Cuphead gets a creepy stop-motion trailer to announce surprise PS4 launch

Cuphead, the hard-as-nails run-and-gun platform game, is coming to the PlayStation 4 today. Studio MDHR announced the game’s arrival on Sony’s console with a fun (and kind of creepy) stop-motion trailer featuring Cuphead and the evil King Dice.

Cuphead was already renowned for its hand-drawn art style that made it feel like a 1930s cartoon you could play. But the new trailer put two of the game’s most iconic characters in a whole new style of animation inspired by the 1933 experimental short The Peanut Vendor, Studio MDHR co-director Chad Moldenhauer said in a PlayStation Blog post.

Studio MDHR worked with Toronto-based studio Stop Motion Department to make the trailer, and they “went the extra mile to ensure that they were holding themselves to many of the same techniques as stop motion animators of the era,” according to Moldenhauer:

The film itself was animated without the assistance of the computer programs that allow modern stop motion animators to preview their shots and correct errors. Instead, Philip [Eddolls] and Evan [DeRushie] limited themselves to drawn-out charts and metal gauges to record the position of each puppet, before lining them up to their next position. This mimicked the “try your best and see what happens” limitations of the early stop motion productions.

Finally, the whole thing was filmed using real lenses from 1930s known as “C Mount” lenses, which blow out the footage and give it a deliberately vintage look. Each shot was used as-is, with no corrective editing or compositing, meaning that if you look closely enough, you will see supports and other animation implements in the background.

I would say the original short is much more unsettling than today’s Cuphead trailer, but you should watch the video for yourself to judge.

Cuphead first launched in 2017 on Xbox and PC and made its way to the Nintendo Switch last year.