Cuphead: employee well-being a priority for Studio MDHR [ENTREVUE]

The success of the game in retro colors Cuphead is undeniable. Loved by critics, the title designed by Studio MDHR has won several awards in the world of gaming since its launch in 2017, in addition to inspiring a Netflix series, The Cuphead Show.

The Canadian studio is releasing highly anticipated downloadable content for its game on Thursday, titled The Delicious Last Course. The DLC has been postponed a few times, partly due to the pandemic, but also because the team prioritized the well-being of its employees under unusual circumstances. It’s a decision the studio is proud of.

Weighs on Start had the chance to speak with Chad, Maja and Jared Moldenhauer of Studio MDHR to learn more about The Delicious Last Course, available from Thursday.

Studio MDHR

Weighs on Start: Cuphead has been hugely successful since its launch in 2017. What made gamers fall in love with the game?

Chad Moldenhauer: That’s a really good question and I don’t know if I have a definitive answer! We’ve been – and continue to be – blown away by the incredible support from the gaming community for our little animated adventure. The best I can say is Cuphead may have reminded people of the games they grew up with, but it’s created in a unique way they’ve never seen before. When we released the port on the Nintendo Switch, it took me back to the days of the schoolyard with friends. The portability of the system allowed gamers to share the game beyond their living room.

Every day we continue to be surprised and encouraged by the number of people who love 2D animation as much as we do, and we continue to be honored that Cuphead resonated with such a wide audience. It’s unreal!

PSS: How have things changed at Studio MDHR since the successful launch of Cuphead?

Maja Moldenhauer: In many ways things haven’t changed since the launch of Cuphead. We’re still a team that cares deeply about creating the kinds of games we’d want to play ourselves, and we strive to surprise and delight people. Perhaps the biggest change is that we’re now in the very fortunate position of being able to really take our time with every aspect of what we do, and we absolutely don’t take that for granted.

PSS: We have to ask: the DLC The Delicious Last Course was announced in 2018, and its launch has been postponed a few times. What prompted you to change its launch, and what makes you ready to launch it now?

Maja Moldenhauer: That’s a fair question! We have been very open about The Delicious Last Course and, in retrospect, probably announcing its existence too soon. After the release of Cupheadwe had so many ideas swirling around in our heads for bosses, patterns and secrets that we couldn’t include due to time constraints with the release of the first game. We got carried away – that’s definitely one of the perils of making games that we love so much.

After this point, however, we really adopted a challenging approach to development. From art to pattern design to music, we didn’t want The Delicious Last Course either simply “even more Cupheadbut rather “the Cuphead finest to date. This forced us to be very introspective throughout the creation of the game, always asking ourselves if what we were doing was really a step up from the content of the original game. When it wasn’t, you had to be ready to make the difficult decision to go back to square one.

Of course, another big factor that you’ve probably heard from other developers is the effects of the pandemic. As a company full of people who have kids of all ages, we were thrown off balance during our years of game development, and had to adjust our expectations of what we could achieve in a “day of normal work. However, I am so proud of how our team pulled together and prioritized everyone’s health and wellbeing, throughout the project. These things are far more important than setting an arbitrary release date for a game.

PSS: What can players expect with the DLC The Delicious Last Course ?

Chad Moldenhauer: When designing The Delicious Last Coursewe wanted to capture the same evolution in style and quality that you see at Disney, with their transition from late 1930s films to films like Fantasia. We wanted it to be the experience Cuphead the most polished yet, where each boss is as exciting as some of the original game’s final bosses. More than anything, we see The Delicious Last Course like a love letter to our amazing community Cuphead. When players try out the game on the Nintendo Switch, they can expect the same things they loved about the original game, but with our highest level of detail and craftsmanship yet!

PSS: What can you tell us about the new playable character, Ms. Chalice?

Jared Moldenhauer: Ms. Chalice has an all-new style of gameplay, defined by a unique moveset. A few of the big differences players will quickly notice include her ability to double jump, a “rolling” move that includes a moment of invincibility, and the fact that she can automatically parry pink objects by dashing into them. . She’s got the ‘Super Art’ move too, but we don’t want you spoiler!

Overall, Ms. Chalice is thought to offer a lot of creative variety in how players will be able to take on bosses and move through levels. platforming. For those who may not have clicked with Cuphead or Mugman, we suggest you try [Ms. Chalice] – but we think seasoned players, who want to test their high scores or try to beat them, will like embodying it too.

PSS: How long does an experienced player of Cuphead will he have to devote to the DLC?

Jared Moldenhauer: This is something that we think will vary greatly from player to player, but we would say The Delicious Last Course alone represents between 3 and 4 hours of new gameplay. However, we’re not exaggerating when we say that Ms. Chalice and her new moves make the original game quite different, so we think players will love revisiting classic bosses with her.

PSS: Do you have to finish the base game to play the DLC?

Maja Moldenhauer: No! After completing the first level “Mausoleum” on Island 1, where you meet “The Legendary Chalice”, you will also meet a new character who will trigger a whole new adventure. Players are invited to discover Ms. Chalice, even by completing the base game!

PSS: What’s next for Studio MDHR?

Chad Moldenhauer: In addition to the games, cartoons, and movies we grew up with, we try to draw inspiration from artists and craftspeople we admire. From watercolor painters to legendary animations, we are always studying and re-studying techniques that catch our attention, to see what we can learn.

Our work on Cupheadand now The Delicious Last Course, has taught us that we feel very attached to working with traditional materials, and to evoking a sense of nostalgic joy in our players. More than just creating things that evoke a certain style or a certain era, we like to test ourselves to see if we can create things that seem picked from another era, with all the challenges of authentic technique.

If there’s a “special sauce” in what we do here at Studio MDHR, maybe it’s that – the fact that we’re stubborn enough to impose these limitations on ourselves and see what happens! I think it’s fair to say that our next projects will be created with this same mentality, but with hopefully new and unexpected results.

The Delicious Last Course is available on all platforms where you can play Cuphead.


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