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Cuphead Digital Store ArtworkCuphead is a run and gun video game developed and published by StudioMDHR, an independent developer based out of Canada. The game was designed and developed by brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, who were inspired by the art style of 1930s cartoons. They sought to emulate the look and feel of early works by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Fleischer Studios with their surreal qualities.

The game allows players to select from single player mode or two player couch co-op where gamers take control of animated characters Cuphead and his brother Mugman to fight in an effort to repay their debt to the devil.

The brothers were playing craps and the Devil’s Casino against the wishes of the Elder Kettle. When they went on a winning streak, the Devil offered to raise the stakes. If they win one more roll, they receive all the money in the casino but if they lose the Devil will take their souls. Cuphead rolled snake eyes, losing the game. The brothers begged for mercy, pleading with the Devil to keep their souls. The Devil made a deal with them, collect the soul contracts that signify his ownership of the souls of his runaway debtors by midnight the next day, and he might let them keep their souls. They visited Elder Kettle for guidance, and he gives them a potion that allows them to fire blasts from their fingers to aid in their quest.

Development for the game began in 2010 after the Moldenhauer brothers saw the success of other indie games such as Super Meat Boy that released in 2010. They began the project using the Unity game engine and developed from their homes in Oakville, Ontario and Regina, Saskatchewan. The first few years were spent on flushing out the concept for the game and the main characters. Before settling on the main characters, the brothers had created around 150 different character designs.

Cuphead Logo
Xbox One
Media TypeDigital Download
ReleaseWW: September 29, 2017
Genre(s)Run and Gun
Game EngineUnity
Development Time7 Years (4 Years in Full Time Development)
Sales5 Million
RatingESRB: E 10+
Rereleased Platform(s)Nintendo Switch – 2019
PlayStation 4 – 2020

Development ramped up in 2013 when they decided to make the development of the game their full-time job instead of a side hobby. The brothers decided to leave their fulltime jobs and remortgage their homes to help fund the game’s development. They soon started to hire staff to assist with the game’s development by hiring a developer, animator and jazz musician for the project.

Cuphead Development Team
Cuphead Development Team

First shown during the Xbox press event at E3 2014 the game gained a lot of attention. The game was not available to play at the event and was estimated to be approximately 40 percent complete. The game was originally intended to release in phases via expansion packs with 10 to 15 bosses in each release, however the vision changed during the development of the game and the scope continued to grow. Cuphead released on September 29, 2017 for the PC and Xbox One, a console exclusive that supported Xbox Play Anywhere. Microsoft approached the development team about creating a Nintendo Switch version of the game and on March 20, 2019 the Switch game was announce to the public with a release day of April 18, 2019.

The game was praised for its art style and noted for its challenging difficulty. It was both a critical and commercial success, winning several awards and selling over five million copies within two years. An animated series based on the game is in production by Netflix.

Game Screenshots:

