The Binding Of Edmund McMillen: A Quick Q&A

Edmund McMillen
Edmund McMillen

As part of the promotions for Merge Games‘ upcoming release of The Binding of Isaac: The Unholy Edition, fans were asked to send in questions which would be sent to Edmund McMillen for him to answer.

The questions were picked from those that were submitted with the winners will also receiving a free copy of The Unholy Edition. We also asked you, our readers, to send some questions in which were sent off with the others. We now have the answers from Edmund, which are as follows:


Silvia De Maglie: Will I burn in hell for having played your game?

Edmund: If hell existed, you still wouldn’t burn in it for playing Isaac, just make sure you accept Jesus as you lord and savior before you die and everything will be fine, FYI this also works for murder. its a but of a hell loop hole.

Luke Haugh: You said once that Super Meat Boy (SMB) was your interpretation of Mario Bros and I felt that Issac had a Zelda feel with its dungeons. Would you say that Team Meat’s upcoming game will have a similar old-school inspiration source?

Edmund: The next game will feature elements of a popular game from the early 90s but they will be much less literal than SMB and Isaac. The next game will feature quite a few aspects of Isaac’s design, that was the real reason I started Isaac; I wanted to make a roguelike game because I wanted to test the formula so I could use it in the next big Team Meat game.

Chris Brown: How long was the development process of The Binding of Isaac, e.g. weeks, months and how much time per day would you have devoted to creating the game?

Edmund: Florian and I spent around 3 months on the project, the first 2 months were part time but the last month of crunch was full time. Compared to SMB development, Isaac was a walk in the park. I just worked when I felt like working and didn’t stress myself out about a release. I just wanted to make something fun and quick. Isaac was going to be a free game for 2 months of its development, it wasn’t till late in development that a few other developers told me I should be charging for it and so I decided to do so.

Aaron Busansky: Do you actually play your own games (for leisure) and if so which one is your favorite?

Edmund: I play them when I’m working on them, sometimes after a year or so goes by I’ll pick them back up and play them again to see if they hold up with time. SMB is easily my favorite to pick back up, I actively played it daily for the first year after its release because of the automated level portal we added, new levels every day, it was fun stuff. Time Fcuk is my second favorite to go back and play, I’m still very happy with its design and kind of want to do more with it soon.

The Binding of Isaac

Kieran Berry: Were you ever afraid of criticism based on the controversial content in the game? i.e. Having Steven, who seems to resemble a character in Black Face, as well as naming the creature with a cleft lip “Monstro.” I personally am not offended by this but I can see how others could be…and lets not get started on the religious connotations.

Edmund: No. I was very sure there would be very little to no criticism and controversy about Isaac from the start of development. I knew I was walking the line but I firmly believed that the people who play games like Isaac understand it wasn’t made to offend and wouldn’t be upset by anything I say or do with the title. So far there has been basically no controversy about the game, well that is till the 16+ rating due to blasphemy, but most of the controversy there revolves around the rating itself and less about the content of the game.

Kathryn Fulton: I have never put more hours into a game than I have this one. Were the addictive qualities a purposeful part of the game design or was it’s brilliant re-playability more coincidental?

Edmund: I didn’t set out to make an addictive game, I’m kind of against addictive games and actually try to use the word “compelling” when describing a game that I play a ton and love design wise. My goal when making Isaac was to made almost infinite re-playability, I wanted to make a game that tricked me when I played it and once I was able to do that in Isaac I felt like the game was done. Though as time passed and everyone learned all the ins and outs of the game’s design and it started to become predictable again, that’s why I started on the Wrath of the Lamb expansion; it’s an expansion that should breath a ton of life back into a now formulaic experience for most. The expansion will focus on mystery, magic and tons of new items, enemies bosses and rooms, it will also touch on another side to the game’s story.

Elliot Yaghoobia: What is the one question that you think someone will ask you, but no one has yet?

Edmund: I dont think there is a question that hasn’t been asked that i assumed people would ask.

Giovanni Craparotta: I see scissors running on a laser-ray while eating dollars. Am I a farting bean?

Edmund: Okay, this was the question that I assumed people would ask that I never was asked. The answer is…maybe.

Max Erdwien: Of the content that you make, how much of it gets into the final game, and how much is scrapped?

Edmund: I try to use everything I make, if it doesn’t work how I expected it to work then I reinvent it and use it in a different way. I work fast and reuse what I can. I think there were may be two items that were scrapped in the game that I didn’t use because they weren’t that cool.

The Binding of Isaac

IGM Reader: Do you plan on making a C++ version of Isaac as Terry Cavanagh did with VVVVVV?

Edmund: If someone will help me make it, yes. I’m not a programmer and Florian doesn’t program outside of Flash, I’d love for someone to help us port it to C++ so we can have the game run better and support gamepads…any takers?

IGM Reader: What advice would you give to upcoming indie developers?

Edmund: Start very small and have fun with what you are working on. Make games based around who you are, what you like, what you do; they will come off more honest if you write about yourself in them, even if you do it abstractly. Most importantly, dont make games to make money, if this is your goal starting out you are going to either fail or become just another crappy copycat developer making soulless garbage.

IGM Reader: How is Tommy to work with? Easy? Difficult?

Edmund: Tommy is very very easy to work with, but I didn’t work with him on Isaac. So that made him even easier to work with!

IGM Reader: What indie game are you most looking forward to at the moment?

Edmund: Spelunky HD is my #1 game of this year by far, I’ve been playing the IGF build (I was a judge) and I fucking love it…I can’t stop playing. I’m also looking forward to The Witness.

IGM Reader: Where do you see the indie game industry going in the coming years?

Edmund: I have no idea. I assume it will be just like it is now but bigger! I’m sure it will become uncool to make indie games because everyone is giving them so much attention currently, but I couldn’t give a fuck what people think is cool and uncool any more, I just want to make games I’d like to play.


Some interesting answers we’re sure you’ll agree! Remember, if you want to pick up your very own copy of The Binding of Isaac: The Unholy Edition then you can do so right here. Look at all the goodies you get with it:

The Binding Of Isaac: The Unholy Edition

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