If there’s one indie developer I have enjoyed studying over the years, its Edmund McMillen. I was enamored with Binding of Isaac, relating to the darker themes at work and the addictive gameplay elements. While I never finished Super Meat Boy, it always came up during conversations about controls. I’ve even explored his archives, giving just about every game he’s been a part of a quick try at the least. For a while now, McMillen has been trickling in details about a secret project on Twitter. Now, the world has been shown a teaser for The End is Nigh, a dark, hardcore platformer that’s coming later this summer.
Players will take over Ash, a little blorb of a character that is one of the few surviving organisms after the world has ended. Ash wants nothing more than to make some friends and sets out on a journey to do so. Along the way he’ll face all manners of warped animals and hazards, all steeped in bleakness and hopelessness. For added challenge, there are video game cartridges and tumors to collect along the way. Oh, and if the trailer is any indication, there will be some really funny moments.
Major features include:
- 600+ levels!
- 12+ explorable chapters!
- 20+ collectible and fully playable mini game cartridges! (each with their own tiny achievements!)
- 80+ achievements that will make you feel good about yourself
- 100s of collectible little squishy tumors!
- loads of hidden extras and endings that you will probably see someone else find before you do!
- and stress!
Of course, McMillen’s signature darker style shows a game that will likely have a deeper meaning hidden inside a challenging platformer. I’ve always found his games to be steeped in symbolism and personal reflection, so we’ll see just where The End is Nigh takes us. It’s amazing that McMillen and his team of super creative folks took this game from practice game design to full concept as quickly as they did. Of course, those following the developer will know there are other projects in the pipeline, including Legend of Bum-bo: The Sewers of Dross, which is slated for a December release.
To paraphrase from a Q&A section of his announcement post,
“I have way too many projects that I’ve announced become vaporware shortly after announcing and I’m sick of it, from now on I’m only going to announce stuff a month or two before release.”
I find this to be a refreshing break from the norm of trying to build hype for a game months upon months before release. Surprise releases hinder on word of mouth instead of pandering to corporations for advertisers, which can boost these sort of games into much higher levels of success. Either way, can this team put out another monumental hit as has been done in the past? Just how many good games can these folks make? We’ll see where The End is Nigh falls in the pantheon of independent greatness when it launches this summer.
The End is Nigh is launching on PC on July 12th, while a Switch version will be coming later. More information is on McMillen’s blog and the Steam Store page. For more McMillen related content, check out my review of Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth Plus.