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‘Cuphead’ channels early Disney animation for 2D running-and-gunning-and-fighting

Cuphead is a “run & gun and fighting game hybrid” from Studio MDHR that looks like an early work from Walt Disney Animation Studios (think Steamboat Willie, but in color). It’s coming to PC and possibly some manner of Xbox platform (according to Kill Screen) in 2014. And it looks beautiful. Check out these two brief trailers.

Very faithful to the style of early Disney efforts, right? Here’s a brief statement from Studio MDHR that lays out the big picture plan for the game:

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, additional boss patterns on harder modes and balanced weapons to equip (that you don’t lose!). We plan to release 10-15 bosses per episode and end up with over 30 bosses. If all goes as planned, we will defeat the current “Guinness World Record for Most Boss Battles in a Run and Gun Game”[25 total]).

The game is focused on 1-v-1 fighting in a 2D space (or 2-v-1, if you’re playing in co-op 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 for Cuphead, including ContraIkarugaSuper Mario Bros. 3Gunstar Heroes, and Mega Man. There’s a fair amount of general info at the above link, if you’d like to know more about Cuphead‘s design philosophy, but don’t expect to see anything more than what’s in the two trailers.

What’s not clear is when Cuphead will be coming and exactly which platforms it’s headed to. The official website mentions PC specifically, but Kill Screen notes that the game is Xbox-bound as well. The first of those two trailers supports that assertion, with a controls screen showing button layouts on a generic Xbox controller (could be Xbox 360 or Xbox One … or both), though Xbox 360 controllers are also supported natively on Windows PCs. 

A reply to a commenter from the developer on the above-linked About page confirms that PC is coming first, but there are plans to port to other platforms (“Mac/Linux”) and “hopefully consoles (PS4, Xbox One)” after that initial release. The chances of a mobile port are more remote; “We won’t say never, but I highly doubt it,” the reply reads. Cuphead is an entrant in the 2014 IGF Main Competition, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see it eventually emerge as one of the finalists.

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