What kind of game is Cuphead?

2nd of November, 2013

cuphead-idle

Cuphead is a classic run and gun that centers around 1-on-1 fights (2-on-1 in two player mode).

With Cuphead, we aim to evolve the genre by adding new features such as: super arts, infinite lives, a playable world map and hidden secrets. In addition to that, we will have refined controls, new game+ mode and balanced weapons to equip (that you don’t lose!). We’d love to defeat the current “Guinness World Record for Most Boss Battles in a Run and Gun Game – 25 total”.

When developing Cuphead we started with the basics – who knows this better than Shigeru Miyamoto. He set the standard for all 2D and 3D platformers and they are still a great formula for gameplay perfection. Knowing this, we’ve spent a lot of time fine tuning small details like hitboxes, screen movement, player control, weapon balancing, and a ton of small details that may go unnoticed by some.

PATTERNS, ETC.

When we were designing Cuphead, we wanted the game to be more reaction-based than just straight memorization. Great games like Contra III/Hard Corps mainly used repeating patterns that appeared in the same order every time – we feel this pattern formula tends to have less surprise on subsequent replays. On the other end of the spectrum, a game like Mega Man has a lot of proximity based patterns to mix things up – but this can let you take advantage of the boss by forcing the AI into the same series of attacks.

Our approach is to integrate variance by: *some of this is for nerds*

  • Rearranging certain pattern orders on replays
  • Using arrays on individual attack attributes to mix it up (vague example: 1,2,1,3,3,2,1,3,2 instead of 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3)
  • All proximity based attacks will have a variety of options to avoid pattern trapping
  • Using RNG sparingly during suitable situations and not like Holy Diver – (P.S. Funkdoc rules!)
  • Every boss in the game will have 3 ranks of difficulty: each one adds new patterns, visuals and blast processing

 

cuphead-6a

DIVERSITY

The best of the genre always contained a variety of gameplay (Contra III overhead stages not included!). We are aiming to have good diversity by :

  • some fights styled more like a platformer
  • patterns/gameplay themes that haven’t been seen before in a run and gun
  • shmup stages with influences from games like: the Thunderforce series, Radiant SilvergunIkaruga, and Jamestown (which is AMAZING)
  • suits (like Mario 3) that will give the player new attributes/abilities
  • extremely long, unskippable cut scenes 🙂

 

Some of our favourite examples:

gunstar-heroes2

Gunstar Heroes: Level 2 added a new ability by allowing you to flip to the ceiling (this stage also came with one of the more memorable boss fights – Seven Force).

gunstar-heroes

Level 4 had some joke bosses and a unique stage layout with the Dice Palace. Level 6 was a schmup with an 8-way dash.

contra-3

Contra III: On level 3, Chrome Dome (wall drill section) is an amazing fight that doesn’t use projectiles and it ends off with an intense Robo-Corpse battle that incorporates wall climbing. Level 4 has one of the best boss battles: Anti-Contra Battleship Dodriguez (even though it has a hint of RNG problems). The last boss, Alien Brain, has 8 patterns that you can select, casino-style. On hard mode there is even a bonus final boss.

contra-hardcorps

Contra Hard Corps: for it’s sheer amount of bosses and patterns. (examples: Mech Walker, Spider Mutant, and a hidden comedy boss: Phish Fan & Mutant Miner & The Overlord)

adventures-of-batman-and-robin

Batman & Robin (Genesis): Mad Hatter – one of the few 2D/3D battles in the genre that works really well. Mr. Freeze has a interesting take on a schmup/run and gun mix. This game contains some of the highest amounts of pattern variance per boss. The awesome soundtrack by Jesper Kyd doesn’t hurt either.

megaman-x

Mega Man X series: Great improvements on the main bosses (more patterns, better AI). Also, the final stages had a lot of unique & challenging ideas (examples: Megaman X’s Maverick Spider and Rangda Bangda, X2’s Agile).

hardcorps-uprising

Hard Corps Uprising: One of the best boss fights in the genre is found in this game – the stage 3 midboss – “573 Tigris”. Genius in its simplicity…it’s too bad the fight is pretty short

Make sure to follow us for updates on Cuphead – many more updates to come.
  1. Will this be available for Android OS devices…or is it being created for home gaming systems, such as Playstation, etc? It looks AMAZING!!!

