Ed McMillen Annouces The Binding Of Isaac

It looks so safely familiar.

Edmund McMillen, and some of his team behind Super Meat Boy, has announced his next game. And it’s for PC. The Binding Of Isaac is “a roguelike shooter based on the dungeon structure of Zelda (NES)”, and is due out on Steam this August. There are more details below.

McMillen describes the game as having controls like “Smash TV / Robotron, in a randomly generated semi RPG world filled with powerups, items and special abilities.” And then it only gets more interesting to grasp. I’m quoting directly, because, well, read it.

“There is not a traditional leveling system in Isaac, instead we used an item system. Every level will have a treasure room, shop, boss and other secret/special rooms that might contain unique items. Special items come in 4 sets, Usable items, Special Weapon upgrades, Passive upgrades and stat boosters. 90% of items in the game stack, so as you progress your character will change into a monstrous powerhouse not only in stats and abilities but also in appearance.”

He continues,

“Aside from these core items, Isaac uses its pickup items as resources in what i call micro puzzles. The core resources in the game are Coins, Bombs, Keys, Hearts, cards and pills each of these pickups can be used in different ways to acquire special items, gain access to shops and hidden areas, kill enemies and also affect gameplay in many other ways.”

At this point the game has six dungeons, with three chapters and six bosses. There’s also over thirty enemy types, and what McMillen calls “tons of dynamic happenings”. Danny B is once more on board for music, and right now my thought is: interesting, but this doesn’t seem like a Edmund McMillen game. Don’t worry.

“Florian just made it so neutral flys are attracted to piles of shit and if they eat too much of the shit they get fat and become bloated flys that poop blood at you… I’m very happy with this game so far.”

Thank goodness.


  1. Shadrach says:

    I found SMB just too hard and built to endlessly frustrate. The music was great, I even bought the soundtrack.. Hopefully this game will not have manic obsessive twitch gamers as its target audience :P

    • Soon says:

      SMB is more about rhythm than twitch. If you’re relying on your reactions for each hazard then I’m not surprised some would find it horrendously difficult. Not that it’s particularly easy either way.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      I agree about the rhythm. Once you have the rhythm of the jumps in the level down, you got it. I love the difficulty of it, I’m a masochist. If a game ain’t trying it’s hardest to kill me it’s doing something wrong. I bought SMB(Braid too) during the Steam sale along with an xbox wireless receiver. It’s been a while since the old thumbs have ached like this.

    • jokomul says:

      It is extremely difficult. I’ve still not beaten the game (I’m on the last level where you have to run from Fetus). But I like difficult games. I just wish I could beat it once and for all haha

    • skinlo says:

      I don’t like hard games, even if I do finish them I usually end up saying ‘well that was a pile of crap, wish I’d never bought it’ instead of getting a sense of achievement. Hence I haven’t bought SMB.

    • Squeeby says:

      The game wouldn’t be that hard if the controls weren’t god awful.

    • arghstupid says:

      Yeah I gave up on SMB fairly rapidly and I like hard games. But we’re missing the important thing here – He name-checked Smash TV and NES Zelda. Excitement!

    • Alegis says:

      Also gave up fairly quickly.
      VVVVVV is tough as well, but has very frequent checkpoints. SMB is simply bullshit.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      I’m finding this all very hard to understand. I no ‘elite gamer’ by any means but I managed okay with SMB. I’m not saying ‘lol ure doin it wrong’ or trolling. I’m just… each level has a method (or more than one). Once you get the method it unlocks a way higher percent success rate (or, it means you die closer to the end of the level). Some of the threatening level elements have a method that features over and over in levels.

      And as for having a bad control system, I think that’s just wrong. Super Meat Boy strikes me as one of the most responsive and comfortable platformers around. Look at Little Big Planet for a platformer with horrifically bad platforming (I actually really like the game but for the humour with friends) and just imagine if Meat Boy was as fudgy and inhibiting as that.

      Also, very rarely is a level longer than about 30 seconds. I know those thirty seconds can be fraught with constant danger but there’s no real requirement for checkpoints. It’s just a case of breaking down each point where you aren’t safe into manageable and thus satisfying chunks and moving on to the next delicious morsel.

      Every time I die in Meat Boy I feel more respect for the level creators and the game than I do frustration. I do feel frustration at myself but it’s more like a short release of tension than a rage induced fit.

    • Mman says:

      “The game wouldn’t be that hard if the controls weren’t god awful.”

      I didn’t know RPS picked up posts from bizzaro world.

      “VVVVVV is tough as well, but has very frequent checkpoints. SMB is simply bullshit.”

      All but a few levels in SMB are shorter than the distance between checkpoints in VVVVVV; this complaint doesn’t even make sense.

  2. poop says:

    glad they arent fuckin around with releasing it on xbla months earlier after they sold so many mroe copies on steam last time

  3. Teddy Leach says:

    Oh god yes.

  4. pipman3000 says:

    “Florian just made it so neutral flys are attracted to piles of shit and if they eat too much of the shit they get fat and become bloated flys that poop blood at you… I’m very happy with this game so far.”

    i’m sold

  5. Xercies says:

    Definitly looks very similar, hopefully there isn’t a wall of difficulty like there was in Super Meat Boy, i couldn’t really get past Hell.

