Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth Dated, Discounted, And Danced

What a merry jig!

Roguelike-like weep ’em up The Binding of Isaac Rebirth has a new trailer, which means several things. Firstly, you can watch people nude but for the sacks over their heads stumble around accompanied musically by a warbling hymn. Secondly, the expanded remake now has a confirmed release date: November 4th. And a release date naturally means pre-orders are open too, on Steam. The discount promised to folks who already own the original game will only be available before launch, we now know, but it’s a respectable 33%. Come see the sackfolk dance their merry jig.

Rebirth will cost £10.99 at launch, but pre-ordering is £7.36 for folks who own the original game. This is only during pre-orders, mind. Still, as Rebirth is an expanded remake of The Binding of Isaac (plus its expansion), if you own that you probably already know how you might feel about this.

It is a full-on remake, on a new engine so it won’t suffer the wonky framerates of the original, with all-new art, local co-op multiplayer, and an expansion’s worth of extra items, bosses, enemies, levels, and endings. Rebirth’s coming from frequent port-o-remakers Nicalis, who’ve been working with creator Edmund McMillen.

And hey, here’s a chunk of co-op someone captured from a recent livestream:

63 Comments

  1. NathaI3 says:

    CANNOT WAIT.

    Looking forward to sinking a few hundred hours into this, and that’s speaking as someone who only recently completed the original. (“completed”, not 100%, but close enough to satisfy me)

  2. crazyd says:

    Anyone else of the opinion that it’s a pretty weak move to charge for an updated version of a game that fixes the problems with the original? Sounds like they are charging more than the price of the original game in order to get a patch. A 33% pre-order discount doesn’t seem respectable to me at all. I’m still annoyed that Deus Ex HR charged for their fixes, but at least they only charged $5.00 if you had the original.

    • sub-program 32 says:

      A patch does not generally add an entire expansion’s worth of content on top of everything else, while also completely changing the engine.

      • crazyd says:

        Then, charge for the expansion, and give people who already supported you the fixes.

        • Bugamn says:

          I think the problem is that, since he has rewritten the engine, he cannot simply give those people the fixes, for all technical purposes it is a new game.

          • crazyd says:

            I’d assume he could cut the expansion content out, and give that version as an update to existing owners.

          • Synesthesia says:

            Exactly this. The engine is new, the content is new, for the most part, save for the base game mechanics. Not a sequel, not an expansion.
            It is also his to ask what he wants of it, and if you own the previous one, he is charging very little for a few years of his work.

            link to pleasekeepwarm.com

        • Swanny says:

          IIRC, Edmund said in one of his interviews that the original Binding source code is broken beyond repair. If you look at how the original was coded, you’d see that it’s impossible to do these improvements in the original. It’s actually amazing that the game works as well as it does. Since he was unable to update it, he had to recreate the entire game. One does not simply rewrite a game engine, and I think it’s ok for him to charge for his time. After a year or two, it’ll be 80% off on steam, buy it then if you don’t think it’s worth it. I plan to buy it at full price because I got 100 hours of game out of the original for $2 and I think it’s fair.

    • ryryryan says:

      33% off is essentially the price of the whole original game off.

      Surely you can’t expect them to offer more than that off???

      (that’s also ignoring the amount of people who got it in humble bundle for pittance)

      • crazyd says:

        Is it weird to expect games to be supported with fixes without being charged for them? Removing wonkiness shouldn’t require paying twice the price you already paid.

        • ryryryan says:

          It’s not just removing, it’s expanding the game, creating a whole new engine, new art style, new music, new everything. And in the process they’re fixing the wonkiness. I see no problem here, fans of the original will love it, those who weren’t big on the game can just ignore it.

          I would happily pay the full price for this if I didn’t have the original. The pound per hour ratio I have got out of this game is nuts. The original was so cheap I don’t see what the fuss is about.

        • BigBluFrog says:

          Yes, it is weird. I didn’t expect Baldur’s Gate:Enhanced to be free, nor did I expect the Secret of Monkey Island repainted games to be free. This is no different.

