Enchanted Portals: Blatant Rip off or Inspired Fan Project?

   A couple weeks ago, Enchanted Portals was announced to the internet. It seemed like a fun Cuphead inspired game. Upon further inspection, however, it more and more seemed to rip off of Cuphead, and not just its style. The animations, the fluidity, even the backgrounds were very eerily similar to that of the beloved Cuphead game. Without further delay, the internet spun out of control to call out the game as a ripoff. To be honest, I see where they’re coming from. A lot of bosses are incredibly similar to Cuphead’s bosses besides the exact designs. Similar poses and color palettes are used on these bosses, as AlphaOmegaSin was quick to point in a tweet that showcases the similarities between the select bosses (except the Dragon boss, that’s just an easter egg in this game). The way the main characters move and are animated are nearly identical with only some minor changes.

   Yes I do understand that it could just be the fact that they’re the same animation style, however there’s a difference between style and what looks to be tracing the animation in this case. Not that it’s actually tracing, it just looks so close to the animation in a style that you can get rather creative with that it’s difficult to not see it as a carbon cut copy. The bosses in Enchanted Portals, besides the rather similar ones, look quite creative. There’s this cow on a space ship that looks neat (despite he takes moves from the robot boss), there’s a cool rooster guy with a hairdo, and a giant crab with a ship on him, it’s all rather a much more loose take on the game, even if there are many poses and animations that are ridiculously similar.

   However, to really determine whether what’s ripping off and what’s inspired, we need to go directly to the source. Fortunately, Polygon was able to get in contact with Xixo, a studio composed of two people. These two were Daniel, a director and programmer and Gemma, an artist and composer.

     “’Yes, of course Cuphead was a huge inspiration for Enchanted Portals,’ Gemma told Polygon over Facebook. ‘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,’ Gemma wrote. ‘So we’re trying to turn our attention more towards all those who are supporting us and sending their love for the game’” (Marshall 1).

Essentially, these two are the entire studio working on, what they say, is a huge. So how in the seven hells did two people manage to work on an entire Cuphead-esq game in just 2 short years to the point where it had plenty of footage from several bosses? It seems that their exact placements and animations, all made in a short period of time, it’s hard not to see that they might’ve copied code or even traced the animations.

   The game was set to go up in Kickstarter on October 25th, however they are in negotiations with a publisher now and are postponing the Kickstarter incase it doesn’t work out. Regardless, this is shaping up to be a very interesting release.