Capcom's upcoming Xbox Game Pass release is what I wanted Minecraft Legends to be — "We want players to really understand and feel the merge of action and strategy"

Image of Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess.
Yoshiro is the key to everything, and you must protect her. (Image credit: Capcom)

When I first played Minecraft Legends, I greatly enjoyed the experimental game for attempting to merge two distinct genres into one brand-new Minecraft experience. It was imperfect, but I gave the action-strategy adventure a mostly positive breakdown in my Minecraft Legends review for trying something new and largely getting it right. One game I played while in Los Angeles for Summer Game Fest, however, forced me to retroactively tweak those impressions to make room for a new truth.

Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess is an all-new franchise from Japanese publisher Capcom, and in a similar vein to Minecraft Legends seeks to meld the best attributes of action and real-time strategy games into one. However, Kunitsu-Gami is what I believe Minecraft Legends should've been, focusing on condensing its unique gameplay into a diverse series of closed, focused stages that challenge players to think outside the box.

I got to play Kunitsu-Gami for nearly an hour, and afterward had a conversation with Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi and Director Shuichi Kawata about their vision for the game. Now that I'm back home and writing, I'm confident Kunitsu-Gami will be one of the most interesting Xbox launches of the year... As long as you know what you're getting into.


This interview was conducted in Japanese and English, with a non-direct translator speaking for both parties (not directly translating word-for-word, but conveying meaning through third-person explanations). As such, this interview has been edited for clarity and combines answers from both interviewees. The meaning or information of the translations has not been altered.

What is Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess?

Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess - "Soh" Gameplay Trailer - YouTube Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess -
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Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess is a brand-new IP from Capcom, known for Resident Evil and Monster Hunter. This isn't a remake of a classic or a big-budget blockbuster game; instead, Kunitsu-Gami is a passion project from a smaller Capcom team focused on delivering a unique creative vision. This is an action-strategy game with real-time tower defense elements, a sub-genre we haven't seen explored much in the industry.

If that sounds familiar, it's because Mojang Studios already attempted this melding with Minecraft Legends. However, Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess pairs its stunning art design with a more focused, polished, and engaging gameplay experience that — at least in early previews — seems to be far more effective at exploring the potential of merging action and real-time strategy games. It was initially unveiled during the Xbox Games Showcase 2024.

Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess is officially releasing on July 19, 2024, for Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC via the Microsoft Store and Steam, and PlayStation 5. It's also a day-one addition to Xbox and PC Game Pass, making it a huge get for the popular gaming subscription service.

Kunitsu-Gami preview: Creating a new experience

You play as Soh, but you definitely can't do this alone. (Image credit: Capcom)

When I showed up to the Capcom building at Summer Game Fest Play Days, my eyes were immediately drawn to the line of gaming stations set up for Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess. I've been intensely interested in the game since the moment I first saw it, and I couldn't wait to play. When I went hands-on, I played for nearly an hour straight — until the staff told me I had run out of time and I realized I spent my entire demo period on a single game.

Worth it. Afterward, I was able to sit down and enjoy an informal conversation with Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi and Director Shuichi Kawata about the game, with a translator indirectly speaking for us. To start, I wanted to know where Kunitsu-Gami got its beginning. "We like simulation games, and in addition we wanted to add action elements to create a whole new gaming experience. This is where it all began."

"It was in development for a little less than four years, in total," I was told. "It's a little bit of a smaller team compared to other AAA Capcom titles in the Resident Evil and Monster Hunter series. Although it wasn't a big team, the members have a lot of experience working on other titles in the RE Engine." Before this, I hadn't known that Kunitsu-Gami was built using Capcom's proprietary RE Engine, which has been the backbone of most of the publisher's major games in recent years.

The team at Capcom seem to be building something special. (Image credit: Capcom)

However, it made a lot of sense, and not just because the Kunitsu-Gami team had experience with it, so I asked the Kunitsu-Gami leads for more information. "We wanted to do a lot of extremely visually impressive things, and the RE Engine was able to allow that. On top of that, we were able to modify it to make a new gaming experience." More than that, it was a part of getting the game approved for development, alongside crafting the game with multiple platforms in mind.

"We wanted to have as many users experience Kunitsu-Gami since it's a new IP. On top of that, it's a new genre that is merging action and tower defense real-time strategy," Hirabayashi and Kawata said, later telling me, "Having the game be multiplatform and using the RE Engine helped us get the game into development." It turns out Xbox helped, too. Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess made a big splash with its reveal not only as a new Capcom IP, but as a day one addition to Xbox Game Pass.

For the creators, it's all about the players. "We felt like Xbox Game Pass is a very good opportunity for us, on top of the game being available on many other platforms." It's awesome to see more games come to Game Pass on day one, especially Japanese-made games and more creative titles. I would've played Kunitsu-Gami either way, but it'll be an excellent entryway for people not sure on the gameplay.

If you're worried about that, though, let me lay those concerns to rest.

Kunitsu-Gami preview: Great, satisfying gameplay

There's not much dialogue in Kunitsu-Gami, but the art style is marvelous. (Image credit: Capcom)

The first thing most people are likely to notice when starting Kunitsu-Gami is the same thing that first caught my attention in the reveal trailer: the art style. "We really like the traditional art style of Japan, and we added and blended it with a modern art style," Hirabayashi and Kawata told me. Path of the Goddess looks unlike any other game I've played, with clear Japanese influenced designs and near-neon undertones.

