Binding Of Isaac Remake To Have 16-Bit Graphics, Co-op

At this point, it's pretty safe to say that McMillen has binders full of Isaacs.

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.

McMillen laid down the blueprint for the remake, subtitled “Rebirth,” on his blog – noting, however, that it’s only barely begun development and could change quite a bit before its planned end-of-2013 release date.

“The remake will feature all the content featured in BOI+Wrath, but will also feature another Wrath sized expansion over the top that will feature a new final chapter, ending, 2 new playable characters, and tons more items, rooms, enemies, bosses and the like. The goal will be to make replaying the whole game not only worth it, but also make it so it feels very fresh and new.”

“The game will be getting a full 16-bit makeover. I’m doing this because I think the art is tired and I’m sick of looking at it. I think a fresh coat of paint is needed, and I think it’s kinda¬†appropriate/funny to do a demake for the remake.”

Flash, meanwhile, was the bane of Isaac’s tear-stained existence, leading to all sorts of jankiness and performance issues on even the sturdiest of machines. McMillen claims, however, that the new engine will run “perfect/fast finally!” As a result, local co-op’s in, but online’s not on the table because “that will just extend the release by another forever.” And I think we can all agree that it’s already been way too many forevers.

But what of Mew-Genics, Team Meat’s new mysterything that’s probably a game unless it’s not? Well, according to McMillen, it’s in full-time development, so that’s why he’s entrusting Nicalis with BoI’s remake – to keep his full focus on moving forward.¬†So yes, 2013’s set to be a good year for fans of blood, guts, poop, and kitties (!!!). And no one else.


  1. Zogtee says:

    I was actually getting excited until I read the “end of 2013” bit. A year from now. That’s not a typo, then?

    • lordfrikk says:

      I’d rather they take their time instead of releasing it half-baked.

      • Zogtee says:

        Imagine if those weren’t the only two options.

        • Nevard says:

          Alas, as we don’t live in a magical kingdom where money translates directly into fully trained team members and time can’t be made to stand still while you get on with your work, they are the only two options.

  2. Jason Moyer says:

    For the love of god include xinput please.

    • Heliocentric says:

      Joytokey yo!

      • Kitsuninc says:

        Yeah, I really don’t get why people care much about games having native controller support. Getting Joy2Key working is easy as cake and it seems to work perfectly (As long as you can get things like the dead zone right) and unlike adding Xinput to your game, it’s not limited to just a select few types of controllers. It’s also pretty much a necessity as a PC gamer, so you should use it already if you like gaming with a controller.

        Mind you, I don’t know how long it takes to get Xinput into a game, so if it’s just a ten minute dealio, then by all means it’s stupid not to include. Also if there’s any analog input, but BOI lacks that.

        • waaaaaaaals says:

          A lot of people have some kind of obsession with not wanting to use third party programs to play with a pad so they refuse to use a pad or refuse to buy the game.

          Since it’s going on the 360, it’ll probably be a port of that, if the PC version even ends up existing so it’ll have to use XNA’s stuff, which means xinput.

          Directinput on the other hand probably won’t make it in.

        • rockman29 says:

          I love Joy2Key.

          But yea, it’s only failure is no analog input. Sometimes a game will detect analogs and Joy2Key supplements it though, which is kind of cool lol.

          Xpadder is supposedly good for that, but I don’t want to bother. I like Joy2Key and it’s incredible low profile and simplicity.

          But yea it’s also kind of sad that modern games, especially those which clearly would work well with a gamepad or ports from consoles, don’t have proper controller support.

          Even GearBox’s Halo 1 for PC had incredible detection of game controllers. One of the best examples of controller support done properly.

          I don’t think they had any special needs or handicap benefitting options though. All games need to have that stuff too.

          • lokimotive says:

            Yeah, I tried Joy2Key, but I really had a lot of trouble using the analog sticks with it, which is really unfortunate because having two analog sticks just seemed like the natural way to play the game.

    • Prime says:

      ^This. Having to fiddle with a third-party app just to enable wonky gamepad support was not my idea of a fun time.

    • nekoneko says:

      Don’t worry about it. They didn’t say so in the article for some reason, but at the moment t his remake is only on track for PS3/Vita and being considered for 360 and Nintendo.

  3. Didero says:

    From what I’ve read here, it’s not Flash that’s the problem, it’s the way they used Flash. Apparently they resized and drew images that were far too large, on every draw. Of course that’s gonna lead to major slowdown.
    So while Flash may not be the best programming language to release your commercial stand-alone game in, if you use it properly it isn’t too bad.
    I think Defender’s Quest is made in Flash too, and that runs well.

