Netflix eyes Cuphead as latest video game web-series adaptation

Cuphead developer Studio MDHR announced on Twitter that its 1930s-inspired side-scrolling video game Cuphead will receive its own animated show, following other popular IPs like The Witcher.

Netflix Animation is producing a series based on Studio MDHR's 2017 side-scrolling shoot-'em-up Cuphead. The show will be created by Netflix Animation, the company’s animation arm, and follows a series of Netflix adaptation announcements over the past two years.

The Cuphead Show takes place in Inkwell Isles, the same location from Studio MDHR’s video game, and features main characters Cuphead and Mugman. The animated series will most likely stay a Netflix exclusive, although Hearst's King Features Syndicate is collaborating with the company to help create the adaptation, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Studio MDHR's founders, Jared and Chad Moldenhauer, will also collaborate on the project as executive producers, and the series will seemingly follow the original game's plot.

Cuphead launched in September 2017 after sustained interest since its initial reveal in 2013, including multiple E3 previews from Xbox. The game has since sold over four million copies, making it a particularly noteworthy success for an indie developer’s debut game.

But The Cuphead Show isn’t alone at Netflix. The IP joins a growing list of video game adaptations reaching Netflix. Netflix's animated adaptation of Castlevania premiered in July 2017 to critical acclaim, and that same year, The Witcher’s live-action Netflix adaptation was revealed. While the production’s story will follow the plot of the original Polish Witcher novels as opposed to CD Projekt Red’s video game series, PC Gamer reports cinematic director Tomas Baginski will "direct at least one episode.” Resident Evil is also receiving its own Netflix-produced series, seemingly created by the Resident Evil movies' studio Constantin Film, Deadline reports.

It’s likely Netflix will continue courting producers to create video game adaptations if The Cuphead Show and The Witcher land higher viewership numbers. And if those series are anything like Castlevania, fans can expect high-quality treatments of their favorite franchises, all exclusive to Netflix’s streaming platform. Whether other streaming services will take notice and begin developing their own exclusive productions remains unclear.

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Ana Valens is a games journalist from Brooklyn, New York. Her coverage at GameDaily.biz specializes in player-developer relations, long-term business trends, and gender issues in the gaming industry. Alongside her frequent contributions to GameDaily, her work has appeared at the Daily Dot, Dot Esports, Waypoint, Rolling Stone's Glixel, and Fanbyte.

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