Cuphead Developers are Sticking With Hand-Drawn 2D Animation for Their Next Game

Now that Studio MDHR’s darling 2D platforming-shooting game Cuphead is available for PC and Xbox One, many fans are wondering if the studio is working on their next project already. Now, we’ve learned that the Canadian troupe will at least be sticking with their signature, traditional, 2D animation for their next title.

The news comes in a new episode of IGN Unfiltered, where lead game designer Jared Moldenhauer said he thinks it “would be a shame” if they dropped traditional hand-drawn 2D animation for the next game. He said “a large part of [Studio MDHR] is the love of 2D animation” and said upholding that love in a bid to keep it relevant in the ever-changing industry.

“So many talented people out there don’t have the opportunity to use their talents in any which way, and most of the companies that used to have switched to 3D. And times do change, but I want to always be a part of [2D],” he said.

“We love animation,” art director and Jared’s brother Chad Moldenhauer said. “The 32-bit generation came out and we saw higher quality 2D, and then it just faded away. And there’s still—don’t get me wrong—there’s still amazing 2D games being made, but the mainstream 2D died.

“The triple-A studios never pushed this anywhere, so the fact that we can do something that looks like a cartoon is just the best thing ever,” Chad continued. “So we’re going to make sure we continue down this traditionally classical animation, traditional media.” Jared also pointed out that Studio MDHR has an incredibly talented team of artists skilled in 2D animation, so it would be “weird” to suddenly move to creating 3D games instead.

In related news, a proper retail version for Cuphead is planned for the future. The game has also sold over 1 million copies within two weeks of its release.

Cuphead is now available for Windows PC and Xbox One. In case you missed it, you can find our review for the game here (we recommend it with our highest praise!).



Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive.

  1. alterku
    November 15, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    As long as the quality remains as consistent, and the gameplay is different enough, I’m happy with this decision. The tight controls aside, most of what made Cuphead great was the art style.

  2. Anon_Amous
    November 15, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    That’s awesome!
    See you guys in 5 years!

  3. Mr0303
    November 15, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Awesome. They’ve proven that they know how to do it, so seeing another project in the same or similar style would be great.

  4. GameZard
    November 15, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Good none of that 8bit or 16bit shit.

  5. BFG
    November 15, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    My sole complaint about Cuphead is the space requirement (11GB) for a 2D game

  6. DrearierSpider
    November 15, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Good, there’s no way a team of animators that talented should shy away from an art style almost no one else is doing.

  7. RPG
    November 15, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Awesome news!
    Hopefully the next title will be not have an exclusivity deal with Microsoft, so Sony and Nintendo platforms can have get in on the action as well.

  8. Jack Thompson
    Jack Thompson
    November 15, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Did you get too used to pixelshit?

  9. Jack Thompson
    Jack Thompson
    November 15, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    With the money they made this time around, they should probably be able to afford full multiplat. Is their current deal limited time only? I think Cuphead would do well on the Switch and PS4.

  10. anon
    November 15, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Or you can buy a PC and stop contributing to the exclusivity rollercoaster.

  11. RPG
    November 15, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    I believe due to the fact that Microsoft assisted with the funding of this game/agreements set in place, it is a permanent exclusive to Microsoft. It is a shame, because I do agree, it would be awesome to have Cuphead on those platforms. I would definitely get it for my Switch if that were the case, especially now that a physical retail version is on the horizon.

  12. RPG
    November 15, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    I actually do intend to get this game for PC when possible. I have a laptop that may be able to run it, but I would prefer to wait until I can construct my own gaming rig, once I am able to get the opportunity to secure my own house which can facilitate the space for it (by then I can hopefully snag a physical copy, and at a cheaper price as well).
    I am not paying loyalty to any company. I have almost every console from every major console generation, including this one (just not the Xbox One, because just get a PC). I usually just like games to be more widely available across platforms whenever possible. Everyone wins.

  13. GameZard
    November 15, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    He loves pixelshit.

  14. Fear Me I Am Free
    Fear Me I Am Free
    November 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    Totally okay with that.

  15. Zanard Bell
    Zanard Bell
    November 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    If they could make a game with the disgusting aesthetics of Ren and Stimpy in a hand-drawn fashion… I think they have a hit on their hands.

    November 15, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Awesome to know! I much prefeer hand drawn than sprites for 2D games.

    Now how about that PS4 port for Cuphead my boys???

  17. CRES
    November 15, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    It would be cool if each game they make follows the progression of animation. Like at one point it would be Voltron style game.

  18. David Curry
    David Curry
    November 15, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Yes, let’s see more 16-32-bit inspired indie projects, the golden age of 2d gaming.

