Cuphead, the memorable 2017 bullet-hell shooter that’s meticulously styled after a 1930’s cartoon, will soon be playable on an unlikely new platform: Tesla’s fleet of electric cars and their built-in dashboard screens. The breakout hit, which debuted on Xbox One and PC before being ported to Nintendo Switch earlier this year, is on the way to Tesla’s Model 3, Model S, and Model X, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed on episode 200 of my weekly Tesla podcast, Ride the Lightning (at the 36:48 mark).
“Cuphead, we’ve got working,” Musk said. “[The developers] have been helping us make it work. It’s a cool game. It’s insanely difficult. It’s sadistically difficult. It’s a twisted plot. It’s dark. It looks like some cute little Disney thing and you’re like, ‘This plot is very dark’,” he added with a laugh.
Musk had recently tweeted about how he and his team have been porting the Unity game engine, which Cuphead runs on, to work in Teslas. According to Maja Moldenhauer from Studio MDHR, the developer of Cuphead, the Tesla version is looking good and already running “nice and clean.” Studio MDHR and Tesla are targeting a release date of later this summer, and the in-car version will only include the Inkwell Isle One section of the game, due to the storage limitations of Tesla vehicles (which Musk discusses in the interview).
“When Tesla reached out to us to bring Cuphead to their vehicles, we were thrilled!” Moldenhauer said. “Finding out that Mr. Musk was a fan of our game was extremely humbling and getting a chance to work with such an innovative company has been really exciting. We hope Cuphead can add some classic fun to such forward-thinking vehicles.” She told me that their only requirements in agreeing to the project were that “it has to play super, super clean” with regard to framerate (“It’s a tight game,” she said), and that it had to control precisely. As such, only a wired USB controller will work with the Tesla version; you cannot play it using car’s touchscreen controls.
Tesla has already released a playable suite of classic Atari games for the Model S, 3, and X, including Asteroids, Lunar Lander, and more. Those can be played using the touchscreen or a USB gamepad. Access them via the “TeslAtari” icon in the UI’s Easter egg basket. All games, including Cuphead and TeslAtari, can only be played while the car is in Park.