The Binding of Isaac gets a facelift, multiplayer and more for console and PC remake

Not content with bedevilling and delighting PC gamers, Edmund McMillen sets his Satanic sights on console owners with a new version of The Binding of Isaac.

The Binding of Isaac was one of my favourite games of last year, packed with hours of grisly rogue-like fun for less than the price of a packet of cigarettes or a cheap bottle of wine. It’s fantastic and you really should own a copy unless you have an aversion to themes of religious abuse, “Cute Grotesque” art styles or don’t play games on PC. Except that last excuse isn’t going to cut it any more because there’s now a console version in the works, details of which have surfaced today on creator Edmund McMillen’s blog.

According to Edmund the new version is being built from the ground-up and given a “full 16-bit makeover” by Nicalis, who did the 3DS port of VVVVVV and the WiiWare versions of La Maluna and Cave Story among others. The remake is currently planned for PS3/Vita and PC via Steam, with PC owners getting a “loyalty pre-order discount” if they also own the original. Talks with Microsoft are currently ongoing but we can likely expect an Xbox Live version too. More unexpected is that Nicalis are also talking to Nintendo about releasing the new version on their platforms, since Nintendo of America previously denied McMillen a license to release the original on 3DS due to the games “questionable religious content”. There may also be an iOS version “if it’s not garbage”.

Going by the rest of the details McMillen provides, this new Binding of Isaac (nBoi as I’m calling it for short) will be more akin to the fantastic Xbox version of Spelunky than a straight-up port. As well as everything you got in TBoI and it’s Wrath of the Lamb expansion, nBoI will include another equally-huge expansion with another new final chapter bringing the total to four. The full list of new additions is available to read on McMillen’s site, but in a nutshell there’ll be a new ending, more rooms, items, enemies and bosses, new music from Danny B, two new playable characters, and some “secret stuff” originally cut from the PC/Flash version. “The goal”, says Edmund, “will be to make replaying the whole game not only worth it but also make it so it feels very fresh and new.”

You won’t have to replay it solo either because the most interesting thing about nBoI for me personally is the addition of two-player local co-op multiplayer. As in “person sitting on the couch next to you” multiplayer like in the good old days, so you and a friend and/or loved one can spend a charming evening together peeing on walking abortions weeping tears of blood. Local co-op in Xbox Spelunky was great fun and the way the levels are laid out in TBoI – each room is on a single screen Zelda style – seems perfect for this, although I’m curious as to how how nBoI will handle situations where each player chooses to explore different rooms. Will there be some split-screening going on or will it take the Smash TV approach and keep players together? At the very least there should be plenty of arguments about who gets what power-ups, slot machine rewards, pills and other goodies.

Development on nBoI is due to start on the first day of 2013 and be finished before the last one, although that’s an ideal estimate at best. Edmund is also currently also working with his Team Meat partner-in-crime Tommy Refenes on their new game Mew-Genics, “a game about cats…kinda.”



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