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'Cuphead' transports players back to the golden age of animation

We saw a few brief glimpses of Cuphead during Microsoft's E3 presentation earlier this month, and while we didn't get many solid details about the game, its animation was enough to make it immediately stand out. Studio MDHR is utilizing traditional cel animation in order to recapture the same look and feel of the classic cartoons from the Golden Age of the 1930's. For further authenticity, each illustration is being painstakingly inked by hand, and the game's music is all being performed by a live jazz band.

Cuphead in "Don't Deal with the Devil"
Cuphead in "Don't Deal with the Devil"
Photo courtesy of Studio MDHR, used with permission

As for the gameplay, some may be surprised to learn that Cuphead will be a run and gun, à la Contra, and will focus on boss battles (the development blog states that the team hopes to break the current record for boss battles in a game of this genre). Players control the titular character, while a second player can run around as Mugman.

Aside from being incredibly adorable, Cuphead and his pal will have access to a variety of weapons, super moves and hidden secrets as they make their way through the game's strange settings. The developer has also stated that Cuphead will see an episodic release, though we're waiting for more details on that.

The game was originally being developed using the XNA Framework, though it was switched over to Unity early in development. According to MDHR, Unity offers a wide variety of useful 2D and audio tools, and will make it far easier for them to port the game to consoles. Moving everything over to Unity took quite a bit of production time, though the developer has stated that the project is back on track and that more updates will come shortly.

As for a release window, the game doesn't look like it will be ready until sometime next year, and with only two animators currently working on this ambitious project, we can see why. Cuphead is currently only slated for release on the Xbox One and Steam, though rumor has it that the company also wants to see the game on the Sega Master System (cartridge and all), sometime in the future.