Cuphead, cartoonish indie platformer darling, is getting its own Netflix show, according to its developers at Studio MDHR. The show, which will be made by Netflix Animation, will be called The Cuphead Show! As a fan of the game, I can only hope the trademark dark edge makes it into the show — because anyone who’s played the game will know it’s not for the most sensitive of souls.
Coming to you in full color and cine-sound, it's…The Cuphead Show! Witness the wondrous Inkwell Isles as you've never seen them before in an original series inspired by classic animation styles of the 1930s. Now in production by the talented team at @Netflix Animation! pic.twitter.com/4xA59eVLra
— Studio MDHR (@StudioMDHR) July 9, 2019
Not much is known about the show’s content thus far. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show will be made with the help of King Features Syndicate, the same company that owns the rights to Betty Boop, Felix the Cat, and several other staples of the era Cuphead lovingly imitates. It’s a perfect candidate, visually speaking: the game is deliberately patterned after the 1930s-era Fleischer cartoons, meaning it’s designed to not look more like a cartoon than your usual platformer in the first place.
I do kind of wonder how Cuphead‘s darkness will translate well to the screen. The game’s story is, not to put too fine a point on it, majorly fucked up. The two ceramic young’uns, Cuphead and Mugman, make a deal with the devil to save their own skin after losing a rigged casino game — and then they proceed to collect souls from other debters by beating the tar out of them in fights.
That is to say, the world of Inkwell Isle is not a cheerful one, despite its bright color. The fact the game is frustratingly difficult kind of builds on that “not for the kiddies” vibe — so it kind of worries me that its otherwise-blank page on Netflix is listed under the “Kids TV” genre.
If nothing else, this appears to be part of streaming services’ concerted effort to appeal to gamers, though where this impulse came from I’m not precisely sure. Other than The Cuphead Show!, Netflix is making its new Witcher series, of which it’s thus far released but a few promotional images. Scuttlebutt also has it that a Halo series is in development. Seems like they’re taking a very broad slice out of gaming in general to see what genres resonate with audiences. While the choice of Cuphead as a subject is a bit of an unexpected one, I’ll appreciate it if Netflix makes a show with the game’s trademark macabre sense of humor.