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Mountain-climbing platformer Celeste coming in January

Hug the mountain

It’s Brendan hour at RPS. Everybody else has gone to bed and I’m left on sentry duty, which means I get to make posts which are seemingly about colourful-yet-hardcore mountain-climbing platformers called Celeste [official site] which Graham really likes but on closer inspection are actually a grave and terrible insight into my own fragile and harrowed psyche as it tumbles silently into a dark and fathomless realm of inner turmoil. Celeste is coming out in January, say the developers.

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But also for Nintendo Switch I suppose. It’s a difficult platformer in which you try to climb the mountain Celeste, with only the ability to jump, cling onto walls briefly, and dash once in the air. Other elements are introduced, like those purple clones of your character who chase you, mimicking your own actions. It’s made by the folks who made multiplayer arrowfest TowerFall: Ascension, so when it comes to jumping, they know what's what.

In a sense, this is a delay, since they originally wanted it ready to match the release window for the Nintendo Switch. But developer Matt Thorson outlines the reasons it has become pushed back in a post.

Back at the start of 2017, we thought Celeste would span around 200–300 levels stitched together by a minimalistic narrative. We had the first two chapters of the game playable, and extrapolated their development time out to estimate how long it’d take us to finish everything. We were done the heavy lifting of designing the basic systems and coding the core infrastructure of the project, so it seemed pragmatic to adjust our time estimate down to account for that.

Today we have over 500 levels and it looks like we’ll crest 600 pretty soon. Celeste’s narrative has grown to an essential feature of the experience, and maybe the aspect of the game I’m most personally proud of because we pushed ourselves so hard on it. Every chapter of the game has big ambitious ideas that we went for despite feeling the whole time like we might not be able to pull them off, before totally pulling them off. I feel so lucky to be working with such an amazing, hard-working, and talented team on a project where we’re constantly pushing ourselves to improve in so many ways. It’s obvious now that releasing this game sooner than January would be a huge mistake.

This may briefly upset our poor editor, who constantly grumbles about a lack of good platformers to play and whose left hand is contorted into a perpetual “Spelunky claw”. But it is good news for those among us who creep deep into our warrens when faced with difficult jumps, who shy far away from spikes, into the dank soil, communing only with the clay and the earthworms, those fetid beasts who know us best, who forgive and accept all because it is not their place to judge, those who embrace us as our mouth fills will dark humus and the last hot breath gives way to sweet, cold oblivion.

Celeste is out in January 2018 for PC and Mac.

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