Indie dev expected failure and shipped cult hit before testing

Binding of Isaac ‘a buggy mess’, says McMillen

Edmund McMillen has called the release of The Binding of Isaac "a buggy mess", admitting he didn’t test the game because he expected it to flop.

"The reason we released Isaac when we did was because it was done (if untested), and I didn’t want to waste any more of my time on something I expected would crash and burn," McMillen told Gamasutra.

"I was just so worried it would suck that I wanted to get it out and over with."

McMillen couldn’t have been more wrong, as the game became a cult hit and sold over a million copies on Steam in its first year.

"From any mainstream marketing perspective, I designed Isaac to fail – and that was my goal from the start," he said.

But interest in Isaac continues to grow with the Wrath of the Lamb expansion.

"One-quarter of the people who own the main game paid for the Wrath of the Lamb expansion, and the interest seems to continue building," he said.

McMillen argued the game owes its success for rogue-like design, and its agressive handling of adult issues like religion.

"I’m not saying everyone who played Isaac did so because they cared about these themes, or that they even understood why they were in the game, but I strongly believe that this adult conversation I dove into with Isaac is what made the game stand out to people and kept them thinking."

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