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Enchanted Portals devs discuss the "Cuphead ripoff" backlash to their reveal trailer

The team pushes on

Yesterday we shared the trailer for Enchanted Portals, which for all intents and purposes, is Cuphead made by a different company. Take out Cuphead and switch in a different character, and you have Enchanted Portals. This didn't sit well with many Cuphead fans, who took to Twitter to send angry messages to Xixo, the two-man team working on the game. Polygon has managed to contact Xixo for a statement on the backlash, which you can find below.

“Yes, of course Cuphead was a huge inspiration for Enchanted Portals. We’re both avid fans and we wanted to make something similar, but always from a place of respect and admiration for the original. We were prepared for some backlash, but the trailer definitely reached way more people than we could ever anticipate, and all the hate and negativity coming our way has definitely had a huge impact on us.

That being said, along with all those negative responses, a lot of people have also reached out to us to say they adore the game and they would love to see it succeed. So we’re trying to turn our attention more towards all those who are supporting us and sending their love for the game."

Categories: Consoles

Comments

Top Rated Comment
windsorg
Wed Oct 09 19 05:08pm
Rating: 10

I love how pointing out the similarities is "hate and negativity". Why do so many developers pretend to be surprised when people discuss the obvious topic that their game is going to bring up? Was id Software shocked and appalled by gamers bringing up Half-Life 2 after they shamelessly knocked off its innovative feature in Doom 3's expansion and did it only half as well? No one made them do that. That was a choice they made.

Let's get something straight. The art style is free game. Cuphead doesn't own the 1930's. People complaining that another game resembles old Mickey Mouse cartoons are the only ones throwing empty comments around. The problem is Enchanted Portals knocks off the character animations, the game speed, and even the shapes of the arenas and bosses. If you know Cuphead at all it's an instant and obvious that this goes far beyond the art direction. Enchanted Portals goes quite a bit farther than "we wanted to make something similar" driven by "respect and admiration". This looks like a fan-game or a "rom hack" for lack of better term. It'm sure it plays just fine but it looks like any number of cell phone games that tried to quickly and cheaply imitate something popular that took tremendous effort.

My games are all, so far, inspired directly by Mega Man. I tried to make it feel like a Mega Man game in most ways. There are obvious and subtle references to Mega Man hidden all over my games. What I didn't do is steal Mega Man's exact poses, game structure, and bosses hidden under a very obvious new coat of paint. I used what Mega Man taught me and built my own game around those concepts and design philosophies.

I know how hard it is to put a game together so I hope Enchanted Portals succeeds for them but their statement on this topic is very shallow and they came out of it sounding disingenuous and desperate to ignore what people are actually saying.

rob-rmanx
Wed Oct 09 19 04:48pm
Rating: 2

It's upsetting that so many people are legit angry about this. Animation is a lot of work so this isn't some simple cash grab. I hope they can pull through! Hopefully their game doesn't lock you out of content for playing on "easy."

"We should be mad at people attempting to do things we like. Genshin Impact, disgusting, Bloodstained, shameful, Impossible Lair, vile cash-.ins."

windsorg
Wed Oct 09 19 05:08pm
Rating: 10

I love how pointing out the similarities is "hate and negativity". Why do so many developers pretend to be surprised when people discuss the obvious topic that their game is going to bring up? Was id Software shocked and appalled by gamers bringing up Half-Life 2 after they shamelessly knocked off its innovative feature in Doom 3's expansion and did it only half as well? No one made them do that. That was a choice they made.

Let's get something straight. The art style is free game. Cuphead doesn't own the 1930's. People complaining that another game resembles old Mickey Mouse cartoons are the only ones throwing empty comments around. The problem is Enchanted Portals knocks off the character animations, the game speed, and even the shapes of the arenas and bosses. If you know Cuphead at all it's an instant and obvious that this goes far beyond the art direction. Enchanted Portals goes quite a bit farther than "we wanted to make something similar" driven by "respect and admiration". This looks like a fan-game or a "rom hack" for lack of better term. It'm sure it plays just fine but it looks like any number of cell phone games that tried to quickly and cheaply imitate something popular that took tremendous effort.

My games are all, so far, inspired directly by Mega Man. I tried to make it feel like a Mega Man game in most ways. There are obvious and subtle references to Mega Man hidden all over my games. What I didn't do is steal Mega Man's exact poses, game structure, and bosses hidden under a very obvious new coat of paint. I used what Mega Man taught me and built my own game around those concepts and design philosophies.

I know how hard it is to put a game together so I hope Enchanted Portals succeeds for them but their statement on this topic is very shallow and they came out of it sounding disingenuous and desperate to ignore what people are actually saying.

chaoxys
Wed Oct 09 19 05:22pm
Rating: 1

Totally agree with you. Theres a massive difference between paying homage to something, and basically repainting it and saying it's your own. Being inspired by something is fine, but you have to work to make it your own, this game doesn't really look like it's trying to hard to do that sadly.

Couldn't have put it better myself. Inspiration and plain copies are easy to spot. And not to knock on talent because I'm sure they have loads, but to me this has "rushed out" written all over it. The animations are decent, sure but the tweening in this is so evident. It's like rather than putting in the same amount that Cuphead did, they thought they'd speed up the process so they could make those Cuphead dollars.

Honestly, best of luck to them but if you make something so obvious and blatant then don't act surprised or "above criticism" when people accuse you of it.

To cut it a bit short: To be inspired by something is NOT the same as ripping off something. Be that games, music, or art in general.

Actually, being inspired is a big thumbs up to the creator(s), but ripping off their work is truly the opposite.