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  2. […] Cuphead and Mugman), but it’s also built to incorporate elements of run-and-gun games. The official “About” page on Studio MDHR’s website cites a wide range of classic titles that served as inspiration […]

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  3. […] Next year looks like it might be a vintage year for fans of cartoony indie-produced games. Not only can we look forward to Cloudface, we can also anticipate Cuphead, a game that will be “hand drawn and inked in the 1930s style.” The developer Studio MDHR has the classic animation look pegged, from lush watercolor backgrounds to authentic pie-cut eyed, rubbery characters who look straight out of a Fleischer/Iwerks short. This is how they describes the game: […]

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  4. […] with Cuphead and Mugman), but it’s also built to incorporate elements of run-and-gun games. The official “About” page on Studio MDHR’s website cites a wide range of classic titles that served as inspiration […]

    Reply

  5. […] is an indie game from developer MDHR which is going to be hand drawn and inked in the style of 1930s cartoons. In it you will play […]

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  6. […] Next year looks like it might be a vintage year for fans of cartoony indie-produced games. Not only can we look forward to Cloudface, we can also anticipate Cuphead, a game that will be “hand drawn and inked in the 1930s style.” The developer Studio MDHR has the classic animation look pegged, from lush watercolor backgrounds to authentic pie-cut eyed, rubbery characters who look straight out of a Fleischer/Iwerks short. This is how they describes the game: […]

    Reply

  7. […] fighting game universe.” The game is heavily inspired by cartoons from the 1930s. You can view an interview with the developers online to learn more. Cuphead is set to release for the PC sometime in 2014 “and hopefully […]

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  8. […] para PC y pretende ser lanzado en otras luego de ser lanzado. Además, tal como comentan en su sitio oficial, entre sus influencias están grandes clásicos como Megaman X, Contra III y Gunstar […]

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  9. […] What kind of game is Cuphead? [Studio MDHR via Digital Trends] […]

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  10. you say possibly ps4 and xbone but what about wii u?

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  11. […] You can learn more about the game at the developer’s blog. […]

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  12. PLEASE release this on Wii U. It will be an instant hit on the eShop. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. I will campaign if necessary!!! 😀 #WiiU

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    • Fun Fact: Miyamoto likes Popeye, so classic cartoons influenced him. 🙂

      But yeah it would be cool if this at least gets released on Wii U. I can’t afford to buy anymore game consoles.

      Reply

  13. […] Speaking of bosses, the developers of Cuphead are going for a record number of boss encounters in this game. Here’s a bit of their goal in an official post about the game. […]

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  14. […] Speaking of bosses, the developers of Cuphead are going for a record number of boss encounters in this game. Here’s a bit of their goal in an official post about the game. […]

    Reply

  15. […] Speaking of bosses, the developers of Cuphead are going for a record number of boss encounters in this game. Here’s a bit of their goal in an official post about the game. […]

    Reply

  16. […] einiges an Aufwand getrieben. Gefällt mir schon mal. Viele weitere Infos zum Spiel findet ihr bei Studio MDHR; seht euch jetzt aber mal den Trailer zum Game an. Was meint ihr? Aja – erscheinen wird […]

    Reply

  17. […] situs resmi MDHR, Cuphead akan menjadi game platformer yang lebih mengutamakan reaksi dibandingkan kemampuan […]

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  18. […] that looks like Popeye and lists Gunstar Heroes and Megaman X as an inspiration is something to keep an eye out for this […]

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  19. […] Pueden encontrar más detalles de las mécanicas de combate y patrones de los enemigos en su sitio web. […]

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  20. […] to a description of the game on the developer’s website, Cuphead is a classic run and gun game focusing on one versus one fights, but there will also be […]

    Reply

  21. […] to a description of the game on the developer's website, Cuphead is a classic run and gun game focusing on one versus one fights, but there will also be […]

    Reply

  22. […] to a description of the game on the developer’s website, Cuphead is a classic run and gun game focusing on one versus one fights, but there will also be […]

    Reply

  23. […] to a description of the game on the developer’s website, Cuphead is a classic run and gun game focusing on one versus one fights, but there will also be […]

    Reply

  24. […] to a description of the game on the developer’s website, Cuphead is a classic run and gun game focusing on one versus one fights, but there will also be […]

    Reply

  25. […] to a description of the game on the developer's website, Cuphead is a classic run and gun game focusing on one versus one fights, but there will also be […]

    Reply

  26. […] to a description of the game on the developer's website, Cuphead is a classic run and gun game focusing on one versus one fights, but there will also be […]

