We’ve heard about Cuphead for the first time on Oct. 25, 2013 when StudioMDHR shared the first teaser trailer. A 1930s art style and boss-focused run-and-gun gameplay rocked the internet, and a couple of years later, the team has finally released the game.
The thing is that the story has more it, so let’s take a closer look at the journey that started back in 1998 with an article by Polygon. StudioMDHR shared a series of images showing the development milestones that defined the final game.
Chad and Jared Moldenhauer wanted to make games since they were kids. They just didn’t know how. “I would do dumb things like design my own Mega Man on paper,” says Jared. “Like, this is what this boss would do and it would be so different. Mine’s going to have the first female robot …”
“It was more a fantasy” at that point, says Chad.
In high school, Chad dabbled with simple hobbyist games like one called Grandma Pickins. “You play as a grandma and you pick berries and the more berries you pick, you can make more jams or custards or maybe make a fresh torte,” says Jared.
“Ahead of its time, to be honest,” says Chad.
Then around the year 2000, the brothers decided to take a shot at making a commercial game, hoping to make a prototype and pitch it to get a publishing deal. They dabbled with a couple of run-and-gun ideas — one inspired by Contra called Omega Response, another with crayon-shaded characters called Ninja Stars. Neither of those got very far, as the staff ran into tech limitations, though Ninja Stars featured two main characters — one red and one blue — an idea that would carry through to Cuphead.
You can read the full story here. In the meantime, check out the other illustrated milestones below: