Cuphead Studio Put Mental Health "At The Forefront" During Delicious Last Course Development

Employee turnover can be a problem for lots of game developers both big and small. Making games is a lot of work, and deadlines means that work often has to be compressed into not nearly enough time. For StudioMDHR, makers of Cuphead and its upcoming DLC, The Delicious Last Course, crunch had to be avoided. The studio just couldn’t afford to lose any of its animators.

"It's hard to find people," Moldenhauer stated in an interview with IGN. The Delicious Last Course has been in development for years, largely because of the labor-intensive process that goes into animating each on-screen character. According to Moldenhauer, The Delicious Last Course has just as much animation in it as the original game.

Because there are so few people who have the skills to do this sort of 2D animation, Moldenhauer said that it was especially important to keep everyone healthy.

"The number one thing, especially through COVID was keeping everybody happy," she said. "This is video games. Take your time. Mental health needed to be at the forefront, taking the space and time that you needed, especially over the last two years. We're like, ‘If it takes longer for the game to come out, it takes longer. Who cares?’"

Moldenhauer explained the Delicious Last Course was originally intended to include Miss Chalice and five boss fights, but StudioMDHR are the "kings and queens of scope creep." There are now more bosses, and instead of just the boss transforming, the entire level transforms too. That means more hand-drawn backgrounds and complicated coding to make everything work.

But accidentally backing into a DLC that’s as labor-intensive as the entire first game at the same time as a global pandemic meant extra care was taken to keep the team moving, something that Moldenhauer said stems from previous jobs where such care wasn’t always provided.

"If we're going to risk it all, it's going to be a company that we're proud of," Moldenhauer explained. "It's going to be a company that is all the things, an amalgamation of all the things we've always ever wanted. Respect for each other, love and support."

The Delicious Last Course has since gone gold and is set to arrive on June 30. In the meantime, you can catch The Cuphead Show on Netflix which is set to get a second season on August 19.

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