Cuphead: One of the Hottest Animated Franchises Of Our Time
If you have not heard about Cuphead, then you’re missing out on one of the most exciting animated properties of recent years. The indie game has the kind of dramatic backstory that biopics have to make up from fiction, and its success is only growing more and more over time, taking video game animation in new directions.
The Production of Cuphead
According to Engadget, the game’s production began in 2010 between Chad and Jared Moldenhauer. The two Canadian brothers comprised StudioMDHR, and their debut project Cuphead was originally due in 2014. Very quickly, the game’s conceit caught attention online. The brothers sought to emulate the rubber-hose style of cartoonists like Ub Iwerks, or Max and Dave Fleischer. Even the writing paid homage to these roots, with the brothers opting out of a more conventional “save the girl/world” plot and opting for a “scamp who can’t stay out of trouble” angle. This hearkens back again to some of the most popular cartoon characters of the early 20th century, including Mickey Mouse himself.
Over time the project progressed, but faced more and more delays. Footage was shown at E3 2014, to positive reception, but the game kept getting reworked, with the studio polishing both gameplay elements and the visual design. Resources kept getting poured in, and the brothers even remortgaged their house to pay for the production! Finally in late 2017, Cuphead: Don’t Deal With the Devil released, and the world got to see if all that effort paid off.
In short: it did, and then some.
The Success of Cuphead
Critical reception was warm, with an 88/100 score on Metacritic for the PC version. User reception is even higher, with 95% of over thirty-seven thousand reviews on Steam being positive. Part of that appeal is the frenetic and challenging gameplay. Another element often cited, though, is the unique animation style. Players really responded to the novelty of a different medium. As a result, Cuphead has sold four million copies, which doesn’t count sales of its acclaimed soundtrack or tie-in merchandise.
Originally released for Xbox and PC computers, Cuphead has since been ported onto iOS and the Nintendo Switch for more players to access. Even some Tesla cars support the game! It’s been a phenomenon, and there’s more to come in the future.
The Future of Cuphead
The game’s next step is with the upcoming downloadable content The Delicious Last Course, which will provide a new playable character, new game mechanics, and new areas to explore. At the moment it is scheduled for a 2020 release. However, recent headlines revealed that the franchise will be stepping off of game consoles and onto televisions. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Netflix is currently planning an animated comedy series based off of Cuphead at its new studio Netflix Animation, in conjunction with King Features Syndicate. Cuphead mania has gripped the gaming world for almost two years now, so it seems only inevitable that it would make the leap - and there’s no telling where else it may go in the future.
Moonward Studios is dedicated to crafting heartfelt stories and compelling visuals through 3D computer graphics, offering design and VFX for advertising, gaming, TV & film production. We work with the best animation talent in the industry to deliver visually stunning imagery. Big or small, we can bring any character or story to life.