    • inertia says:

      Me neither, but I think that might be more just because I lost interest than it got too hard. I don’t think my death-to-success rate got drastically worse or anything; I just couldn’t be arsed with another billion-or-whatever levels of this stuff.

    • Gnoupi says:

      I was blocked for a long time in Hell, but surprisingly the next world felt less frustrating to me. I think it had to do with the awful “beasts” following you. At least in the next world you have no such things (that I remember).

      Point is, try to insist on Hell, finish just the minimum of levels (the last ones from Hell are also a bit less frustrating than the ones just before, from what I remember), because there is still a slice of the game which you could enjoy

    • Coriform says:

      I got stuck at Hell as well. I can’t stand “crushing” obstacles (in this case, the timed buzzsaws that move up and down). Make me anxious.

  6. Kaira- says:

    ” is due out on Steam this August”

    I hope they’ll release it also somewhere else than Steam. Not that releasing on Steam is bad, but I’d rather buy my games without Steam.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      Huh, rarely seen reply in these rather steam-friendly waters. I see your point, and there’s been plenty of indiegames who have profited greatly from optional steam support (AI war and Spacechem are good examples). That way you can make sure the developer gets more money and still have leaderboards, achievements, and all the comfort that comes with steam, if you want it.
      However, some small Indie devs have run into problems without a proper distributor for their games. Prime example being the Indie Stone (Project Zomboid) who are now seemingly turning to steam after having run into substantial problems with piracy.

  7. inertia says:

    Flies that shit blood? Sounds like a plan.

  8. Gizoku says:

    I don’t think this is an actual Team Meat game, Ed says in an earlier blog post that’s it a side project of his.

  9. WolVenom says:

    I would like to point out that this isn’t actually a Team Meat project.
    To quote Edmunds blog:
    “To clear up any confusion.

  10. zeroskill says:

    where do I preorder. Give me a Steam preorder now.

    • Kidane says:

      Second that. Delivery on release for all! I much enjoyed all the previous McNillen smaller games (Time Fcuk, Gish, Aether). But since this is coming out on Steam, it seems like a more elaborate version with more dense content. If it’s anywhere near as polished as Super Meat Boy was, this will be gold.

  11. Alextended says:

    He says it’s a much smaller project than SMB. I’m not sure how well that will work out, these games need all the variety they can get, imo.

  12. Kdansky says:

    I will buy it. To be honest, I would buy pretty much anything made by Team Meat, and this exact concept is something I wanted to play/make for a long time now. Zelda: LttP / Link’s Awakening are some of my most favourite games.

  13. shoptroll says:

    This sounds amazing. Can’t wait.

  14. Chibithor says:

    Super Meat Boy is one of my favorite games, and while this may not be a full Team Meat game, I have no doubt this will turn out to be preeetty awesome.

  15. notjasonlee says:

    that screenshot is not doing it for me one bit. it looks like an ugly flash game.

    • Big Daddy Dugger says:

      It probably is a flash game but it’s not ugly by flash game standards.

  16. Comradebluesky says:

    Love the name!

  17. Negativeland says:

    That’s weird. I got a comment consisting of three dots through the spam filter, but when I try to post a message with content, it gets flagged as spam…

  18. sonicblastoise says:

    this sounds a lot like the recently highlighted game “The Indie Game Legend” by Paul Hubans

    yes? no? hello? HELLO. HELLO COMPUTER

    but it looks great. they have a very distinct style. nice!

  19. RvLeshrac says:

    Alternately, you can play link to youtube.com
    Or, really, Guardian Legend.

    Related: Why is is that every time someone announces an indie project with an unusual idea, the articles make it sound like it has never before been attempted, even when there are plenty of examples of prior art? Seriously, not every indie release is some MAJOR MILESTONE IN GAME DESIGN.

    They do get credit for the randomised dungeons, but c’mon guys, treat this like the extension of existing work that it is. And maybe introduce people to the existing work while you’re at it.

    Also: Koumajou Densetsu II (In before someone releases a 2D platforming shmup and it gets treated like the only example of the genre ever.)

    • Kdansky says:

      Jabberwock looks great. Now if there only were a working download anywhere :(

    • RvLeshrac says:

      You may just want to look for a batch off Platine Dispositif games, I think that’s how I originally played it.

  20. Kektain says:

    The term roguelike seems to have been horrifically diluted as late. There’s more to roguelikes than procedurally generated maps: turnbased gameplay, rpg elements, intricate possibilities through combinations of items and the environment. I doubt this is a game where I’ll be able to empty a waterskin, fill it with acid from a nearby pool, and hurl it at my enemies.

    Pedantry aside, this sounds like a mix of fun mechanics and McMillen wtf-ery. I wonder what balance they’re going to strike between them.

  21. Brainstrain91 says:

    The SMB art style worked so well, I guess they decided to use it for all their games forever?

    Seriously, they look exactly the same. The game sounds right up my alley, and it’s not about to turn me off from buying it, I just find it exceedingly strange.

  22. cmhamill says:

    No word on the significance of the title?

    Direct reference to the most challenging passage in the Old Testament is bold…

    • cog says:

      Based on the images and description of the flies, I’m guessing based on it’s a toilet training metaphor and a constipation pun.