    • bakaohki says:

      Exactly. They used as2, which is pretty much “obsolete” now and is superseded by as3, which is indeed a quite nice language. Actually flash is getting better and better in the standalone/downloadable space, while slowly dying out from browsers – I myself hope that Adobe will not pull the plug alltogether, but knowing how unorganized their strategies are, one day they might just kill it all…

  4. Oozo says:

    Relevant in this context:
    The postmortem published earlier this week on Gamasutra. (A lot of the infos here are to be found in greater detail and in context there.) Interesting to see that McMillen is very aware of the shortcomings BoI has, but that they are mostly due to him thinking back in the day that interest in the game would be minor at best.

    link to

  5. NathaI3 says:

    End of 2013? So over 2 years after the original was released? I love Binding of Isaac, but this seems like milking it a bit…

    Doubt i’ll play the remake much because of the 50+ hours i put into Wrath of the Lamb.

    • caddyB says:

      Same here. I mean, I’ll probably buy it just because I’ve spent so much time playing BoI that the guys deserve getting more money for it, but I don’t see myself playing it all that much.

    • Derppy says:

      I see it as fixing, rather than milking.

      I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time on Binding of Isaac and I’ve enjoyed it a lot, but if you look at how it’s done, it’s a piece of shit.

      It’s built with original action script from 90’s and uses many techniques that are considered terrible practice even in flash game development. This is why the game performs like crap (slowdowns when there’s 10+ projectiles, even if you are running latest i7), is locked to low resolution that gets stretched, can’t have any native support for gamepads and so on.

      Now they are building it on a proper language and throwing in a new art style, co-op and bunch of content. I’m perfectly OK with this, because it wasn’t an expensive game to begin with and I bet the new content alone is worth the price.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Well, personally, I loved Binding of Isaac – apart from the moving and the shooting.. so I ended up playing it for maybe an hour and a half and wishing I’d wanted to play it more, because I wanted to see what else it had up its sleeve.

      So the news of a total rebuild with most of the same content fills me with glee.

    • The Random One says:

      I know you meant the exact opposite, but the way your post is worded makes you look like you’re saying he’s miking the franchise because he’s taking too long to release the remake.

      • NathaI3 says:

        Ah yes, you are right.

        I suppose my real question is, if rebuilding the game is necessary why not
        a) make it a sequel, with all the new content, story etc that requires or
        b) give it away (without the extra content) to owners of the original.

        • Wedge says:

          Plausibly for all the console children that will never play any game on PC. And also a sequel seems unnecessary when you’re talking about a randomized game and adding a ton more content. It should come off as quite a “new” game other than the bosses I suppose, but even those can be reworked to play differently/have more variations.

        • SavageTech says:

          A) The game doesn’t really lend itself to a proper sequel story-wise, and if it just reuses a lot of the same characters/items/enemies then the difference between a sequel and a remake is relatively minimal. Was Super Mario Bros II (Japan) a sequel to Super Mario Bros? Not really, they reused practically everything and yet the original was still a fine game on its own.
          B) Because the programmers need to get paid in order to make the project worth doing. They’re the ones who will be remaking the game with a real engine (i.e. not shitty Flash code). Do you propose that Edmund pay the guys at Nicalis with his own money and then give the game away for free to its 700,000+ existing owners? That’s asinine. It’s far better to package the remake with new content and give fans something to look forward to while also making it a feasible financial move for Nicalis.

          I understand where you’re coming from. I initially felt irritated and duped by this remake as well, but this game was five goddamn dollars and I’ve played it for 265 hours. Given the amount of time I’ve poured into the game I think an extra $10-20 bucks is totally fair, although I’m pissed that I spent so much time playing the game its current suboptimal and buggy state. If you think it’s a ripoff you can wait for the inevitable Steam sale/Humble Bundle and pick it up for the price of a mediocre fast food dinner.

          It’s worth noting that Edmund has said he’s trying to work out some sort of discount for current owners of the game; whether that happens or not seems to be in Nicalis’ hands.

  6. Dimonte says:

    Please, please stop with repeating unfounded hate on Flash. Many indie developers use Flash for their games. Some of those are incompetent programmers, it’s simple like that.