It's vibrant and distinct, and makes for striking environments and spectacular character designs — both the opulent clothing and masks of the human characters and the gruesome, mutilated forms of the Seethe, the nightmarish creatures that are your enemies. Once you begin playing, though, Kunitsu-Gami doesn't stop being unique. The title is divided into many separate and diverse stages, with each providing the player with a different objective.

"Each stage has its own unique experience, its own challenge so that players can replay with new strategies," the creators explained to me. We spoke briefly about how I handled a boss stage, trying multiple times to shave precious seconds off my time in an effort to complete the optional challenge. There's a lot of potential for replayability here, but the first run through still promises to be something special.

You play as Soh, a masked guardian tasked with protecting Yoshiro, an enigmatic woman with the ability to dispel corruption. You and Yoshiro explore Mount Kafuku, which has been overrun by the Seethe. Countless people are trapped within this corruption and threatened by the Seethe, and it's up to you to free the villagers, keep Yoshiro safe, and purify the Torii gates in each area to stop the Seethe from pouring into our world.

This is when Kunitsu-Gami's wholly unique gameplay experience comes through. "We want players to really understand and feel the merge of action and strategy elements," the Capcom duo said. In Kunitsu-Gami, Soh is a powerful warrior in his own right, but he's not strong enough to stop all the Seethe and allow Yoshiro to reach and cleanse the Torii gates. You'll have to enlist the help of the villagers you save, infusing them with power to turn them into a variety of valuable allies.

You are free to command these villagers, able to place them at strategic points around areas, send them to attack the Seeth en masse, or fall back to focus on protecting Yoshiro. The controls are simple and easy to understand, even if the camera controls were honestly rough in my preview, and the final product feels like a real-time tower defense game that puts you, a capable and free-moving warrior, in the middle to battle hordes of enemies and command your units.

There's a lot of fascinating lore to discover in Kunitsu-Gami if you look for it, it seems. (Image credit: Capcom)

During the day, you explore the area, free villagers, build up your army, collect resources, and prepare. At night, the Torii gates open and the Seethe come to hunt. It's a dynamic cycle, but it's not the same each stage. My preview showed three different stages, but Hirabayashi and Kawata promised me that there's far more variety in the full game, so players never know what new obstacle they'll encounter.

As you progress, though, you'll be able to improve Soh's ability to fight and command, unlock new skills, and be able to summon new kinds of allies to assist you in battle. I also saw hints that there's even more to discover in Kunitsu-Gami, but I'll have to wait for the full game to know for sure. What I can say for now is that I had a blast during my hour with the game, completely losing track of time and instantly sad when I had to step away.

Where Minecraft Legends made commanding your armies awkward and lost both focus and polish by going open world, Kunitsu-Gami pours everything into optimized, standalone stages that leave nothing to chance. You win or lose on your own merits as a warrior, strategist, and leader.

Kunitsu-Gami preview: A Game Pass win

I'm very eager to slay a lot of Seethe. (Image credit: Capcom)

My fingers are already itching to control Soh once again, and my brain has been formulating strategies for the imaginary stages and challenges I've conjured in my imagination. I'm glad I don't have to wait long for Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess, as it officially drops on July 19, 2024 across Xbox, Windows PC, and PlayStation. It really does feel to me like the evolution of the genre compared to Minecraft Legends; that game built the foundation, but I now realize it didn't do much more than that.

One mystery that still hovers over Kunitsu-Gami, however, is the story. There's very little dialogue in the game, and there's almost nothing in the way of direct storytelling. Instead, the narrative is delivered through the actions of the characters, unspoken words, and the environment. "The lack of dialogue in cutscenes is deliberate. We want players to really think about the drama going on in the game and between the characters," I was told. "We want to leave it up to players to see how the story will go."

In this aspect, Kunitsu-Gami is certainly more gameplay-driven than narrative-driven, but that's not a bad thing. I hope playing through the entire game expands upon the story significantly, though, and that later stages dramatically up the strategy challenge. There's so much potential here, and I can't wait to see if Capcom delivers. Understandably, Hirabayashi and Kawata can't wait, either. "We're really nervous. Excited, but nervous as well because this is a new gaming experience we personally wanted to deliver to the players."

Don't mistake that nervousness, though — it's not concern in the quality of the game, it's worry that players won't approach the unique blend of genres with an open mind. "We're confident in this game's experience, but we're nervous that it might be difficult for some players to go into the game without any preconceptions." So, let me set the stage here: Kunitsu-Gami is an action-adventure game with heavy real-time strategy tower defense, taking place across a range of diverse challenge stages.

How much will we learn about Yoshiro and Soh during our adventure? (Image credit: Capcom)

I want the full game to deliver, and I want players to embrace it, because I want Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess to be another reliable win for Capcom. The publisher has been on a roll lately, and this could be another weapon in the arsenal as the next best Xbox game. For the creators, though, it all depends on us. "We want to see how much fun players have with this title, because we want to deliver a new experience. After looking at everybody's reactions, we will then consider if we want to make a sequel for the series. We're not saying that we will, of course, but it depends on the players."

If what you've seen, heard, and read has piqued your interest, Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess is just around the corner. In fact, you can go preorder Kunitsu-Gami for $49.99 at Microsoft Store (Xbox & PC) or $49.99 at Steam (PC) right now, or add it to your wishlist. If you'd rather hold your cash in reserve until you can play the game, it'll also be available on Xbox and PC Game Pass from day one, making it easy to experience the game. I don't know about you, but I know I'll be there from the beginning.

Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.