[Featurama] Our Conversation With Edmund McMillen: The Binding of Isaac Rebirth Details and More!

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Recently, the TSFT had an extra special guest: Edmund McMillen!  We had him on for over 90 minutes and got to hear all sorts of great new info on The Binding of Isaac Rebirth as well as answers to several other miscellaneous questions we posed.  I’ll go ahead and list the specific details about Rebirth that he revealed first.  Big thank you to Reddit user ZAKagan for helping compile an early version of this, allowing for much easier fact checking between the very long podcast and the specific tidbits scattered throughout.

  • Edmund has 100% creative control, which is detailed his contract with Nicalis.  Nicalis is using a new not-in-Flash engine that will have no framerate issues and will run well even on older computers.

  • Nicalis is remaking the original game as well as Wrath of the Lamb then Ed will come in and give them the design for another WotL-sized expansion.

  • The 16-bit art style that won out on his Formspring poll is his current pick and he was pleased that it received a better reaction than he expected.  The old art style will not be featured.

  • Isaac’s face will be bigger than it is in the original game because pixel art limits the amount of detail they can add with items.

  • Arcades will be retooled so they aren’t as boring, but he hasn’t quite decided how yet  He did say that the probability of machines blowing up will be higher than it currently is.

  • He hinted at a new mechanic that forced players through floors at a faster pace.  In the past he’s discussed having an invincible monster (Mom?) begin chasing you after a certain time period.  His goal is that the average run time in the remake will be the same as it is now, or even a little shorter.

  • Ed hints that there will be some extra floor equivalent to the Chest after Sheol and that the choice between them will be more interesting, admitting that there’s no point to Sheol if you can go to the Chest.

  • There will be plenty of new challenge runs, although custom runs “definitely will not happen”. Ed says that cheat engine runs are essentially about hacking the game to start with items.

  • There will be some other feature that somehow incorporates custom challenge runs, but is “much cooler”.  “People who want custom runs will be very happy with this feature, but in a lot of ways it can be a challenge.”  There was some detail in a different interview where he talked about giving two or three random items to the player at the start, which may be the initial thought process of what he’s referring to here.

  • Very adamant about not including an in-game wiki. Ed mentions that he doesn’t like the wiki because it takes away the satisfaction of figuring everything out for yourself.

  • There will be a new ending, but he hasn’t decided on it yet.

  • There will be secrets buried so deep that people won’t find them for a long time

  • The stats screen is up in the air. Ed says he hasn’t thought about it, but in general he wants it to stay vague.  Apparently, soul hearts going off the screen was originally a bug. You were supposed to only be allowed the visible number of hearts, but they ended up keeping it.  Hearts off the screen will remain for Rebirth.

  • There will be a Skatole-like item for spiders (spiders won’t attack you).

  • OP/UP items will be staying, but rebalanced.  We at least got one example with Lemon Mishap that will be getting a buff. The creep will stay on the screen longer and it will recharge a bit faster.  It’s current shittiness was due to Flash limitations not allowing it to be what he wanted in the first place.

  • Too many flying items were added with WotL so Ed says he may balance this by not adding any beyond what already exists.

  • Edmund admits that he never really had a clear vision of the story (what actually is going on in Isaac) and that it evolved over time, but did confirm that he believed my article was correct about the theme.

  • His ultimate goal is to have Rebirth be a complete replacement of the original game.

We were also able to ask more laid back questions that Edmund was nice enough to answer.  He talked about games he played as a young adult, his experience at community college, his thoughts on the AAA gaming industry, and complaining fans.  It was also interesting to hear what he had to say about the Humble Indie Bundles as he had participated in the original, and others since.  Overall, it was an absolute blast; I’ll add the full interview from YouTube below.  As he reveals more and more breadcrumbs about Binding of Isaac Rebirth, the more excited I get!

[youtube]http://youtu.be/vMTkgVbuQlQ[/youtube]

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The resident Let's Player, TSFT cast member, and occassional Featurama contributor! My real home is our YouTube channel, which you can visit for some real wet n' wild fun. Regular episode uploads are the name of my game, but you can also keep an eye out for my roundups every week right here on Twinfinite!

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  • John

    Can’t wait for Rebirth to come out! Really excited to see the cool art style in motion.

  • Helio

    About the wiki issue: I only appealed to “third-party knowledge” because the game doesn’t explicitly show the effects of many items, and I couldn’t know If I was spending money/life/hearts for a good item. There are item that affect hidden stats, like faith, luck and “actual damage”. If the game had an equivalent to Mega Man X getting a heart tank, I think I would only go to the wiki very late, just to see what I was missing