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If you've played The Binding of Isaac, Super Meat Boy, or Crypt of the Necrodancer, odds are you're a fan of Danny Baranowsky, the composer behind the music that helped make them great, not to mention several other videogame soundtracks. Baranowsky is dropping a new batch of tracks next month, but this time it's an album, not a score.
In case you were confused by the trailer: "dannyBsides" is a collection of 12 previously unheard tracks from Baranowsky. You won't find them in any game (though some of them bear a striking resemblance), and until recently they weren't publicly available. That is, until Twitch musician The8BitDrummer streamed a blind accompaniment to the entire album as a promo—no small feat, and quite the jam.
Baranowsky has been inadvertently working on this album for nearly 10 years."[The song] 'Hooked Into the Machine' is from my first-ever gig, a game for the Sidekick phone, in Midi, and later an audio version for Android," he says. "'Plummet' and 'End of the Road' are from a free flash game called Fathom I did with Adam Atomic around the same time. It's technically been released before, but not individually, and not mastered like this."
Although he's best known for scoring The Binding of Isaac, Super Meat Boy, and Crypt of the Necrodancer, Baranowsky says the album doesn't echo any particular game or theme.
"'SunnyBsmile,' 'Takeoff,' 'Circuit Lounge' and 'Skybridge' are all from a more recent game that I had to pull out from due to health concerns," he says. "I was really sad that they wouldn't see the light of day, so it was nice to finally have a good reason to release them. And they were made within the last couple years, so it helped assuage my neurosis of releasing super old stuff. The old stuff is still good, but production-wise i get real embarrassed about anything more than a couple years old."
The question, then, is why release an album now?
"Honestly, the primary goal was to offload some of these tracks off my conscience," Baranowsky says. "You get used to having people hear everything you do, and it feels weird to have hours of stuff just sitting there, unheard. It's also nice to have an album that is just music, and not associated with a game. I'm ultra keen on making original albums for their own sake, and this was a great step in that direction. My manager, Patrick, has been instrumental in pushing me in that direction. Would love to tour someday soon, see what the audience for game music is like in the real world!"
The album costs $10 and is due out Monday, December 1. You can find more details and the full tracklist on Ghost Ramp's online store.
The Binding of Isaac developer Edmund McMillen announced the contents of Isaac: Afterbirth Plus' second 'mod booster' pack yesterday, and right at the bottom of that blog post, as if to reward people for scrolling down, he revealed that he's been working on another project with frequent collaborator Tyler Glaiel. It's an "unannounced IP", so it's presumably got nothing to do with The Legend of Bum-bo, which was similarly teased last year, before retreating into the shadows, never to be whiffed again.
Here's what McMillen has to say about the secret project:
"On a side note not many of you know this but Tyler and I have been in crunch mode for the past 3 months trying to finish this secret project. We are coming close to announcing it and its release date, so keep and eye out for it, I don't want to spoil the fun yet but I can say this.
"It's hard, it's weird, it's personal, it has amazing controls, it's a totally new unannounced IP and it's easily one of the largest games I've ever made level wise."
I'm not going to speculate, because McMillen's announcements are always surprising, and because it sounds like we'll know before too long. So let's take a look at Afterbirth+ and its second mod booster pack, which once again incorporates some select mods into the base game. This time, give a big welcome to the projectile-repelling Telepathy, the item-ferrying Moving Box, the charge-replenishing Jumper Cables item and more.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth was, er, ushered into the world a few months ago, and if you're not up to date with the roguelikey action game and its various incarnations, know that it's basically The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth but with a load of additional tweaks and content, and modding tools layered over the top.
Before release, developer Edmund McMillen said that the game would receive monthly 'booster packs', adding select fan mods into the game via official patches, and while it's taken a little longer than expected, the first pack just went live a couple of days ago.
McMillen details the free update here, revealing that it adds new items and trinkets, including a few by the Isaac creator himself. These include Buddy in a Box, which grants Isaac a randomised baby buddy, and Lil' Delirium, which randomly swaps your familiar every 10 seconds.
