The Extremely Lucky Development Of Cuphead


Image Credit to Microsoft

By: Jose Iriarte-Dubon, Reporter

Cuphead is a game that released about 3 years ago developed by MDHR Studios and the development was completely random but it worked perfectly…

Chad and Jared Moldenhauer had an interest in video games ever since a young age but their favorite game genre growing up is known as run and gun games so they agreed to make those types of games when they grew up. In the year 2000 the brothers realized that Microsoft made a opening for indie game developers to make games on their console, however after many attempts they gave up on developing a game so they returned to their normal jobs. In 2010 they realized that it was an all time high for indie games so they started planning a game again 2 years later in 2012 they decided to try it out. they started with the same idea of a run and gun game and then started choosing the games art style, the theme the brothers had in mind was an elementary school and different grades would be different levels. One day the brothers decided to make a joke to their friends, they replaced the characters with 1930 cartoons such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, they then showed it to their friends. But instead of laughing the friends reacted with excitement, saying to make this the theme of their game and that it would stand out if they did. They then had to research many animations from the 1930s era and study animator books. After the six months the development started and they wanted to make the controls for the game first but didn’t have a character so they just used a weird green thing (their words not mine) after they did the controls they realized that they actually needed a character so they started watching old dvd’s that they had looking for inspiration. At first they wanted to do a turtle with a top hat, but they then found a cartoon with plates and utensils and cups that come to life and decided to do characters with a plate as a head and one with a fork as a head. They still didn’t really like this idea so they kept searching. Eventually they stumbled upon a old mickey mouse 1936 Japanese propaganda and saw a character with a cup as a head. They settled on this and after a few drafts they had two characters ready, Cuphead and Mugman. In 2013 the team put out a trailer for their game, it didn’t get many views but it did get a very important view, Microsoft saw it, specifically Xbox Lead for indie game development. They offered money, a partnership, the game to be on their platform (xbox) and most importantly Marketing. Xbox put a small trailer of the game in their E3 2014 presentation and people responded with excitement, the team decided that they needed to go  bit bigger for this game so they hired 3 more people (they hired a 3rd ( one of their wives) when I started referring to them as team instead of brothers) now they have a team of six, they also decided to add more bosses to their game making a total of 13 bosses so far. Next year in E 2015 Xbox gave them a prominent role in their presentation which increased the games popularity by a massive amount. This is when the team realized that they had to go all out now, they added many more bosses, and added many more regular levels. They hired 10 more people bringing the teams amount up to 16, they quit their jobs and remortaged their houses to get the funds necessary to do this. At this point they had delayed the games release date multiple times, so this time they set the release date to 2017 definitively. Some more stuff happened after this but it wasn’t too important. And finally on December 29th 2017 Cuphead was released and it sold much more then they expected. 3 million! In the title I said it was lucky I said that because it got seen by Xbox, they quit their jobs to do this, they remortaged their homes. And they didn’t even expect the game to grow so big!