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GDC 2019

Nintendo And Cuphead Creator On Growing Relationship With Microsoft

by Ben Hanson on Mar 21, 2019 at 11:01 AM

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During GDC 2019, we spoke with Nintendo's manager of publisher and developer relations Kirk Scott, Nintendo's product marketing specialist Vincent Chon, and Cuphead co-creator Jared Moldenhauer about how badly Moldenhauer wants the character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and also how the port of the Microsoft-exclusive platformer happened to begin with.

So how did this happen? Take me back to the beginning of Cuphead being ported to the Switch?

Kirk Scott: We’re always trying to get the best content on the platform. So it’s organic, like "Hey, this would be a great idea." Then somebody at Microsoft says, "Hey we think this would be a great idea too." Then they talk to those guys and it just happens.

Jared Moldenhauer: Well, from my perspective, and I don’t know so now I’m just speculating, but the industry is changing a little bit more to be more supportive of indies. Why should we have so many walls up? Why not support all gamers and work between the Goliaths like Microsoft and Nintendo to find a balance so that indie gaming can have a better chance… instead of locking things out for the rest of time, that’s kind of a problematic approach that I don’t think would make it in the future.

Scott: Indies are the small guys, so it’s good to give them an opportunity to launch on whatever platforms they can.

Vincent Chon: Our strategy with indies is "I really just to let you guys do your thing." We don’t want to be a roadblock there, we just want to bring great games to fans.

Do you know if it was Nintendo reaching out to Microsoft to say, "Hey, can we please have Cuphead?"

Scott: I don’t. I don’t know even where it started. It just kinda happened.

So Jared, how did you find out? Did you just get an email or a phone call?

Moldenhauer: It wasn’t me. I’m going to guess it was [Cuphead producer] Maja…. I’m left in a dark corner.

Are there going to be Xbox Achievements?

Moldenhauer: The idea is there’s going to be some form [of achievements] down the road, some sort of integration of Xbox Live but I can't really speak to that. I have no clue at this point, that’s a question for Microsoft.

Scott: It’s probably coming later.

So not at launch?

Moldenhauer: It’s not at launch at all.

On the left is Nintendo's Kirk Scott, Jared Moldenhauer on the right.

It’s a bizarre place we're in, right? Can we all just acknowledge that?

Scott: I’m just psyched to have Cuphead. If that’s bizarre then I’ll take it.

Moldenhauer: And we’re on a Nintendo system, officially!

And it will be the same content?

Moldenhauer:  There’s going to be localization, there’s going to be extra animation flourishes throughout. The cutscenes that used to just be a still image between islands now have some animation. And there might be a few little extras for people to find out…

Scott: Oooooh...

Themed easter eggs?

Moldenhauer:  Who knows?

Seeing anything from Nintendo in that art style, people’s hearts will melt. Please let that happen.

Scott: (Laughs)

To learn more about Cuphead on the Nintendo Switch, check out the details from the announcement right here.