Binding Of Isaac Double Newsblast: Eternal And Afterbirth

Meet Eternal Famine in all its awfulness.

Who knew crying babies could generate so much news? Anyone who knows new parents, I suppose. Jokes. But here I mean The Binding of Isaac [official site], which has exciting new things going on with both its original Flash version and the fancy remake Rebirth.

BoI’s ultra-difficult ‘Eternal’ update is now out, introducing a new difficulty mode full of ridiculous bullet-spewing variants of enemies. It’s somewhere between challenging and trolling. We also have more word on the ‘Afterbirth’ expansion for Rebirth, with a glimpse of new alternative levels and talk of making secret character The Lost maybe actually fun.

First, the Eternal update. Only available for BoI with the Wrath of the Lamb expansion, it fixes a few long-standing bugs but mainly cranks up the difficulty. Who fancies an Envy fight where the split heads merge if you don’t kill them quick enough? Monstro which sprays loads of bullets and splits into two horrible Monstros? Mullibooms which spray Ipecac shots? Both bosses and regular enemies can come in Eternal variants, which largely sound like horrible speedy horrors spewing shots everywhere. It tops off the difficulty with tweaks like giving the D6 a chance to re-roll items into nothing.

The Eternal update’s the work of original BoI co-creator and programmer, made for funsies after Edmund McMillen moved onto Rebirth. It’s live for y’all now, if you fancy a crushing challenge. Here’s Himsl playing a little and talking about impending bug fixes:

Speaking of unfun and difficult things, Edmund McMillen’s latest Afterbirth dev update talks about making The Lost less of a horrible chore one suffers through to unlock godly items. His current ideas are to start The Lost with the D4, D6, D20 and either more speed or spectral tears; you can vote on which you’d prefer.

“I personally think any of these edits will push The Lost from an optional challenge most people don’t want to admit exists to a more realistic challenge I think players will have a lot more fun diving into,” he says.

The Lost was created as a super-secret character, unlocked through a convoluted series of events and teased only by mysterious clues that McMillen had hoped it would take the community months to put together. Then someone peeked into the game’s files and told everyone within two weeks.

“As you can imagine, I thought that was kinda shitty, but honestly I half expected it to happen, just not as soon as it did.”

Anyway, more on Afterbirth: it’ll bring new variants of each floor, or subvariants more accurately. Each set of floors will have a variant theme that ups the difficulty but also offers greater rewards. You might find yourself in a fiery version of the Basement or Cellar, for example, where enemies have different stats and are ablaze, and rocks might be fire pits.

That’s enough babytalk for now, though.


  1. Koshinator says:

    I am itching for the Afterbirth expansion to come out… need me some more BoI goodness. Hopefully many more items to unlock, as I’ve unlocked everything in the current game.

  2. dangrak says:

    Does anyone remember that Flash game Tri-Achnid by McMillen and Himsl? I thought that game was pretty innovative. Maybe I Am Bread is enough of a spiritual successor that we don’t need an updated version

    • Jalan says:

      Of course. Its “remastered” (not really remastered, just with a little control fixes) version is in The Basement Collection and Tri-achnid makes an appearance as a boss in The Binding of Isaac.

      Damn if I didn’t love the Tin Hat Trio music in that though – I know technically it was just their Book of Silk album’s music and nothing written specifically for the game but it is so friggin’ good.

  3. Joe The Wizard says:

    I have really fallen in love with BoI with Rebirth. I always struggled with the original because I suck at playing with the keyboard and never put a lot of hours into it. A dabble here and a dabble there, with the feeling that I was really missing something.

    But with controller support, I can finally play at a level where I both enjoy and don’t feel like I am hampered. It really scratches that itch for me. Plus, when I die, I never feel like it was because the game was unfair, but because I screwed up. That is a recipe for repeat after repeat after repeat.

    • welverin says:

      I was the same way, I liked the original, but I could not stand playing with the keyboard. Analog sticks make all of the difference.

      I also have a friend that couldn’t get past the controls of the original.

  4. stringerdell says:

    Anyone wanting an alternative during the long wait for afterbirth should give Nuclear Throne some serious thought. It’s Isaac by way of Metal Slug, extremely twitchy and gratifying to pirouette through a field of death blobs shooting everything with a laser gun. The variety comes in the form of tons of different random weapons rather than isaac’s powerup system.

  5. Jalan says:

    The Eternal update also brings its best of bestest friend with it: Eternal Lag. Much more aggravating than the regular lag, it sets out to hinder you thoroughly when the Eternal versions hit the floor(s), but making you notice that your shots aren’t tracking accurately and you’re getting steamrolled massively because you can’t dodge quickly enough from all the slowdown.

    I’ve powered through it though. A few more achievements left on it and I’ll have cinched it shut entirely.