Purr! Edmund McMillen is poking at Mew-genics again

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My lifelong dream to become a cat lady is stymied by my flatmate’s allergies, but at least I’ll get to become a virtual cat lady. Edmund McMillen, the co-creator of Super Meat Boy and Binding of Isaac, has announced that he will likely resume making Mew-genics. It’s a game about breeding and caring for hordes of strange cats then entering them in cat competitions, with all the mutations, oddities, and gross bits you’d expect. But McMillen and fellow Team Meat founder Tommy Refenes went quiet and what they did say made it seem unlikely to ever arrive. Well, start purring, as McMillen now says he and Tyler Glaiel are prototyping ideas for it and we’re likely back on.

McMillen split a while back from Team Meat, who have been making Super Meat Boy Forever while McMillen focused on more Isaac, several ideas which have been set aside, and The End Is Nigh. That deadly platformer (check out our Graham’s The End Is Nigh review) was made with Tyler Glaiel, with whom McMillen is now poking at Mew-genics.

He spoke about resurrecting Mew-genics in a blog post yesterday:

“Welllll Tyler and I are currently prototyping some stuff for it and if all goes well I’m 99% sure that little monster will once again become my obsession. Mewgenics was always my oddball dream project and probably the game I’m questioned about the most these days. Mewgenics is being remade from the ground up so don’t expect to see much for a year or two.

“Who am I kidding I’ll probably start teasing the first beta images once things get moving along…”

Way back when, McMillen described Mew-genics as “a cross between The Sims and Pokemon with a sprinkling of Animal Crossing and a dash of Tamagotchi”. He mostly talked about it through anecdotes, so here’s one from 2013:

“Last week I was playing a game with Puddle, a fat female cat I had been working on earlier that day, I thawed her out of her Cryo-cube and placed her in my current single story house along with her newly generated companion Champ. I had been focusing my time on Puddle due to the fact that she seemed to have a very unique tail that I believe had helped her place 2nd in a cat pageant in a previous and I needed to breed her so I could continue her bloodline before she got too old. Sadly Champ wasn’t up to snuff and Puddle made this obvious by repeatedly kicking him in the face, I separated them quickly by putting champ in the attic but when I tried to feed him… something odd happened. See, Champ was a dullard and when Puddle kicked him he just happened to also be eating and now associated the trauma with food instead of Puddle herself, he was scared of all food.. and sadly died in the attic shortly after.

“It wasn’t long after though that I caught sight of a solid black stray cat named Goon, before he had a chance to run I grabbed him and pulled him inside. Goon was a much better fit for Puddle and before I knew it the humping started and puddle was pregnant! I put her in the attic with plenty of food and a bed, but quickly noticed that something was up with Goon, he seemed to be constantly falling asleep. As it turned out Goon was a narcoleptic and as you might have guessed Puddle gave birth to 2 sleeping kittens, one of them fat like his mother and black like his dad and the other small but with his mom’s markings and that amazing forked tail that helped in the last pageant, but sadly both kittens were narcoleptic like their father…

“Goon acted aggressively towards the kittens so I let him back out into the yard and he eventually ran away. As the kittens grew up I did enter the small one (his name was Dot) into a pageant but sadly he just fell asleep on the stage and didn’t win anything. To add insult to injury Puddle also acquired feline aids from Goon and I couldn’t afford any of the expensive treatments Dr. Beanies was offering so I put her back in the Cryo-cube in hopes that in the future I might have a cure for her disease once I finish a few more of the Doctor’s missions.

“I wasn’t able to save Dot because I was arrested by the local animal control shortly after I put Puddle in the cube, probably because of letting Goon run away.. and the whole giving my other cat aids thing… or maybe it was the dead cat in the attic.”

Seeing as McMillen and Glaiel are completely rebuilding the game, don’t focus on specifics – but I’d imagine that’s still the same sort of broad idea they’re working with.

McMillen’s big project now is Isaac spin-off The Legend of Bum-bo, a turn-based puzzle-y roguelikelike he’s making with James Id. That’s due later this year, and you can read more about it on its dev blog.

Oh, and of course Isaac: Afterbirth+ is due to receive one final ‘Booster Pack’ of free bits and bobs this year. Beyond that, McMillen does mutter about “something pretty cool on the horizon” for Isaac, which some are speculating might be a reference to the mod Antibirth. It’s a hugely impressive mod which expands Isaac so much (though it is mega-difficult) and I’d certainly be glad to see Antibirth made official-ish. The Antibirth gang do seem chummy with the devs, having designed new rooms and items for the most recent Booster. That’s speculation, mind. All we know for certain is: one final Booster Pack.

16 Comments

  1. fragglerock says:

    Will we be able to make hundreds of thousands of dollars with these kitties? If not I AM OUT!

    link to techcrunch.com

  2. Mungrul says:

    I’m so happy he’s decided to start work on this again. It really appeals to the Sims / Dwarf Fortress player in me :)

  3. Seafoam says:

    Oh man!
    How many years has it been? I remember seeing the trailer and got exited but I have forgotten about it since.
    I would have settled for just the game we were promised back then, but if they’re gonna rebuild it from scratch then I guess i’ll be looking forward to it.

  4. lordcooper says:

    Bestest best news!

  5. criskywalker says:

    Wonderful! 2018 will be a great year considering all the cat games being developed.

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    phuzz says:

    Sod your flatmates Alice, just get a cat but tell them that they’re hallucinating if they ever see it.

  7. Captain Narol says:

    I love cats so that sounds like the game of my dreams, I hope he can finish it soon and deliver !

  8. Romeric says:

    I hate to be all tedious and sceptical but I can’t help but think the premise McMillen is basing this game on is impossible to realise. I would love to see something like this released but I think we should be careful to keep our expectations in check. Have we seen such complex, dynamic behaviours in any game before?

    • FordTruck says:

      Yes, the creature series goes beyond what Mewgenics does, people just don’t remember it, the science behind that game is mind-boggling.

  9. Plague MD says:

    I’d get excited if McMillen didn’t become a lazy fart over the past few years. The latest games he created have been very successful for him, esecially Isaac, and he’s been since then jumping from one project to another without ever completing any. How many games is he currnetly working on now? At least 3 from the top of my head. Will any of those ever see the light of day? Guess he’s in no rush with the $$$ in his bank account

  10. FordTruck says:

    Next time you guys make a article of mewgenics I expect tribute to Steven Grand, and the creature series, which is what I think heavily inspires this game. I don’t think creature gets enough props and also no gaming websites ever talk about “GRANDROIDS” probably one of the most innovative things being made. Whatever steve grand is doing its probably going to be mind boggling for AI and genetics.