    • Premium User Badge

      Velorien says:

      Given how extraordinarily good the original was, I don’t think the creator was under any obligation to release an updated version at all. If Rebirth had never been announced, I doubt you’d see many people going around saying “Hey, Ed, this game of yours could have been so good if you hadn’t messed it up. Get back here and make us a total overhaul patch so I can feel I’ve got my money’s worth!”

    • khalilravanna says:

      Beyond all the other replies addressing the fact that it’s not just a couple bug fixes but basically a new expanded version of the game in an entirely (?) rewritten engine, it also cost a bunch to make. According to the developer working on it, the budget was around half a million [1]. Sounds like something you’d want people to pay for.

      1. link to numbers.kotaku.com

      • crazyd says:

        How much money did he make off of the original vs. how much did this cost to make? I’d bet he made more than a half million, and could have put some of those earnings into supporting the product so many gave him money for.

        • khalilravanna says:

          Ah I see what you’re saying. You believe the developers should continue to support the product that people paid for originally? Well, what I’m saying I guess is that this is essentially an entirely separate product. I don’t think just because their first product was profitable equates to them making their next game for free. An analogous conclusion would be to say that because the first LOTR movie was so successful with audiences who paid to see it, the second and presumably the third should have been free to everyone who paid to see the first. I think we can both agree that this conclusion seems a little unfair to the developers (of both movies and games) if we were to take this stance.

        • blur says:

          Call me crazy, but I’ve got a suggestion for you.

          Don’t buy the game.

    • unitled says:

      How many hours did you put into the original?

      I’ve spent, what, more than hundred hours in the original, and spent about a fiver on the game. It’s been on sale for a couple of quid in the past (and I bought copies for most of my friends).

      Given how much work has gone into the remake, and how much more I’m likely to play it, seven quid (the price of a couple of flat whites?) seems hugely reasonable.

      Still, if you don’t think it’s fair, there’s a really simple answer: don’t buy it. There’s tons of content for th free original and expansion, stick to that and you’ll be kept busy for months.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        Given how much work has gone into the remake

        Does that really matter? Does a book that took five years to write cost the same as a book that was written in a month? Of course. When you sell something it has to stand on its value.

      • MrTambourineMan says:

        Hundred hours eh? 370hours here, got Platinum god at about 187 hour mark but still kept playing :D Can’t wait for rebirth, I preordered it immediately when I saw it was up for pre-orders (last friday I think). For me(as for you probably), even spending 50$ would be a very fair deal given bang for the buck we got out of it…

    • crazyd says:

      I guess that answers my question. I’m the only person here who thinks games should be supported for free after sale, and it is perfectly reasonable to charge twice the original purchase price for a fixed version of a game.

      • sub-program 32 says:

        “Fixed” in this case meaning “significantly improved in almost every way”, not counting subjective stuff like music and graphics.

      • mariusmora says:

        What you are not getting is that Rebirth is not a fix of the original. The original Isaac is a game in itself that you can play and enjoy (not without its flaws). This is a re-make. Its a completely new engine, all new pixel-style art, roughly double the content. Its like the spelunky re-make. The original was a free browser game, they then decided to put the time and money to get the most of the design (and charge for it). This is the same, the original was a flash game and it was brilliant for what it was, and they decided to try and make the best possible version out of it. You are not obliged to “fix” a game that is already darn good and offers tons of hours of content. If they sold TBoI:Rebirth as Isaac 2 most people wouldn’t be complaining, because it is really a WHOLE new game.

        • Synesthesia says:

          I think by now he gets it, he is just very offended that he isn’t getting it for free after he supported this guy’s success. Who does McMillen thinks he is? Geez.

      • lordfrikk says:

        Well you’re not alone, but in the minority for sure. From what I’ve heard the original game became unsalvageable since they added the expansion’s content due to the game being made in Flash. The game was supported for some time but surely you can’t expect them to do it indefinitely, that’s just not gonna happen, especially with indie games.

        Rebirth is a new game in sense it’s made from the ground up and it has a bunch of new content to boot. Comparing it to the director’s cut of DX:HR is comparing apples and oranges (and I wholeheartedly agree they charge way too much for that, not to mention the new version is apparently more buggy than the original!). Charging full price (or 66% of the original) is fine with me.

