One of the most charming games shown a few years ago at Microsoft’s E3 display was a hand animated shooter known simply as Cuphead. What was shown at that indie-focused segment was brief, only a few seconds of the action, but the game instantly captivated players with its throwback to some of the earliest days of animation. Earlier this year, we got to see a bit more of the gameplay of Cuphead, showing off incredibly detailed boss fights and stages that would sometimes have different mechanics, like flying a plane for instance.
Every piece of footage shown continued to create this image of a unique game, with hours and hours of work put into each scene since it was all animated the old-fashioned way. Then a demo was shown off at various conventions, and there was a collective opinion that while the game looked and sounded fantastic, the gameplay itself just wasn’t everything people hoped. I imagine that this mixed reaction to playing the game was a driving factor in the decision. Unfortunately, Cuphead has been delayed to “mid-2017”.
According to a post made by the developers on their Facebook page:
“Hey everyone, we wanted to finish our game 80 years after 1936 but it will now be 81.
Throughout this year we discussed reducing the scope to make a 2016 release, but we made the difficult decision to delay the launch in order to ship with our vision intact. We are happy to announce that Cuphead will be coming to Xbox One, Windows 10 and Steam in Mid-2017.
We are constantly humbled by your continued support. Love you all and can’t wait to get this to you. Without further ado, we will get back to work!…”
The monumental task of making something frame by frame, with hundreds of frames for just the main character, was just too much to warrant a 2016 release. However, this is great news hidden beneath what initially seems bad. Due to the developers having a good six months or so of extra time, the game should become better than what it would have been if it had been released early.
Often times games are pushed into the market before they’re 100% ready. We have seen this in the extreme sense in the AAA side of game development, but it does happen in the smaller space as well. It’s good to see that Studio MDHR took the feedback they were given and accepted that the current product didn’t meet expectations.
This smart business move could make Cuphead one of the best games of 2017; it certainly has that potential visually. We’ll just have to wait and see, when the game launches sometime next year.