    BoI was made in AS2 which is obsolete for a couple of years now. They made it in a single project file that was about 300 megabytes by the end of the development. I mean, asset loading is available in Flash for more than ten years now and it is available even in obsolete AS2.

    And yes, I am a bit of a Flash fanboy, I develop for it for my day job, and we do stuff with it which is much more complicated than BoI.

    • strangeloup says:

      Ed McMillen in shitty programmer non-shocker.

      • SavageTech says:

        Edmund McMillen isn’t a programmer, he only does art + game design. Florian Himsl is to blame for the coding on this; apparently he only knows how to work with Flash and he’s not even great at that.

        @Dimonte – The problem with Flash’s reputation is that it can be so horrible when it’s mishandled, yet when it’s done properly people don’t realize it’s Flash. Thus there’s a sort of confirmation bias since most players don’t bother to look into the engine that runs a perfectly playable game but will dissect anything that runs badly. For example, Lone Survivor was made in Flash but doesn’t run like a pile of horseshit so few people realize how it’s coded.

  7. googoogjoob says:

    Nicalis :(

    • krisanto says:

      Why the sad face? Is there something about Nicalis I don’t know about?

      • googoogjoob says:

        In brief, Nicalis a) outright bought the IP for Cave Story and NightSky from Pixel and Nifflas (neither of whom had ever sold a game commercially before), b) repeatedly delayed Cave Story Wii, then when it came out, took quite a while to fix some glaring bugs that shouldn’t’ve been in a released game anyway (eg, half the music failing to play, the game crashing when the map is accessed), and, maybe most importantly, c) breaking a contract with Nigoro to publish La-Mulana on PC by mentioning it publicly on Twitter, without giving Nigoro any advance warning or saying why they were abruptly breaking their contract.

        Essentially, Nicalis is a publisher who is by turns unethical and incompetent, and has never risen above either.

  8. cptgone says:

    i’ve hardly played it cause i find it too tough (i don’t enjoy frantic arcade much). if it had an Easy mode, i would have fun exploring the game, enjoying it’s humour.

    • qrter says:

      It must be a year since I played the game last, but it used to be you could easily use Cheat Engine to give yourself limitless health/coins/etc.

  9. bitbot says:

    He should make “Binding of Isaac 2” instead and make it completely different. I’m not sure I wanna replay the same thing again… I’ve already spent 60+ hours on it.

  10. obvioustroll says:

    Will it take advantage of the PC’s blast processing capabilities?

    • SavageTech says:

      Haha, thanks for that nostalgic tidbit. I miss the days when companies could throw around pseudo-technological jargon and bank on the fact that the people who could call them out were few and far between.

  11. Sinkytown says:

    Happy for this!

    I could not hack the graphics in the original – they made for slightly woolly physics/collision. 8-bit style graphics could make things a little more crisp.

    I hope it makes it to XBLA. I love playing Spelunky on the TV.

  12. Alexander says:

    Unlike the rest of my life, this news brings me so much joy.

    • ColonelClaw says:

      I was trying to buy a flat this week in London, when I got gazumped. Boy am I fucked off about it. And now I’ve got a massive skin rash from some weird allergy.

      Fortunately, this Binding of Isaac remake news has cheered me up no end.

  13. pakoito says:

    Binding of Isaac finally playable on netbooks? About freakin time.

    • wererogue says:

      That’s what I’m hoping. 16-bit native code should be fine on even the oldest of netbooks, and the linux versions of VVVVVV and Cave Story+ have been lovely on my old EEE900a, running Mint.

      Next on my wishlist: Spelunky for Linux!

  14. Nevard says:

    I’m not sure I’ll buy it again for PC, but if he manages to get it ported to 3DS I am very much sold on a portable version.

  15. MrTambourineMan says:

    TBOI is best game I’ve played in years, I’ve sunk (I guess) around 80hrs into it and I sure as hell (pun here) will play it a lot more in the future. This is the only game in more than half a decade that I see myself playing over and over every few months.

  16. Randomer says:

    Poor dynamic bullet time – I will miss you!

  17. SonicTitan says:

    My wife loved Binding of Issac, but when we got it I was working an overnight and didn’t have time to play it, and now I’ve moved on to other things. Very much looking forward to this.

  18. Zankmam says:

    So bad that it will be in 16-bit graphics.

  19. Hatsworth says:

    Nicalis does not inspire confidence.

  20. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    This sounded pretty exciting until… “End of 2013”? Surely by then we’ll all be playing Dark Souls 2 on our magical Valveboxes??