The Making of Cuphead and Dice 2018 Presentation

Chad MoldenhauerChad MoldenhauerDirector
Jared MoldenhauerJared MoldenhauerDirector
Marija MoldenhauerMarija MoldenhauerProducer
Ryan MoldenhauerRyan MoldenhauerProducer
Jake ClarkJake ClarkAnimator
Joseph ColemanJoseph ColemanAnimator
Hanna Abi-HannaHanna Abi-HannaAnimator
Danielle JohnsonDanielle JohnsonAnimator
Tina NawrockiTina NawrockiAnimator
Thomas SmolenskiThomas SmolenskiAnimator
Caitlin RusselCaitlin RusselBackground Artist & Painter
Ali MorbiAli MorbiPainting Post-Production & Separation
Profile PlaceholderTyler MoldenhauerDigital Painter & Magician Lord
Additional Game Testing (ENZYME)
Warren ClarkWarren ClarkHand‑Lettering Artist
Mark SimonsonMark SimonsonType, Lettering & Fonts
Evan SkolnickEvan SkolnickWriter
Eric BillingsleyEric BillingsleyProgrammer
Kezia AdamoKezia AdamoProgrammer
Tony CoculuzziTony CoculuzziProgrammer
Thomas PrydeThomas PrydeProgrammer
Loïc LorriauxArtist (iLLOGIKA)
Esther QuennevilleArtist (iLLOGIKA)
Marc-André BoucherProgrammer (iLLOGIKA)
Julien DevilleProgrammer (iLLOGIKA)
Nicolas Le TellierProgrammer (iLLOGIKA)
Philippe St-AmandProgrammer (iLLOGIKA)
Simon RenshawQA (iLLOGIKA)
Valentine DessertenneProducer (iLLOGIKA)
Suzanne TeeProducer (iLLOGIKA)
David Fugère-LamarreCEO (iLLOGIKA)
François RobillardVice‑President (iLLOGIKA)
Maïa MannequinOperations Director (iLLOGIKA)
Mathieu BeaulieuProduction Director (iLLOGIKA)
Olivier MartinStudio technical Director (iLLOGIKA)
Jean-Baptiste LegrosStudio Art Director (iLLOGIKA)
Romain Douville ParentStudio Game Designer (iLLOGIKA)
Luke HattonLead Audio (Sweet Justice Sound Ltd)
Michael BenzieAudio (Sweet Justice Sound Ltd)
Chris SweetmanAudio (Sweet Justice Sound Ltd)
Jack RaeburnAudio (Sweet Justice Sound Ltd)
Samuel JusticeAudio (Sweet Justice Sound Ltd)
Joe HudsonAudio (Sweet Justice Sound Ltd)
Hannah MarshAudio (Sweet Justice Sound Ltd)
Luke De AyoraAdditional Voice Work (Sweet Justice Sound Ltd)
Denise HattonAdditional Voice Work (Sweet Justice Sound Ltd)
Steve PaquinHead of Operation (ENZYME)
Patrick GirouxProject Manager (ENZYME)
Jean-Frédéryk TachéTeam Manager (ENZYME)
Nicolas LefèbvreTeam Manager (ENZYME)
Chafik BadacheLead QA (ENZYME)
Dominic DucharmeLead QA (ENZYME)
Pascal MeunierLead QA (ENZYME)
Daniel Ryan StoneCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Matias MonttCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Thierry PradetCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Alexandre do RegoCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Camil CaretteCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Jeremy LagaceCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
John AyotteCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Kim ForgetCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Louis-Philippe MenardCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Mathieu PotvinCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Nicolas GraziadeiCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Samuel LegendreCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Stéphane GaulinCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Steve BénardCompatibility Tester (ENZYME)
Jeremy HinksAdditional Game Testing (ENZYME)
Kristofer MaddiganComposed
All Music and Lyrics
Jeremy DarbyEngineer, Mixer & Editor
Julian DecorteAssistant Engineer
Peter LetrosMastered By
John HerbermanConductor & Midi Programming
Brad ProskoAdditional Piano
Adam KingAdditional Editing & Recording
Vern Dorge (Clarinet; Alto Sax)
Andy Ballantyne (Alto Sax; Clarinet)
Alex Dean (Tenor Sax; Clarinet)
Bob Leonard (Bari Sax; Clarinet)
John Johnson (Alto Sax & Clarinet Solos)
Alex Dean (Tenor Sax; Clarinet)
