The Binding of Isaac “closing in” on 450K sold, expansion detailed as 3DS talks continue

Saturday, 28th January 2012 17:37 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

The Binding of Isaac is “closing in” on 450,000 copies sold, and such success has surprised creator Edmund McMillen, as he had convinced himself this “week-long project” would garner little interest from the public.

Speaking in an interview with IndieGames, McMillen said there was “no reason for this game to have done well,” because when he started the game, he wasn’t sure if he should even charge for it.

“I didn’t think people would want it, in all honestly,” he said. “I had to shop it around to a bunch of different developers, and say like ‘Do you think I could sell this?’, because I thought it was way too weird, I thought the content was too disturbing and creepy, I thought it would just rub too many people the wrong way, and I thought the design was just too hardcore for any kind of mass amount of people to enjoy.

“Permadeath is very discouraging, that’s why roguelikes are very niche and small. There’s very specific people who play them. There’s another key thing too, what traditional roguelikes, that use permadeath like that – most of those are free. I came to the conclusion that I’d put it up for $5, and if people don’t like it they don’t have to buy it. Then it just fucking blew up. I didn’t know, I didn’t expect it.”

McMillen said the popularity of Super Meat Boy “helped” sales of Isaac, which has also led him feeling a bit guilty Team Meat’s programmer Tommy Refenes wasn’t involved.

“I wanted to do this with Tommy, I don’t want to say that to sound bad to Florian [Himsl], but this was a game I wanted to do with Tommy, and he just wasn’t available when it was happening,” McMillen explained. “It was supposed to just be a week long game jam, I wanted to jam out this little idea I had, just to have fun, and it just kind of grew and grew.”

The game’s growth will continue with the release of The Wrath of the Lamb which McMillen likened to “the final ultimate chapter in the game.” According to him, the expansion will contain an alternate, much more difficult chapter to Sheol which will be the “true final ending.”

“You’ll be rewarded by beating that part of the game with each character with items that are really unique,” he said. “There’s a lot of really unique items, new items sets, even new player statistics. There’s a speed of shot stat, not just rate of fire, that can actually be modified now, which is cool to mess around with. There’s also a bunch of new tear types that goes with the items.

“There’ll be definitely a lot of interesting things that appear as you play, maybe even more if I feel inspired.”

Continuing on the subject of Isaac’s growth, McMillen said a 3DS version of the game is still “up in the air” at present, and while he couldn’t discuss details regarding it, talks regarding the handheld version are “quite in depth to the point that it’s taken this long for a conclusion to be met.”

“The game has definitely thrown a wrench into the gears of the people involved,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know, even I don’t know, exactly how to take the game.”



  1. Maxey

    How about remaking the game on a language that doesn’t suck, like c++?

    Flash is fine for YouTube or simple browser games but for slightly more complex stand-alone games like Binding of Isaac, it’s simply not ideal.

    Even the VVVVVV guys figured it out and remade the game on c++.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. DSB

    Holy shit, 450k sold?!

    Who needs publishers, really?

    I was not expecting that. I mean I like it, but I don’t love it, and I wouldn’t expect hundreds of thousands of people to.

    @1 I don’t have any kind of insight, and I do know that flash isn’t popular, but I haven’t had any problems with the game myself.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Phoenixblight

    Different expectations between a 5$ game and a 60$ game. I bought it because it reminded me of Zelda but I can’t stand the permadeath. SO it became a 5$ lesson of what rogue-like means.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. silkvg247

    Good for him, Isaac is fucking awesome. Played 45 hours on it myself.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. TheWulf

    Gods damn, The Binding of Isaac was creepy. A very interesting game though, and definitely more ambitious than Super Meat Boy. I’m interested to see whatever the heck he’s going to do next.

    Also: @2 – Agreed.

    Also, also: Can I drop mentions for Dustforce, Rochard, and Shadow Era here? They’re indie titles that I feel just aren’t getting enough attention. And Shadow Era is even available on mobile devices (I tend to play it most on my Android tablet – Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 if curious).

    Rochard has the best use of gravity I’ve ever seen in any game, it’s an evolution of what was done in Half-Life. I also support this game because it’s one of the few where the main character isn’t just the generic sort of sexy, lithe/muscular superhero that proliferates games. You’ll see what I mean when you take a look at it.

    Also, Rochard’s music is love. There are so many Amiga flashbacks brought back by music like this. If you have any interest at all in chiptune music then I urge you to listen.

    Dustforce is clever, and it’s also about evolution – in this case it’s an evolution of what Super Meat Boy did. It does the same sort of thing, but with even tighter controls, and backed up by an even weirder concept. In fact, the concept is right out of the home computer days of gaming – a malevolent hivemind of dirt is taking over the world, and the world’s only hope is a group of street cleaners.

    No, really. They did that. And it appeals to me on so, so many levels. It also appeals once again to my ‘yay, these aren’t just lithe/muscular/sexy superheroes’ side again. I appreciate that. We seem to be getting a lot of that out of indie titles lately. I can has more?

    Finally, Shadow Era is also an evolution – it’s an evolution in accessibility and of computer ports of card games like Magic: The Gathering. It’s the most enjoyable card game I’ve ever played, and the heroes on offer (think of this like the Planeswalkers from M:tG) are simply brilliant.

    I admit to a little bias in Shadow Era’s case though because there are two werewolves on offer as heroes, and this made me exceptionally happy. But TotalBiscuit loved this, too, so it can’t just be down to that. And it really is very accessible.

    I also want to praise Shadow Era for having accessibility for visually disabled people – this is the reason I can’t play most PC ports of card games, because it doesn’t zoom in on the cards to let me read the text. Shadow Era does. That matters to me.

    So those are three games that I will speak of here, in the hopes that they’ll get poked.

    I should probably link these!

    Rochard (Demo available, so you can give it a spin to see if you like it before you buy. It’s on the right side of the Steam page.)
    DustForce (No demo for this one, which is a bit of a shame. But it is really, really very good. If you liked the likes of VVVVVV you’ll most likely dig this.)
    Shadow Era (Free to play, but with one of the least gouging methods I’ve seen. It may even be a little too generous really, which may hurt them in the long run. It’s certainly a hell of a lot cheaper than playing any real card game, and I speak from experience!)

    #5 3 years ago
  6. TheWulf


    If you don’t like permadeath, then the Dungeons of Dredmor may be a good alternative for you.

    #6 3 years ago

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