    Reply

  27. […] اطلاعاتی که در developer’s website قرار دارد، Cuphead در سبک Run And Gun کلاسیک است و بیش تر بر روی […]

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  28. […] opisu na Studio MDHR-ovim stranicama, Cuphead je klasična igra u kojoj se borite protiv jednog neprijatelja, odnosno bossa, a očekuju […]

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  29. […] With that and a retro visual style that hasn’t really been used a lot in video games, we’re pretty excited to play this one. For more information and a look at the classic games that have influenced Cuphead, take a look at the Studio MDHR website. […]

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  30. […] videojuego muy retro : Cuphead, que próximamente veremos en PC y como mencionan sus creadores del Studio MDHR, más tarde lo podremos visualizar en las plataformas de PS4 y Xbox […]

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  31. you can try to greenlighting in steam, i think you have a big chance to do it 😀

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  32. […] comum na década de 80. Os desenvolvedores ainda prometem bastante variedade e power-ups no jogo, e nesse post aqui citam vários jogos da Treasure como influência, o que é sempre […]

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  33. […] CupheadDeveloper: Studio MDHRPlatforms: […]

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  34. We aren’t saying “no” to WiiU, but we don’t want to start making promises. We will stay optimistic for release all on all major consoles if it works out that way – but for now we will take one step at a time 🙂

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  35. […] Cuphead video is from October last year, and a post from November on the developer’s blog goes into more detail about what kind of game they’re […]

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  36. […] Cuphead video is from October last year, and a post from November on the developer’s blog goes into more detail about what kind of game they’re […]

    Reply

  37. […] Cuphead video is from October last year, and a post from November on the developer’s blog goes into more detail about what kind of game they’re […]

    Reply

  38. […] Cuphead video is from October last year, and a post from November on the developer’s blog goes into more detail about what kind of game they’re […]

    Reply

  39. […] delle mappe, raccolta di eventuali boost, vari boss ecc ecc. Tutto nella media, quindi: gli stessi developer ammettono con giusto orgoglio di essersi ispirati all’opera di Shigeru Miyamoto, che è sempre cosa buona e […]

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  40. Looks awesome! Just be sure to make an “Really Easy” mode for those of us who don’t care about “Hardcore” games but love the art style 🙂

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    • Since you don’t have to replay the entire game when you die, it should help the fine folks who don’t like the Contra “start-from-the-beginning” style of games. That being said, it’s still going to be hard. 🙂

      Reply

  41. […] It looks like a freakin cartoon, man. How did you they pull this off? Well it's all thanks to MDHR who are leading this unique project. The game, Cuphead (in case you missed it) is a sprite based […]

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  42. Hurry up! Ahhhhhrggh!

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    • We are going as fast as we can! haha. We’ll post more updates soon so you aren’t left in the dark (as we’ve recently been pretty slow to update the site). Sorry-Sorry!

      Reply

  43. […] you’d like to know more, developer Studio MDHR has you covered. That much said, …er read, you’ve got a bit of a wait ahead of you; the game […]

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  44. […] Cuphead is a classic run and gun that centers around 1-on-1 fights (2-on-1 in two player mode). – StudioMDHR […]

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  45. […] know much about Cuphead other than the trailer they showed( which you can watch up above). I found Studio MDHR‘s website and immediately went to find out more information. This is what I […]

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  46. […] ontwikkelteam kijkt voor het design van het spel niet alleen naar het eigen genre  maar ook over de schutting […]

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  47. […] just cashing in on easy retro appeal skinned with a cool aesthetic, they are passionately into the nitty gritty of fine-tuning hitboxes and developing unpredictably responsive enemy […]

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  48. […] just cashing in on easy retro appeal skinned with a cool aesthetic, they are passionately into the nitty gritty of fine-tuning hitboxes and developing unpredictably responsive enemy […]

    Reply

  49. […] jes cashyun' n' un easy retro appeel skinnet wit a cool aesthetic, thay air passyunatelee into t'nittee grittee o'fine-a'tunin hitboxes an' developyun' unpredictablee responsif' enemy […]

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  50. […] Berufung, die mit einem kühlen ästhetischen enthäutet wird, sind sie leidenschaftlich in den Kern hitboxes unvorhersehbar von einstellen und entgegenkommenden Feind AI von […]

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  51. […] provecho de fácil recurso retro sin piel y con una estética fresca, son apasionadamente en el meollo de la cuestión de hitboxes afinando y desarrollando enemigo impredecible sensible […]

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  52. […] just cashing in on easy retro appeal skinned with a cool aesthetic, they are passionately into the nitty gritty of fine-tuning hitboxes and developing unpredictably responsive enemy […]

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  53. Will the Co-Op be local? (please say yes <3 <3 <3 )

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  54. Hi! What programming language used?

