite its inability to yank millions of people away from more recognizable titles. It should have joined Capcom’s pantheon of quirky, under-appreciated gems that have since found their place in the annals of gaming history.

Exoprimal should be Capcom’s next cult hit. But the worst industry trends that dictated its development and post-release plans will forever obscure its best qualities. Instead, Exoprimal’s awesome premise and extremely fun ideas will be forgotten as it's relegated as just another live-service flop.

Related Tags