Brace yourself for a return to bullet hell because The Binding of Isaac: Repentance releases March 31st. Game Designer Edmund McMillen made the initial announcement in September of last year, posting a surprise update to the game’s Steam page with a few hype-building screenshots and an absolutely adorable photo of his newborn daughter, Minnow.
The release was initially set for December 31st, 2020, but New Year’s came and went without the ability to even pre-purchase. Early in January, McMillen announced the real release date along with the price tag: $14.99. Both The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and its successive DLCs were said to be the final entries in Isaac’s saga, respectively, but it seems McMillen and developer-slash-publisher Nicalis have as much difficulty putting the game down as fans.
BACK TO THE BASEMENT
The Binding of Isaac: Repentance is the first new content in the game since The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+, which released in early January of 2017. That DLC added tons of new items to collect, rooms to explore, bosses to thrash, and a healthy dose of increased modding support, not to mention a new playable character named Apollyon. The exact contents of Repentance are being withheld in the interest of player discovery, a common stance for Binding of Isaac devs, but McMillen has described it as “basically a sequel.”
Given the amount of content already present in Rebirth and its DLCs, that’s a tall order. Since its inception as a flash game in the late aughts, The Binding of Isaac has built its foundation on its replayability, mainly by way of the addictive, gamebreaking synergies between its mountain of items. According to the Steam data tracking website AStats, the average play time for owners of Rebirth, including those that own any combination of its DLCs, sits at about 108 hours. That’s more than Skyrim, a game so beloved by fans they’ve modded it into oblivion (both literally and figuratively).
Since the announcement in September there have been regular updates to the game’s Steam blog. They offer behind the scenes looks at various aspects of Repentance‘s development, including interviews with Ridiculon, the metal head pair responsible for Rebirth and its DLC’s headbanging scores, and Nikola Rakonjac, a superfan-modder-turned-developer who’s working on the new rooms you’ll encounter. You can also find a few teaser gifs showing off new items and synergies that are sure to whet your appetite. The whole run of updates is worth a deep dive if you’ve got some time to kill, and they plan to release more between now and April.
You can pre-purchase The Binding of Isaac: Repentance on Steam now. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and its DLCs can be found on basically any console you like, including iOS if that’s your bag. Most recently a complete collection of the series was released on the Nintendo Switch for $39.99.
McMillen has also put together a special, Steam-only collection of his entire library of work, titled The Blue King Collection, that’s available now. It includes all the Binding of Isaac variations, plus its spinoff, The Legend of Bumbo, and many more.