  19. David Curry
    David Curry
    November 15, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    ….16bit style can stick around a little longer.

  20. sanic
    November 15, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    “a proper retail version for Cuphead is planned for the future.”

    Except the box comes with a download code so fuck it, does have a nice art cell though.

  21. BFG
    November 16, 2017 at 1:37 am

    I sure do love this trend of 2D games taking up 8-11GB in HDD space, and 3D games taking up 20-50GB, just because devs now decided that the “powerful” tools are an excuse to bypass all the optimization/compression.

    It’s an lost art from the older hardware

  22. BFG
    November 16, 2017 at 1:49 am

    This is a funny thing to complain in this current age

  23. SevTheBear
    November 16, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Sounds good to me

  24. SLoWMoTIoN
    November 16, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Prob gonna get shit for it but 1930s cartoon art style is shit. I hope they do 1980s comics next.

  25. Nagato
    November 16, 2017 at 5:33 am

    MDHR owns the ip themselves, but console exclusivity for the first game seems permanent based on how much MS’ money allowed them to expand the game beyond the initial scope.

    As for the next game, I cannot say whether they’re able to fully fund that themselves now. At the very least MS has proven themselves a reliable partner, and are likely foaming at the mouth to throw an even bigger bag of money their way for their next project. Issue then becomes a question of which third party could afford (and would be willing to) to pay MDHR top dollar.

    Would be an interesting dilemma to be faced with if I were employed by MDHR, to say the least.

  26. Nagato
    November 16, 2017 at 5:57 am

    I assume he meant that with a PC alone you’d avoid the “will we get it as well?” song and dance 19 out of 20 times because the platform simply does get it all, as long as you don’t care about that occasional 20th game or first parties.

    But getting your new place should definitely come before videogames, yeah. For a prospective PC gamer I’d recommend checking sites like Humble Bundle, Fanatical and Indiegala once or twice a week; you can amass ridiculous amounts of games to play by the time you do build your rig, at negligible costs at that.

  27. Ruggarell
    November 16, 2017 at 6:57 am

    Can you actually put your games on the PS4? You know the most relevant home console right now?

  28. Chris Omega
    Chris Omega
    November 16, 2017 at 10:08 am

    20GB isn’t a lot. There’s no way modern complex games can be 2GB.

  29. BFG
    November 16, 2017 at 10:50 am

    20GB isn’t a lot

    But IT IS a lot. You’re saying this because most folks have at least a 1TB HDD in their PC for instance (I personally have 3 HDDs for a total of 4TB). But that doesnt excuse the complete lack of compression on assets lately.

    It’s even more annoying when the amount of content doesnt follow up (especially compared to older games) to justify the bloated datafile.

    There’s no way modern complex games can be 2GB/

    Have you actually seen my example of vanillaware games below when it comes to 2d games ? (which was my point above)

  30. Chris Omega
    Chris Omega
    November 16, 2017 at 10:53 am

    “3D games taking up 20-60GB or even more.”
    “Have you actually seen my example of vanillaware games below when it comes to 2d games ? (which was my point above).”

  31. BFG
    November 16, 2017 at 11:02 am

    You used my sentence of “Old 2D games didnt take up more than 2GB at worst before” to say “There’s no way modern complex games can be 2GB”. Of course it seemed obvious you were implying about 2D titles

    And “complex” modern 3D games are also uselessly bloated in size. Do you recall Vanquish or MGR for instance? Those games are actually light in size if you take the uncompressed cutscene videos (15GB of them in Vanquish & 21.5GB on MGR) out of the equation.

    Also please refrain yourself from upvoting your own comments.

  32. alterku
    November 16, 2017 at 11:33 am

    That’s unity for you

  33. RPG
    November 16, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Indeed. I have had the goal for a very long time to construct my own gaming PC, and have that as my predominant gaming platform, with consoles being for any exclusives I may be interested in. I just need to have some things taken care of for myself, my girlfriend, and our prospective future before that can become a reality, haha.
    Thank you for the tips. I frequent sites such as Humble Bundle and the like (I have been subscribed to mailing lists for eons), as they can offer great deals on multiple games. I have just over 100 games on Steam, 30-40 via GOG, and via other means, so I think I am covered on that front :P.
    The GPD Win certainly can be an interesting provisional option. I have thought about procuring one off and on before. However, I have ultimately decided that I will save as much money as I can toward the future plans described above. The Nintendo Switch was my one big purchase this year, haha.

  34. Chocolate ISISCream
    Chocolate ISISCream
    November 17, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Optimization is a meme, especially with Microsoft (mandating 100+ gig patches just for “”””””4K”””””” assets).

  35. dpsttmpst
    November 18, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    This game is the best example of keeping oldschool Americana alive.