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  55. I love your aesthetics. Can you say me how did you create the characters and how do you animate them? Do you animate with Unity? I know nothing about drawing, animation and the like…

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    • The characters were created by mostly traditional methods: drawn with pencil, and inked with pen – then scanned digitally to color each frame. Animation is handled by Unity – but we are doing nothing more than playing the frames in a row…there is no “animation assistance” being used!

      Reply

  56. I’m a programmer. If I want to create a game like yours. What do I need to learn? xD

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  57. how did you get the animation to look like that. I know you had to learn your own style. and you made your own graphical assets. but. the animation looks so. not a game. it doesn’t look like a game. i mean there are thousands of games. and you can notice that all of them are games. but your game looks like an authentic hand drawn 1930’s animation. unbelievable. i hope you guys succeed. and publish this game on more platforms after release. i hope we have an option to hide HUD.

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    • Thanks for the kind words! It’s always awesome to hear that it doesn’t look like a game (because that was our goal!)
      I’ll give you our opinion and hopefully it answers all of your questions:
      1) For the majority of modern 2D games, they are either all created 100% digitally OR they are drawn by hand and then cleaned up digitally (so the end result is that the visuals look very modern).
      2) There are some 2D game that are hand drawn and not cleaned up, but most of them have very limited frames of animation (due to the fact that it’s very time consuming).
      We’ve have taken the route of hand drawing and hand inking tons of frames by hand, and scanning that artwork in as-is – with no digital clean up – which is almost exactly how cartoons used to be made (instead of a scanner, they’d use a camera). The key to the “look” is that there are imperfections in the artwork, since it is all done by hand and that’s what gives life to the animation (in our humble opinion).
      Any HUD you have seen in screenshots was a placeholder – it’s way too large and clunky. We’ll still probably add the option to hide the HUD, just to the screen is perfectly clean. 🙂
      The game isn’t extremely intensive but it does have quite a few post processing effects, so don’t expect a video card from 2004 to work! 🙂 We haven’t done a ton of spec testing so we can’t tell you anything concrete just yet. 🙂

      Reply

      • thanks for responding and good luck. anyway. the HUD looks impressive. it looks like a part of the background rather than a regular overlay HUD. I wouldn’t mind if it was in the game. but I think it would be cool if we can remove it.

        Reply

  58. This might sound a bit blunt but I really think Miyamoto would love to see this on the Wii U, simply because he likes mickey mouse a lot but idk, just random thoughts. Still am very glad you guys are putting it on PC at least.

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  59. […] What kind of game is Cuphead? ————————– Fecha: 2015 Plataformas: PC y XboxJuan Mensaje original enviado por _NightStalker_ Interminables sabes que son? Mis aportes al foro. Mensaje original enviado por _NightStalker_ Te agrego el C) El juego lo viste asi gracias a Sony y su PS4 Mensaje original enviado por Kadzait Acabo de arruinar mundialmente a Digital Foundry. Tremenda la repercusion jaja. Citar […]

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  60. […] Continuing on, each boss fight will be unique. Cuphead and Mugman (Player 1 and Player 2) can gain upgrades along the way via suits think of how Megaman’s Mega Buster has a wide array of options, or with Mario gaining the tanooki suit. Some stages will have shmup/bullethell themes requiring quick reflexes and lots of dodging, think Ikaruga one of my favorite shmups of all time (but don’t tell Kanye). And lastly, some boss fights will be more platformer based requiring character movement and sticking accurate landings on objects so you don’t touch the floor, or fall to your doom, while you are fighting. StudioMDHR touts all of this and more! Some features they say have never been seen in a Run and Gun. I can’t wait! Studio MDHR goes into great detail here on their blog. […]

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  61. Can we design and create bosses for this game?

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  62. This looks awesome! Would love for you to make the next game i the graphical style of ghosts n goblins/ Probotector. Dark, mecha and meaty! 🙂 Some really good artists behind this game!

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  63. can i play with my brother on the same keyboard?

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  64. Is the Linux version still in develop?, or this game is XboxOne and Windows 10 exclusive?. I realy want buy it, but i am not a windows user.

    Reply

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