Mike Murley (Tenor Sax Solos)
Big Band ‑ Reeds
Jason Logue (Trumpet)
Dave Dunlop (Trumpet)
Kevin Turcotte (Trumpet)
Steve McDade (Trumpet; Flugelhorn)
Alastair Kay (Trombone)
Christian Overton (Trombone)
Peter Hysen (Bass Trombone)
Scott Irvine (Tuba)
Steve McDade (Trumpet; Flugelhorn)
Alastair Kay (Trombone)
Big Band ‑ Brass
Robi Botos (piano)
Jeff Mcleod (piano)
Rob Piltch (Guitar; Banjo)
Paul Novotny (Bass)
Jim Vivian (Bass)
Neil Swainson (Bass)
Ted Warren (Drums)
Kristofer Maddigan (Vibraphone; Percussion)
Jeff Mcleod (piano)
Mark Duggan (Vibraphone Solos)
Alan Hetherington (Brazilian Percussion)
Big Band - Rhythm Section
Laura Chambers (Piccolo; Flute; Bass Flute)
Sasha Boychouk (Clarinet)
Ragtime Band ‑ Woodwinds
Robert Venables (Cornet)
Tom Richards (Trombone)
Scott Irvine (Tuba)
Ragtime Band ‑ Brass
Aaron Schwebel (Violin)
Emily Hau (Violin)
Moira Burke (Viola)
Liza McLellan (Cello)
Ragtime Band - String Quartet
Elizabeth Acker (piano)
Jeff Mcleod (piano)
Rob Piltch (Guitar; Banjo)
Paul Novotny (Upright Bass)
Kristofer Maddigan (Drums; Xylophone)
Ragtime Band - Rhythm Section
Laura Chambers (Piccolo)
Jonathan Dyck (Piano)
Christina Faye (Piano)
Liz Acker (Piano)
Kristofer Maddigan (Piano)
Ragtime Band - Solo Piano & Trio
Allison ToffanTap Dancer
Alana BridgewaterVocals
Tom Mifflin
Michael Black
Michael La Scala
Joel La Scala
Barbershop Quartet (Shoptimus Prime)
Jonathan Dyck (organ)Additional
Phil SpencerSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Chris CharlaSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Nate AhearnSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Nick BodenhamSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Sarah CondeSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Richard DickinsonSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Aaron GrantSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Aaron GreenbergSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Glenn GregorySpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Blain HowardSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Larry HrybSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
James LewisSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Phillip ProfittSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Rick RyanSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Angela SavareseSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Tao SilaSpecial Thanks (Microsoft)
Blake FischerSpecial Thanks
Michael FisherSpecial Thanks
David Jimenez de BenitoSpecial Thanks
George PeckhamSpecial Thanks
Jay PetersonSpecial Thanks
Jessica RonnellSpecial Thanks
David AshbrennerSpecial Thanks
Wally BargerSpecial Thanks
Curran BrownSpecial Thanks
Jeff CarmonSpecial Thanks
Tony GonzalezSpecial Thanks
Adam HeathSpecial Thanks
Josh HendersonSpecial Thanks
Tyler KeenanSpecial Thanks
Vincent LoiseleurSpecial Thanks
Jeff LukeSpecial Thanks
Chase MartinSpecial Thanks
Dave MianowskiSpecial Thanks
Karen MitchellSpecial Thanks
Mallory MosnerSpecial Thanks
Katie Stone PerezSpecial Thanks
Craig RahrSpecial Thanks
Derek RussellSpecial Thanks
Becca WatersSpecial Thanks
Scott WitherspoonSpecial Thanks
Tim WoodcockSpecial Thanks
Nick ZuclichSpecial Thanks
Brian BarbosaSpecial Thanks (Assembly Inc.)
Matt ChangSpecial Thanks (Assembly Inc.)
Raj ChadhaSpecial Thanks (Assembly Inc.)
Breanna WilsonSpecial Thanks (Assembly Inc.)
McKenzie thorpSpecial Thanks (Assembly Inc.)
Emma PrendevilleSpecial Thanks (Assembly Inc.)
Chris ContompasisSpecial Thanks (Assembly Inc.)
Elizabeth SeelingerSpecial Thanks (Assembly Inc.)
Brett WilliamsSpecial Thanks (Assembly Inc.)
Alexis GaravaryanExtra Special Thanks

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