For the next booster pack, which McMillen hopes will be out late next month, he's looking for new challenges, Angel Room items, enemies and bosses. So if you're interested in Isaac modding, get creating, as there's a chance your mods will be included in the game.
Today's announcement that The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ is live on Steam was a bit premature, because at this particular moment it is actually not live at all. But it's coming, any minute now, possibly by the time you read this, and creator Edmund McMillen said in a message that while the Afterbirth expansion will "close the book on a five-year journey" that began as just a fun Flash project with a friend, it also marks a new beginning for the game.
"I never had any idea Isaac would become what it has, this little monster has consumed my brain for what feels like a lifetime and I'm at a point now where I can be happy with officially finishing the story and calling the Isaac project done," he wrote. "But as sad as that may sound to some, this is really just the start of things to come. AB+ started as just a mini DLC of mod tools, but slowly ballooned into another game expansion with a bunch more added content… But still at its core the whole point of AB+ was to hand the game off to the community, who at this point knows the game better than i do."
McMillen said that going forward, the game will get monthly "booster pack" updates that will incorporate the best user-made content into the official game, a plan he unveiled back in November. Mod makers don't have to submit their work for consideration—"You can honestly do whatever the hell you wanna do," McMillen wrote—but for the benefit of those who do, he also provided a list of basic guidelines for the content he's looking for, including theme and design tips, ideas about enemies, bosses, and challenges.
Getting your work to him will be a bit of a crapshoot at first: He suggested tweeting a gif or video of your mod in action (but don't overdo it), or maybe posting something on Reddit. "It's a bit hamfisted," he admitted, "but as the months roll by I'm sure we will find a smooth way to exchange ideas and I'll keep updating the blog with new info as the year unfolds."
The Afterbirth+ announcement post also warned that "like any launch there is a good chance that we missed some bugs and players may experience some issues that our testers might have missed." The developers will continue to work on over the launch week, and there may be some nerfing too, if it proves necessary.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ isn't going to make it out before the end of the year, but it will come awfully close. Developer Edmund McMillen announced today that the game will debut on Steam on January 3 with a full suite of mod tools, new items, trinkets, and pickups, a new final chapter, plus a new final boss, playable character, "greedier" greed mode, and more.
"So basically what you are looking at is a slightly smaller afterbirth expansion but with mod tools that potentially make it 20 times larger!" McMillen wrote. "I'm honestly quite excited about what the community will end up making and even more excited to make some of it totally official in Isaac!"
McMillen said in November that he'd be keeping an eye on the Binding of Isaac mod scene, and that he'd be picking particularly good ones for official inclusion in the game. "I'm positive that there are a ton of cool ideas out there that are so left field that they MUST be added to the main game," he said at the time.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ will go for $10 on Steam, but will be available for a week after launch for $6.66. Until then, enjoy this devilish new teaser.
It's been almost a full year since The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ was announced for release sometime in 2016. And as of today it looks like that date is going to hold: A new post at bindingofisaac.com reveals more about the expansion, which will include new items, enemies, bosses, challenges achievements, and "in-depth mod tools," and says it will be out within the next 60 days hopefully before the end of the year.
"We are currently in testing and finalizing achievements, but are running into some minor release overlap issues with the holiday rush," Binding of Isaac creator Edmund McMillen wrote. "What i can say is AB+ will release in the next 60 days on steam the goal has always been to release at the very end of the year and [we] are still shooting for it but there are some things that are a bit out of our control."
Following the release of the expansion, McMillen said he'll be keeping an eye on the mod scene on Reddit, and will every so often select a favorite for official inclusion in the game. "This is a feature im really looking foward to, i feel like ive personally scraped the barrel when it comes to item design and feel quite depleted, but im positive that there are a ton of cool ideas out there that are so left field that they MUST be added to the main game," he wrote. "So once this thing releases, its time to prove your worth!"