      • Shuck says:

        “Supported” is not the same as “creating an entirely new game based on the same premise.” And frankly, given the cost of games like Binding of Isaac, I do think expecting support is probably too much. You buy a game for a buck or two, you can’t reasonably expect support. That’s the trade-off for super-cheap games.

        • tobecooper says:

          The funny thing is that The Binding of Isaac had a ton of support. The base game was cheap, then it got a free and sizable update (Halloween update – act 5 was added then). After a year, BoI received a cheap expansion filled with quality content, and through that time, the game was also regularly patched.
          Seriously, expectations were met and surpassed.

          They deserve the money.

          • Shadowcat says:

            Yeah, I don’t understand where crazyd is coming from on this one.

            There are very very few complete remakes of retail games which are given away for free to people who bought the original. It sometimes happens, but my reaction in the vast majority of those cases is that it’s extraordinarily generous of the developer to do so. It’s certainly not expected.

            I do agree that a broken game should be fixed free of charge. BOI works just fine, however.

      • scannerbarkly says:

        Hey crazyd, do you mind me asking what issues you see as broken in the original? I haven’t put the hours into it that many have but can’t say I came across anything overtly “broken”.

      • lomaxgnome says:

        Do you think you should get the PS4 version free too? Because that’s what this game is. It’s a completely new game, created from scratch. Yes, it’s based on the original. But it isn’t a “fix” or a “patch.” No one who loves Binding of Isaac is complaining about this. It’s just people who picked it up once in a bundle and suddenly feel like they should get something for free. Guess what? The game wasn’t made for you.

    • LarsBR says:

      How do you feel about the newest iteration of your favourite AAA title? Clearly it’s just a bit of new content on a slightly modified engine.

      Complaining about a cheap indy game in this fashion is just silly.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        How do you feel about the newest iteration of your favourite AAA title? Clearly it’s just a bit of new content on a slightly modified engine.

        And for that reason, will probably get slagged mercilessly in the game press, with rare exceptions like Saints Row IV. And I’ve read complaints about that game, for that very reason, right in this here comments section.

        Either a game is worth it or it’s not. There is no shame in waiting for Humble Bundle or a Steam sale, regardless of how much work and love the dev put into the game.

        • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

          ^ Absolutely correct. You can buy it now if you want, or if you can wait for a big sale or don’t buy it at all. It’s the creator’s prerrogative to set the price, and it is your prerrogative to accept the price set or refuse it; you do the latter by not buying it. It is not your prerrogative to demand the game be released to your specifications.

    • blind_boy_grunt says:

      you are 100% right. First XOM not being given away for previous owners, now this. Developers have no respect.

    • Shuck says:

      Considering the original game was sold for a pittance (at most), I’m going to say that no, this is not a “weak move” to create a new game with a brand new engine, music and art and actually charge for it. That seems pretty darn reasonable to me, in fact. Giving people who have the original game a discount on this one was more than he needed to do, frankly.

    • Wedge says:

      Nope.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Velorien says:

    If the expansion will have extra endings, does that mean it will change the storyline from how it was before?

    I loved the game to bits, but after I was finished with it, I read a journalist’s interpretation of the story which was subsequently confirmed to be basically accurate by the creator. I don’t want to give out spoilers, but the whole thing was so depressing that I’m not sure I’ll be able to pick the game up again, no matter how many shiny new features it may have.

    • Synesthesia says:

      ooh… shiny! Can i have links? I never got all endings, and i’d like to see what he was thinking.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      This is the reason why I never got very far in the game. The mechanics of it are entertaining enough, but the subject matter is just so depressing and awful that it all feels very wrong, somehow. And I’m not able to look past that, try as I might.

      (I’m not saying the game shouldn’t exist or choose this particular theme, but for me, it’s a huge obstacle to getting any enjoyment out of it. It’s the same reason why I also never picked up Hotline Miami.)

      • Synesthesia says:

        You really should try to get over it, specially for hotline miami. It becomes very self aware, at times. What a fantastic game. I miss not knowing it and discovering it.

      • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

        Our Darker Purpose is similar to BoI and a lot ligher (…yeah), but also a nowhere as good.

  4. Synesthesia says:

    Now THAT is a trailer. One of the producers here just walked into the room while i was laughing at it. Hm.

  5. Michael Fogg says:

    I’m still dismayed by Edmund’s decision to go for pixely look. It just adds something like an ugly cheap filter over otherwise remarkable art. It’s just an empty affectation.

    • mariusmora says:

      If I recall correctly, Edmund stated that there is some kind of graphic filter to make the black borders look smooth like the old flash game or the like. I think he also said that there will be more filters that you can “unlock” but don’t take my word on that bit. You can dig through his blog but its a little time-consuming.

      • Baines says:

        Smoothing filters for pixelated art generally don’t look that great. Even when they work in one area, they tend to produce issues in other areas.

        Graphically, Rebirth is a step down from the original game. Not (only) for being low res sprite work, but because the sprite work appears to be poor quality. It looks very much like someone just ran the vector art through a simple conversion process, creating a worst of both worlds situation.

        • Michael Fogg says:

          Yeah, I mean Ed’s got an incredibly characterful and instantly recognizable drawing style, pixellation just makes it look less distinct. ‘But it’s like ZELDA-‘, BoI appeals to a group of pc-based indie fans most of whom probably never played NES Zelda, it’s 2014 FFS.

          • Niko says:

            Yeah, it looks weird because it wasn’t drawn like this from the beginning, that’s just pixellation for pixellation’s sake.

          • Dromph says:

            Am I the only one here who thinks the original looks absolutely atrocious? Especially the room textures look pretty bad in my opinion.

          • Synesthesia says:

            Nah, you are not alone. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it atrocious, but after having to work with it for a few months, I hate almost everything flash. It’s icky. (BIAS!CORRUPTION!)

            I love the new artstyle. Can’t wait to dig into this.

          • Premium User Badge

            Phasma Felis says:

            Why on Earth would you think that PC indie fans wouldn’t have played Zelda? Dudes who are in their 30s now probably grew up with a Nintendo or SNES. It’s deeply weird that you call out “PC-based” and “Nintendo” as if you think a single human being can’t do both.

  6. Gog Magog says:

    Oh that slaps me on the knee.

  7. Servicemaster says:

    I’ve got three things to say about this game:
    1. Platinum God x2, I’m gonna do it and I’m gonna stream it. I swear to Isaac I will.
    2. I was abused by my mother.
    3. I can’t fucking wait for this goddamn game/remake/expansion/edmundsdigitalsemen

    The rest of you haters can go play whatever else you want, I don’t care. I don’t care about your bitching of price, of quality, of WHATEVER, if you want to complain, go fuck yourself. Trust me, you’ll get better results and it might even feel better. This is only an example of how serious I am about November 4th.

    • LarsBR says:

      Amen sister.

    • Gog Magog says:

      Agreed on the part about fucking yourself. It’s good for you.
      But YOU MUST DEMONSTRATE MORE
      HOW SERIOUS YOU ARE ABOUT
      REMEMBER REMEMBER THE 4TH OF NOVEMBER
      THE BOI TREASON AND PLOT

      • Servicemaster says:

        Oh I’m serious, baby. I’m yahoo serious. I’m seriousxm, I’m a bowl of honey nut seri’o’s.

        Whatever the cost, whatever it takes, I WILL destroy my mothers womb, heart and the god who created it.

        • bonuswavepilot says:

          Hee hee, Honey Nut Serios made me giggle, but I must deduct a point for any mention of Yahoo Serious. Are you a fellow Australian who had too much indiscriminate TV watching in their youth, or someone who managed to be exposed even across the vasty seas?

  8. tsff22 says:

    The price is a little steep imo, even with the loyalty discount, but I’m a HUGE fan of the original, plus my birthday’s next month, so I will most likely preorder it then.

  9. alms says:

    Sure, I can’t wait to pay again for the same game that should’ve been not-flash all along, just so Mrs “I know what I’m doing” McMillen can get more of her stupid looking dogs. Or were they cats? makes no difference anyway.