Maja Moldenhauer, the director of the studio behind Cuphead and its DLC, recently explained that the company’s number one priority is to ensure that its employees are healthy and well taken care of. In fact, Moldenhauer explained that she doesn’t even care about delays.
In an interview with IGN posted yesterday, Moldenhauer has been open about how little she cares about delays or how long it takes to complete a game or piece of downloadable content. For example, Cuphead’s upcoming DLC, The delicious last dishwas first announced in 2018 with a 2019 release date. But it would be delayed many times to avoid the crunch and later because of covid.
However, Moldenhauer explained to IGN that she didn’t care about the long delay as “mental health had to be at the forefront” of the studio’s priorities.
“The number one thing, especially through COVID, was keeping everyone happy,” Moldenhauer told IGN. “It’s the video games. Take your time. Mental health had to be front and center, take the space and time you needed, especially in the last two years.
“We’re like, ‘If it takes longer for the game to come out, it takes longer. Who cares?'”
You might think that a company that treats people with respect and cares about their mental health should be expected and not celebrated, but in today’s world we live in, those stories are extremely rare.
If you read Kotaku or other game sites, you are probably aware of the stories and reports of terrible labor practices, months of crisisand tons of burnout in the video game industry. It’s so common that when a studio head talks openly about being mindful of employee mental health and wellbeing, even if it means delaying a game or DLC to treat people better, it might seem like an anomaly. weird (but nice). One that deserves some attention, I think.
According to Moldenhauer, this attitude to Cuphead studio is the result of the history and past jobs of the small team, experiences and the desire to do better.
“If we’re going to risk it all, it’s going to be a company we’re proud of,” Moldenhauer said.
“It will be a company that is everything, an amalgamation of everything we have always […] sought. Respect for each other, love and support. Things we didn’t get in our previous jobs. Well, we did, but ultimately there was a bottom line.
Along with an employee-first mentality and a desire to create better working conditions, Cuphead the director isn’t worried about how the upcoming and long-awaited new DLC sells or if it makes money. Instead, just creating this cool work of art and sharing it with the world, and doing it in a way that didn’t lead to burnout or crisis, is the only reward they need.
Cuphead long-awaited and delayed DLC, The delicious last dish, will be released on June 30.