New Max Fleischer 1930s style game coming to XboxOne and Steam for Microsoft Windows called “Cuphead”. This game definitely looks amazing, the characters and animation are all done traditionally. I am personally looking forward to playing this game, it is a good thing I own an XboxOne. You can’t get a better mixture than this.

CupHead is a run and gun indie game by two Canadian brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer at Studio MDHR. The player fights a series of Enemies to repay a debt to the devil himself. Cuphead is expected to be released later this year. Studio MDHR have not set an official release date yet, but said it will be released for sure in 2016.

“We promise it will be worth the wait.” – Studio MDHR

I contacted Chad Moldenhauer at StudioMDHR and asked a few questions, interview below:

Is all the animation done with paper and pencil?
Chad: Yes, everything is created on paper. First in pencil, and then it’s inked on a separate sheet.
The only modern technique we use is digital coloring. We did some in-game testing with digital vs. hand painted cels, and there was no difference to us (especially since we have a bunch of post-processing). Additionally, the backgrounds are created on paper with watercolor – we LOVE traditional media.

Cuphead Screengrab
Cuphead Screengrab

How did the production of this game start?
Chad: It boiled down to this: my brother and I wanted to make a console style game and we knew it wasn’t going to be a small feat. So we spent a lot of time in pre-production to come up with a style that we LOVE.

Cuphead Screengrab
Cuphead Screengrab

What do you guys think of the huge response so far for Cuphead?
Chad: The response has been incredible. It leaves us speechless for the most part and we don’t really know how to describe it. It may be that it doesn’t feel real to us because we are still working on the game…it’s hard to say. But we love our fans and feedback, it gives us extra fuel and ambition to make Cuphead as perfect as it can be.

Cuphead Screengrab
Cuphead Screengrab

Are any of you classically trained traditional animators?
Chad: When we started, I was handling all of the art and animation. I had no animation experience and just jumped in. I was (and still am) SUPER slow, but I have a pretty good grasp on what looks “right” from studying endless hours of cartoons from the era. I’ve been drawing my whole life, and have a special love for figure and gesture drawing – and that knowledge is a must for animation.

My role has morphed into art direction, but I will still animate some F/X, blink cycles or other miscellaneous things when I can. The rest of the animators that have joined the team are all classically trained and are the reason the animation in Cuphead looks as good as it does. We cannot give enough praise to the art team, they are making history and don’t even know it!

Cuphead Screengrab
Cuphead Screengrab

Do you plan on releasing any beta’s of the game on Xbox Live?
Chad: We have no current plans for a beta.

Cuphead Screengrab
Cuphead Screengrab

I know you guys don’t want to make any false promises, but do you think the release will be late 2016?
Chad: We have never promised a concrete date because we want as much time as possible to finish and polish Cuphead. There would be nothing worse than releasing a game that isn’t at least a 9/10 in our minds. So, all we can give you is a vague corporate answer: The plan is to release Cuphead in 2016!

Cuphead Screengrab
Cuphead Screengrab
Cuphead Screengrab
Cuphead Screengrab
Cuphead Screengrab
Cuphead Screengrab

Studio MDHR’s Description of Cuphead

Cuphead is a classic run and gun that centers around 1-on-1 fights (2-on-1 in two player mode). With Cuphead, we aim to evolve the genre by adding new features such as: super arts, infinite lives, a playable world map and hidden secrets. In addition to that, we will have refined controls, new game+ mode and balanced weapons to equip (that you don’t lose!). We’d love to defeat the current “Guinness World Record for Most Boss Battles in a Run and Gun Game – 25 total”.


When developing Cuphead we started with the basics – who knows this better than Shigeru Miyamoto. He set the standard for all 2D and 3D platformers and they are still a great formula for gameplay perfection. Knowing this, we’ve spent a lot of time fine tuning small details like hitboxes, screen movement, player control, weapon balancing, and a ton of small details that may go unnoticed by some.


When we were designing Cuphead, we wanted the game to be more reaction-based than just straight memorization. Great games like Contra III/Hard Corps mainly used repeating patterns that appeared in the same order every time – we feel this pattern formula tends to have less surprise on subsequent replays. On the other end of the spectrum, a game like Mega Man has a lot of proximity based patterns to mix things up – but this can let you take advantage of the boss by forcing the AI into the same series of attacks.

Watch the Trailer!

The Mermaid Boss
The Mermaid Boss
The Frog Brothers, animated by Jake Clark
The Frog Brothers, animated by Jake Clark
The Frog Brothers, animated by Jake Clark
The Frog Brothers, animated by Jake Clark

An interview with TIME Magazine on “Cuphead”

Studio MDHR

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The Author

Lavalle Lee

Lavalle Lee

Lavalle Lee has been creating animated cartoons online since 1999/2000 for his website Many cartoons on the site have gained viral video status reaching millions of viewers online. In 2009, Lavalle started learning hand drawn animation from Don Bluth in his animation classes, as well as attending his Masterclasses in Arizona. He has also personally studied animation and visual effects from Veteran Disney animators in Orlando, FL.

Lavalle is widely known in the animation industry as the creator of the website. After seeing that most animation sites were about all types of animation, not any specific to classical hand drawn animation, Lavalle knew Traditional Animation needed to be represented online. has become the leading website and social media account for all things 2D. The website served as inspiration for “The Traditional Animation Show” in which Lavalle was both producer and host.

His partnership with Don Bluth began when he championed the Dragon's Lair Indiegogo campaign as lead project manager, editor, voice actor and in-betweener. The campaign reached $730,000 dollars to produce a 7-minute pitch video. In 2017, Lavalle brought the idea of creating a school to Don Bluth, and Don Bluth University was born. After a decade of learning from Don Bluth and working together on multiple pitches and business ventures, Lavalle accepted the position as Vice President of Don Bluth's new company Don Bluth Studios.


  1. Landon Kemp
    May 11, 2016 at 7:31 pm —

    That game looks awesome. Shame I don’t have an Xbox One, though I’m hoping it’ll make it onto Steam or something. I’m amazed at the effort that was put into making it look like a cartoon from the 1930s, with the surreal Fleischer and Iwerks influences and the coloring that looks like the Three Strip Technicolor that was used in a lot of Walt’s classic cartoons.

    • Tatyana B.
      May 13, 2016 at 4:25 pm —

      Luckily it is coming to Steam as well!

  2. May 12, 2016 at 2:05 am —

    Loving it!

  3. May 12, 2016 at 2:19 am —

    I miss these wonderful cartoons.

  4. May 12, 2016 at 4:59 am —

    As a videogame addict and an Fleischer fanatic I cannot wait for this game! Looks amazing.

  5. May 12, 2016 at 7:15 am —

    I’ve been looking forward to this for a while

  6. May 12, 2016 at 12:40 pm —

    and pc lol

  7. May 12, 2016 at 1:01 pm —


  8. May 12, 2016 at 1:01 pm —


    • May 12, 2016 at 1:05 pm —

      I know 😀 I’ve been following Cuphead since day one. Fortunately it’s also coming out for PC

  9. May 12, 2016 at 2:22 pm —

    Ever since I saw the demo at E3, I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release!

  10. May 12, 2016 at 7:59 pm —


  11. May 12, 2016 at 9:12 pm —

    Chris Darnbrough

  12. May 12, 2016 at 9:33 pm —


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