I said something like this in another thread some months ago, but unsure which one it was... (I have a hunch it was that BOTW "rip-off")

elithal
Wed Oct 09 19 06:54pm
Rating: 1

Probably because comparisons on the internet are never "Hey, looks like Cuphead." It's more like "Wow dude look at this f'ing rip off, these no-imagination having *&%$#."

Link me to some of those posts. If they're so common they shouldn't take you long to find, should they? I'd do it myself but I'm obviously looking in the wrong place or following the wrong people having seen nothing that resembles your example in the truckloads of conversation about Enchanted Portals I read yesterday.

You're not gonna find "Hey, looks like Cuphead", because it doesn't "look like Cuphead". It is Cuphead with a different coat of paint.

Please do, because nothing you just linked contained anything close to "Wow dude look at this f'ing rip off, these no-imagination having *&%$#". It was all perfectly valid and mostly polite discussion of what Enchanted Portals is: an obvious Cuphead clone. That's what they made, that's what they knew they were making, and now they're surprised that people noticed and they're calling that "hate and negativity".

Discussion of the obvious is not "hate and negativity". A lot of developers, big and small, are doing this now. Spider-Man getting an obvious graphical downgrade from early showings was reported as "gamers are mad about a puddle of water" and the same thing is being done here. Obvious deflection of valid criticism is always pathetic and it happens every single time gamers point out an unpopular decision a developer made for their game.

What are your games, I'm interested

Thanks for your interest, I really appreciate it! Our game is called Entertainment Hero. It's basically the game we scrapped together while learning the development tools and the primitivity really shows. It's got eight themed levels and a boss at the very end. It's on Steam if you want to check it out!

https://store.steampowered.com/app/777540/Entertainment_Hero/

The upcoming sequel is a more proper game though that we've put almost two years into now. It'll be releasing pretty soon here if things go to schedule. Info on that one is on our website here!

https://www.windzen.net/copy-of-entertainment-hero-2

You know....its funny that when its not fine with people rehashing the hard work of projects that they are ripping off, people are being hypocritical here and say that Nintendo or any corporate should be open to the idea of letting fan games be and should not take action when such fan games exist because it would not damage the brand initself.

And yet, here we are seeing a developer making their own game only for it to be entirely reskinned to a game that was already out despite it having a different IP. What a joke.

hawk
Wed Oct 09 19 05:22pm
Rating: 1

The old adage: "Do it first or do it better".

Enchanted Portals, you didn't do 1930's animation first, so you pretty much have to do it better than Cuphead, which is a TALL order. Good luck to you.

I just checked out the trailer...what a strange situation. Its really well animated, all the characters and levels shown are original and don’t rip-off anything directly from Cuphead...but the music/art style and gameplay are completely 1:1 with Cuphead. Hmm.

I think the response would be much more positive if they were doing something different genre wise, like a traditional platformer or a Metroidvania. It’s a great style that would work great in those genres, but this looks to emulate everything about the way Cuphead feels and plays. It‘s just weird because the guys making it are clearly very very talented, making a game look like that isn’t easy in the slightest. But to see them put that talent to making something that stays so close to their inspirations...it’s just strange.

None of this bothers me, it looks good and I won’t deprive myself of a decent game just because it follows a template set by other games down to a tee, but it does baffle me that a team so talented wouldn’t try to differentiate itself creatively from their influences.

When I first saw this, I thought it was a Cuphead 2 type of game. I think the biggest problem is that the gameplay looks exactly like Cuphead.

Not having played Cuphead yet, I may be speaking out of ignorance. But something they could have done to differentiate themselves was perhaps have a different pacing for the wand weapon and perhaps have additional powerup spells that shoot differently. Something more akin to Contra Hard Corps. Perhaps they could have even taken some inspiration from Gunstar Heroes and had more elaborate boss that moves around environments.

I could very well see a 30s style game that doesn't feel like a "ripoff".

I think the bigger crime than this blatant rip-off here is that you haven't played Cuphead yet..the game is fantastic and one of the best platformer shooters/run n guns I have played in a long time. Eagerly awaiting that Delicious Last Course DLC as well as the Netflix series and whatever else the future of the franchise holds.

Im just gunna play the game, it looks fun.

wwwarea
Wed Oct 09 19 09:36pm
Rating: 1

I think the problem most people on here doesn't get is that inspiration and copying are not really different.

I mean, just like Genshin Impact, that game is 100% no different than Banjo Kazooie. If Super Mario 64 was new today, and Banio Kazooie was made after. Several people would think it's a rip off too. This especially goes for spiritual successor of some games that intentionally copies several things from a game. (e.g. That Zelda SNES style game.)
Many people don't mention it because we are used to it like genre. However, that's how genres start.

If this game is intended to copy several styles for the purpose of making like a spiritual sequel, then that's not ripping off. It's still new as a whole. If the game changed the art style, or any other style that was part of the point, then the whole point would be defeated. Many people enjoy specific "rip offs", there are people who like to see a lot of of lawful souls like games, and there are lots of people who enjoys Zelda style lawful games. These people are not trying to replace Zelda and Dark Souls, they just want to expand the idea.

The biggest problem of this game will be if it’s end up being bad.
Other than that, Cuphead team can make only so many games, and I do see a big problem if another company decides to fill the market’s desire and bring more of the same, as long as it’s good.

Being inspired by a game is great but this is just a straight up ripoff. It's basically a copy and paste clone game. If people like it, great but it's a turn off for me. Imagine if someone played this instead of Cuphead?

If Cuphead is Street Fighter, this feels like Fatal Fury.

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