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As _The Binding of Isaac _winds down, Edmund McMillen looks back on how it all began

The Binding of Isaac creator Edmund McMillen reflects on seven years of The Binding of Isaac and how the game became an early indie darling.

Alissa McAloon, Publisher

June 6, 2018

2 Min Read

"They just kinda put it aside, it was a lot of 'oh it's like a remix of Legend of Zelda, and it's pretty cool.’ It was like, OK, well, I don't know how I'm supposed to sell this thing."

- The Binding of Isaac dev Edmund McMillen recalls the game's early struggles

PCGamer has published an insightful look back at The Binding of Isaac games, speaking with creator Edmund McMillen to trace back the indie game's early Steam struggles and how both Let’s Plays and a healthy modding community helped the game gain a foothold. 

The Binding of Isaac has lived through multiple expansions and a full re-release, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, but, as McMillen recalled to PCGamer, the now-prolific legacy of the game wasn’t apparent in the title’s early days.

While the game was originally created as a way for McMillen to wind down after the release of Super Meat Boy, he and fellow dev Florian Himsl looked to create and release a full version of the game after “everything clicked together.” 

At first, he was apprehensive that Steam would even accept a Flash-based game but even after going out on a limb and snagging a Steam release, introducing the game’s quirks to players was another battle entirely. He notes that he initially had no idea how to sell the game, but says that Let’s Plays and a growing modding community quickly solved that problem.

“100-200 copies, 1,000 copies a day—that summer, the first summer after release, which was probably nine months after release, is when it just exploded,” recalls McMillen. ”And it just kept climbing higher and higher and higher.”

There’s more from McMillen about The Binding of Isaac’s early days and the 2011 release’s recent last update to be found over in the full PC Gamer interview

About the Author(s)

Alissa McAloon

Publisher, GameDeveloper.com

As the Publisher of Game Developer, Alissa McAloon brings a decade of experience in the video game industry and media. When not working in the world of B2B game journalism, Alissa enjoys spending her time in the worlds of immersive sandbox games or dabbling in the occasional TTRPG.

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