What happens when one half of a development team goes on holiday and leaves the other, slightly agoraphobic half at home? In a roundabout way, it ends up in The Binding Of Isaac. That’s the origin of the game, the very moment that sent Edmund McMillen down into the basement to confront elements of his religious upbringing in a Flash game. Isaac’s odd story is told in this interview from the makers of Indie Game: The Movie. Want to hear about how Ed’s Team Meat partner Tommy Refenes’ holiday turned into a game of contradictions? It’s posted below, and it’s absolutely fascinating.
EDIT: The video was live when I wrote the story, and now it’s private. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Posts Tagged ‘Edmund McMillen’
After Ed McMillen quietly announced The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth last year, the snazzy, SNES-style remake of the disturbing rogue-like has been fairly quiet. Almost as if it were locked in a basement, hidden from the judgmental gaze of society who wouldn’t be able to just stare at the awful, lumpen horrors it possesses. But it turns out I’m applying the game’s fiction to the development process, which is a huge error. I’ve still to see the game in action, but the atmosphere of the live-action trailer they’ve just released is pitch-perfect. Low-fi and utterly horrible. Please watch it with the lights on.
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Bits and pieces of genetically modified cats have been spilling out of Team Meat’s web-gullet for a few months now but the most recent hairball of information catapulted onto the blog contains the clearest description of the game to date. It’s a “Cat Lady Sim”, with a cut-away of a house crawling with felines, each of which has a unique appearance, set of stats and personality. I’d imagine quite a few of them have catastrophic diseases of one sort or another as well.
I think most would describe Mew-Genics as a cross between The Sims and Pokemon with a sprinkling of Animal Crossing and a dash of Tamagotchi , but at its core the game really isn’t like anything we’ve seen before.
The retelling of a session with the game explains more.
I suppose it’s only fitting that, just as one of the holliest, jolliest, holiest of holidays begins to descend upon us, we’ve suddenly struck a blood-and-pus-spewing vein of Binding of Isaac news. First there was a completely mad (in a good way) looking Team Fortress 2 mod, and now Edmund McMillen himself has reclaimed the stage to present a hellish heap of details about the upcoming Binding of Isaac remake. In short, Nicalis – they of the recent Cave Story console remakes and NightSky – are handling the heavy lifting while McMillen cracks the whip from the lead designer nightmare throne. Non-Flash graphics, local co-op, and a Wrath-of-the-Lamb-sized expansion are the standout features, but it wouldn’t be Binding of Isaac without a million-billion other gleefully gruesome things. And on that front, McMillen and Nicalis intend to deliver.
Sometimes, modding is a delicate, subtle art – its inspirations many and nuanced, and its results unexpectedly evocative. It’s akin to the flap of a butterfly’s wings – barely even a whisper on the wind, yet capable of breathing pollen-dappled life into countless fields and genres. Other times, modding’s about taking one crazy and thing and cramming it into another crazy thing to make a third, orders of magnitude crazier thing. Which brings us to a completely insane Binding of Isaac mod for Team Fortress 2. The objective, so far as I can tell, is to do normal TF2 stuff (teamwork, friendship, murder) while also dealing with an onslaught of decidedly un-bound bosses. It looks completely wild. Traverse the break’s treacherous dungeons to check it out.
Returning from holiday has filled me with anxiety. If I deem the fact that Team Meat are developing a game about cats to be newsworthy, I fear that one of the blustering colonels who make up 42% of RPS’ readership will choke indignantly on his morning brandy and then send me a missive of terrible indignation. “Sir, your recent declaration that the announcement of Team Meat’s Mew-Genics is in any way ‘new’ cuts me to the quick. Captains Grayson, Meer, Rossignol and Walker have all written twenty thousand word dissertations regarding the wider cultural significance of felines, ludology and genetic manipulation. I bid you good day.” Oh, Colonel Breeches, settle your moustaches and just read the announcement below.
No, no, it’s not what it sounds like. Edmund McMillen hasn’t suddenly decided to beat the record for fastest “HD” remake treatment ever. This remake, to hear McMillen tell it, is very, very necessary. In short, have you ever noticed how Binding of Isaac occasionally chugs even on machines powered by blazing tech and unholy sacrifices to Shan’thulex, bloodlord of the night (and a small chain of mom ‘n’ pop PC hardware stores)? Well, that’s because it runs on Flash, and McMillen thinks it’s high-time that changed. That, however, is only the beginning of this remake.
This is quite bad for me personally. Binding of Isaac, you see, unhinged one of its many grotesque orifices and devoured my life last year. The number of hours I sank into Edmund McMillen’s blood-sweat-tear-and-excrement-based roguelike could be described as substantial. Conversely, activities that failed to receive that designation during a similar timeframe include eating, sleeping, and not being presumed dead by most of my friends and family members. So, while you say hello to Binding of Isaac’s Wrath of the Lamb downloadable expansion, I say goodbye. Probably forever.
I’ve got a mighty fine idea. Why not point a camera at a bunch of creative sorts and let them speak their minds? That’s how Indie Game: The Movie was made, although I suspect editing the hundreds of hours of footage into something watchable, fascinating and entertaining was the hard part. Perhaps that’s why Swirsky and Pajot’s film won World Cinema Documentary Editing Award at Sundance 2012. Everyone will be able to watch it soon, or at least anyone near an internet connection, as it will be available as a downloadable purchase on June 12th. What’s most intriguing about this is that one of the download services carrying the film will be Steam. This leads to the obvious questions: will every film in the world soon be available on Steam and will Episode Three be a cinemovie?
Despite the constant flow of new games to try, be they the sort of grand strategy that devours weeks or tiny flights of fancy, there are some games more than a fortnight old that I still find time to play. The Binding of Isaac is one. Short, decidedly sour and extremely attentive to my desire for carefully controlled randomisation and odd loot, every journey into the basement has something to offer. We knew an expansion was on its way and now we know it’ll be here on May 28th. According to the trailer, it’ll also contain ‘more’ of just about everything.