He also touched on the status of the other projects he has in the works, The Legend of Bumbo and 0uroboros. Legend of Bumbo "has been a hard nut to crack" but is now "an officially fun and very interesting game," which means it will be getting its own dev blog within the next few weeks. As for 0uroboros, "sadly there isn t much new to show gameplay wise but im sure we will have some fun news to share in a month or so."
We should have known that whatever The Binding of Isaac creator Edmund McMillen was working on next, he wouldn't do something so mundane as telling us what it is. McMillen enjoys making us dance like puppets, so the teaser for his new project, The Legend of Bum-bo, raises more questions than it answers.
The Legend of Bum-bo is another collaboration with James Id, who directed all the Binding of Isaac trailers. This time, he'll be handling the programming and 3D, while Matthias Bossi and Jon Evans will return for the audio.
The description of Bum-bo as "a turn based puzzle RPG type thingy that's randomly generated" poses the following head-scratchers: why is a giant poo a key feature of the logo? Why does it also feature a Binding of Isaac coin? And of course, "but why is this on the isaac blog!? what does this have to do with isaac!? when isaac!? isaac? isaac! why!?".
All of that we have to wait for, or figure out from the manifold ARGs that are probably embedded in the Tumblr post.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth caused quite a stir when it came out in October. It wasn't the DLC itself that caused the uproar, though, but rather the complex ARG it kicked off, which began with what appeared to be a bug that left promised elements of the game inaccessible. Hopefully the launch of the "mini DLC" tentatively entitled Afterbirth+ will go a little more smoothly, or at least make fewer people angry when it rolls out.
And yes, Afterbirth+ is actually something that will exist sometime next year. Tyrone Rodriguez of Nicalis made the announcement on the Binding of Isaac blog, although the details were heavily redacted by "Evil Edmund," aka Binding of Isaac creator Edmund McMillen.
"Afterbirth will have a bunch of new ***** ********, including a couple of new bosses, a few transformations and new items/trinkets. How many? That s a ****** you ll find out on *******," he wrote. "Oh, also, ***** ***** **** and maybe something else related to ***** ****. There s also a *** ****** I m leaving out until a later time so you can wonder and conjecture/speculate ***** ****."
Got that? Afterbirth+ will also include a Bestiary that will provide detailed information about enemies you've encountered, as well as support for mods, which Rodriguez said is the "big news" in the announcement, and a "user-friendlier" room editor, mod editor, and Lua support.
"It s a lot of changes to the game and I m really excited to see what all of you make. Thanks for sticking around and being patient while we continue to improve the game," he wrote. "Keep sending your good/bad feedback. We are listening, even if you think we aren t."
A launch date more precise than "next year" was not mentioned.
When it comes to expansions, The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth is a monster: according to the game's official website it has more than 100 hours of extra content. That includes a new 'Greed Mode', daily runs, 10 new challenges, 1000+ new rooms and more than 100 new items, among other things.
It won't be long before it's available, either: according to that trailer above, the expansion will release October 30. "Trust me when I say this DLC makes Rebirth feel like a completely new game," says the announcement. "It's rare that I design a game that I really look forward to play testing daily."
The expansion will cost US$9.99. Preorder info is due next week, and will apparently involve substantial discounts.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth will feature daily runs with leaderboards, co-creator Edmund McMillen has announced, allowing players to compete on a more-or-less level playing field for the best score on the internet. Yes, all of it.
"Every day the game will generate a specific seed that will be generated the same for everyone (minus locked things) and you can now compete against the internet for best score in the run!" McMillen explained. "This feature was one of my favorites in Spelunky and i always wanted to do it in Isaac… But how do you score a game like Isaac? More on that in a later post."
The "minus locked things" comment refers to the fact that some players will have unlocked more powerful items than others, giving them a potentially significant leg up on everyone else. Hey, life's tough—and McMillen's promise of more information about how the game will be scored suggests he has a plan for redressing imbalances, at least partially.
The post also revealed a pair of new items for the game: Dead Eye, "a fan suggested item that raises damage with each consecutive hit and causes your tears to become red glowing balls of death if you play well," and Continuum, which turns your eyes purple and causes your tears to "loop back" when they're shot off the screen.