Executive Producer and Lead Inking Artist at Studio MDHR
Maja Moldenhauer probably didn’t begin her career expecting to be one of the producers behind the biggest indie video game of the year. In fact she holds a degree in Biomedical Sciences and worked in the banking industry prior to joining her husband and brother in-law at Studio MDHR where she now works as a Producer and Lead Artist.
After their game Cuphead debuted at E3 2015, the small Canadian studio found itself in the spotlight with Microsoft investing heavily in the development of the game and making it one of their marquee Xbox One titles for 2017. The game was released in September to great critical and commercial success and you may have seen Maja on stage recently at The Game Awards where Cuphead picked up 3 trophies (Best Independent Game, Best Debut Indie Game, Best Art Direction).
What is the first video game that you remember playing?
“The very first game I remember playing was Super Mario Bros on NES. I can vividly remember this day as my older brothers would totally hog the controllers until my parents eventually forced them to let me play too. After that it was anything from Donkey Kong, Contra, Super Mario Bro 3, to Duck Hunt (yes, as a 6-year-old, Duck Hunt was AWESOME).”
What are your favorite games of all time?
“This is a tie…between Super Mario Bro 3 and Adventures of Lolo. Over the years I’ve developed an affinity for puzzle games and Lolo was the first one I can remember playing that drew me in to endless hours of play – I definitely have a soft spot for it.”
Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?
“I am really into Health and Fitness. I started a blog a while ago that focused mainly on nutrition and workouts. It had to take a backseat once Cuphead started getting busy – oh and having two babies in those years as well. I am looking forward to resurrecting it now that we have come up for air. I also love to slalom water ski. I’ve only been skiing for about 10 years (as opposed to many who start when they are kids), but the challenge, physical endurance and skill drew me in and I just love being out on the water. To round out my top 3 hobbies, I enjoy puzzles: Sudoku, logic puzzles, visual conundrums, etc. The satisfaction of completing a hard puzzle is super gratifying.”
Do you and your children play video games together?
“I can’t wait to play video games with my kids! Sadly, they are both under 4 and still a bit young to understand the concept. We let them hold an unplugged controller every now and then so they think they’re playing and they are intrigued. We plan on starting them off on our NES and old SEGA Master system – probably the Super Mario and Wonder Boy series to start.”
How do you make time for gaming with a busy family life and career?
“This is a tricky one. There is a massive backlog of games on my wish list or library that I want to play, but haven’t had the time. The beauty is, they’re not going anywhere. Now that our work has balanced out following the release of Cuphead we look forward to being able to play some nights after the kids are in bed. The beauty of being married to Chad (Co-Creator of Cuphead), is that he is a huge gamer as well so rather than going out to fancy dinners, we often prefer to stay in and play some couch co-op. Once the kids are older, we can make a designated games night. I’ve learned to embrace the power of scheduling things in and making sure I stay organized. “
What is your proudest moment as a parent?
“Honestly, at this phase of our life, there are beaming proud moments every day. They are learning and developing at such a rapid pace that I often find myself stopping in my tracks to focus on a new skill they’ve mastered or how they’re behaving in certain situations. I am a very typical parent in that I am just so proud of everything they do. Most recently, I took my 3 yr-old out from her car seat when we got home and she had written all of our names on a pad of paper and told me that we’re on Santa’s “Good List”. She hadn’t asked me for any spelling or how to write the letters. It was just a really proud moment.”
Make sure to follow Maja on Twitter @MajaMoldenhauer and her game Cuphead is available right now on Xbox One & PC!