Retro platformer ‘Cuphead’ will remain a Microsoft exclusive, devs confirm

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Why it matters to you

PS4 owners hoping to enjoy the hand-drawn platformer will have to acquire a PC or Xbox, or just wait for a sequel.

Cuphead has been one of the most eye-catching games at E3 for the last several years. Studio MDHR’s platformer, meticulously hand-drawn to look like a 1930s cartoon, will finally arrive on September 29 for Xbox One and Windows PC. PlayStation owners will be out of luck, however, as the developers recently confirmed that Cuphead will remain a lifelong Microsoft exclusive.

Responding to a fan question on NeoGAF following a recent Games Radar post (via Polygon) about the development process, the developer confirmed that Cuphead will remain an Xbox/PC exclusive, coming first to Steam and the Windows Store, with a GOG version to follow later.  They added that there will likely be Mac and Linux versions down the road, but the game will never come to PlayStation 4 or any other consoles.

Although Microsoft does retain publishing rights, having prominently supported Cuphead‘s development for several years now, Studio MDHR does still own the IP, which they clarified at the end of the above comment. Specifying their ownership of the IP and the specific phrasing of the response (“Yes, this Cuphead game …”) would suggest that the developer is open to bringing any sequels to other platforms, assuming the first game lives up to its long-simmering hype.

After starting development in 2010, Cuphead debuted at E3 2014 during Microsoft’s press conference. It was playable at the show in the following year, but eager fans were disappointed to learn that the game as it was conceived then would only contain boss fights, without platforming levels to break them up. The team responded in kind, going back to the drawing board to flesh the game out to match player expectations.

With such a small team and the time required to make bespoke animations, this pushed the game’s release timeline back for several years. That expanded vision is actually closer to the team’s original intention for the game, which had previously been scaled down to just boss fights in order to keep it manageable for a team of three working on weekends. The overwhelming excitement the project received, however, primarily for its striking aesthetic, encouraged them to go back and make the game they had wanted to from the start.