The much-anticipated 1930s-style run-and-gun platformer Cuphead is being pushed back for a mid-2017 release, breaking the promised released date of 2016.
The platformer from indie game devs Chad and Jared Moldenhauer, who run StudioMDHR, first revealed the title back in January 2014. It soon made its E3 debut during Microsoft's conference, to the pleasant and surprised reactions of many who saw the trailer. While the surrounding hype remains slim to this day, the game was lauded as one of the most inventive and intriguing unveiled titles in terms of overall aesthetic.
Over at the studio's blog, Chad reasons out that the delay is necessary "in order to ship [the game] with our vision intact." Cuphead is finally coming to Xbox One, Windows 10 and Steam sometime during the middle of 2017, provided there are no more further delays, if they want to avoid waning interest from those who have already been disappointed that the studio passed up on their word.
Cuphead, with its arresting visuals that hark back to 1930s-era animation, has the early markings of a cult classic in the making. The visuals are reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons, all in its jaunty, scratchy and unpolished veneer. In a word, the selling point of Cuphead is its inherent nostalgia, as playing the game stretches back the familiar eye candy of pre-CGI animation, giving an organic, highly stylized and intentionally unpolished visuals. What the game lacks in luster, it packs in art direction with intent.
The Moldenhauers banks on this visual value, as they were less keenly focused on the game's story element, "[leaning] heavier on gameplay and not as much on story."
However, while much can be said about its novelty, there's not much to go on about the game if the studio keeps on inducing it with delays. Keep in mind, though, that traditional cel-shaded visuals, which are manually hand drawn and hand inked, take an exhaustive amount of effort to produce. The studio seems intent on authenticating their selling point, using familiar tools that were also used in the 1930s to produce these cartoon animations. The heavy animation workload might be the cause of the encumbered release.
In Cuphead, you play as a titular character, with the game's namesake, as you navigate through different worlds trying to defeat bosses. There's plenty of weapons to acquire, powerful super moves to learn and hidden secrets to discover. The premise sees Cuphead trying to repay a deal with the devil that had gone awry, much like the yet-again-delayed release date for this title.
The studio cites Gunstar Heroes (Seven Force!), Contra III, Contra: Hard Corps, Super Mario World, the Thunderforce series and Street Fighter III as the main design inspirations for the game.