The Binding of Isaac, a modern retelling of the Biblical story of the same name, was a 2011 indie hit for the PC by Edmund McMillen. The game had elements of rogue-likes, twin-stick shoot-em-ups, and Zelda-style exploration. The game was an instant classic, quickly gaining a sizable following. Rebirth is a remake of and expansion to the original game for PC, Vita, and PlayStation 4. It features a new art style, all the content of the original, the Wrath of the Lamb expansion, as well as a substantial amount of new content in the form of characters, items, and bosses.
Posting to the official Binding of Isaac blog, Nicalis’ founder Tyrone Rodriguez discussed some technical details regarding how the game plays on the Vita and PS4. The native resolution of the game will be 480×272, due to it being “a good fit for pixel art” and providing enough space for the game and its HUD. Rodriguez also stated that the only difference between the PS4 and Vita versions of the game is that the Vita game will be missing some graphical effects present in the PS4 and PC versions. This was done in order to ensure that the game runs smoothly on the comparatively weaker Vita hardware.
The control schemes for the console releases were also discussed. Players can use either the right stick or face buttons to fire tears at the enemy. On the Vita, the touchscreen and select button are used to make up for the lack of shoulder bumpers. The controls will be fully configurable for players unhappy with the defaults.
Additionally, the blog detailed a new feature for the remake. The environment of The Binding of Isaac is randomly generated for each playthrough, but previously there was no way to replay particularly interesting or challenging level layouts. This has changed for Rebirth: now, every randomly generated layout is accompanied by a unique “seed”, which essentially functions like a password. Entering the seed at the title screen will regenerate the game exactly the way it was before, allowing you (or your friends) to try their hand once more at the same set of dungeons. To prevent cheating, new items cannot be unlocked while playing a “seeded” game.
Finally, there’s a well-hidden secret embedded in the article. There are three inconspicuous links in the blog post, each of them one character long. They all link to the same unlisted YouTube video of the game being played with a 3D filter:
The kicker is that the three characters that linked to the video were “3”, “d”, and “s”. Many are interpreting this as a sign that the game will come to 3DS; after all, as Rodriguez points out, the game was originally planned for 3DS.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is set for a 2014 release on PS4, PS Vita, and PC.
As a big fan of the original game, I am definitely excited to hear about any and all new features for the remake. The ability to return to previously played dungeons via the unique seeds is very appealing to me. While it’s a little bit disappointing to hear about the graphic downgrade for Vita, it’s entirely understandable; the smoothness of the gameplay must come first. And of course, as a big fan of the 3DS, I hope that hidden teaser is more than just trolling. The 3DS would be the perfect platform for this game, in my opinion. I don’t want to get my hopes up yet, though; a 3DS port was planned for the original game, too, but blocked by Nintendo on the grounds of its religious themes.
Aaron Dobbe is an Associate Writer at MONG specializing in Nintendo but playing a bit of everything else too. Follow him on Facebook and pester him to get a Twitter.