Less than a week away from the release of The Binding of Isaac, currently adding the final music and sound edits as we test achievements and get the game ready for its steam release on the 28th.
When i started SMB dev i had a very negative standpoint when it came to achievements, they really felt like worthless tacked on extras that usually forced the player to do boring or counterintuitive things to gain digital badges, and in a lot of games out there that's exactly what they are. During the final development months of SMB we were forced to sit down and come up with 12 xbla achievements, but even with a game like smb adding achievements that were more then "check point awards" was tough. i feel like the only legit achievement we added was the Iron boy achievement, an achievement that asked the player to go above and beyond to gain something extra, it went with the hardcore theme of the game and worked so well on xbla we decided to add 11 more of them in the Steam version.
Achievements can be fun if designed in a way that asks more of the player, but in a game like Isaac, achievements can also be used as a progression check list as well as extra reward, so today i'm going to go over the "visible" Isaac achievements and explain why we did them the way we did.
Ill try not to go into great detail on each as to not spoil too much, but the over 40 Isaac achievements fall into a few different categories.
Basic Progression achievements: (colored by chapter, 6)
As i explained in my last post, Isaac doesnt play like a "normal" linear game, its a game that was designed to be played over and over with different content and outcomes. So to do achievements designed around progression we did these
Each of the 3 starting chapters (Basement, Caves, Depths) has 2 basic progression achievements, completing said chapter for the 1st time as well as killing all 4 of the starting bosses in each chapter as well. Each achievement also rewards you with unlockable content, as you might assume from the images the content ranges from, new weapons, usable items, level effecting hats and even a lil pet! These are the most basic achievements in the game, and probably the easiest to get when starting out.
Item achievements: (grey, 12+)
everyone of the 13+ item achievements obviously rewards the player with a new item that is shuffled into their next play sessions making the game richer in content. how you get these items is a bit mysterious, some are unlocked by doing specific things that are hinted at in the achievement descriptions, some are rewarded by unlocking alt characters, some are unlocked by getting item combos and others are unlocked by simply playing the game as you would normally.
Character achievements:(white, 3+)
Basic achievements that are attained by unlocking alt. characters!
Mystery achievements: (purple, 5)
these are a secret to everyone!
Game Completion achievements: (red, 8+)
Probably the game's key achievements, these guys are rewarded by completing the game 1-10 times. each one either unlocks an item, character, boss or changes the full game. these are the key achievements for all die hards.
Extreme achievements!: (gold, 4+)
Bonus achievements rewarded for finishing the game with alt characters and 100%ing the game, these rewards come in the form of very powerful familiars and even things that change how your starting characters play!
The equivalent of Iron man runs in SMB, these hardcore achievements are meant for the freaks out there who like a real challenge!
And thats the basic run down of achievements and rewards.
If the game takes off and the fans start salivating for more achievements, we have a few planned for updates in the future... speaking of future plans.
Many of you following me on twitter have probably read that it was very hard for me to stop adding new content to Isaac during the last month of dev, last week i had to completely cut off the content to assure we would hit or launch date on the 28th, of course the moment i did that i came up with a ton of amazing ideas that i felt NEEDED to be in the game! I dont want to promise anything right now, because god knows mentioning stuff like this is an easy way to shoot yourself in the foot by doing tons of extra work for nothing (see the 6months of extra dev time on the promised super meat world + level editor) BUT...
IF Isaac does well on steam and aquires a fan base that really wants more game, i will be for sure doing a FREE update this Halloween :)... those of you who though the game was dark...well, it will get darker.
ok back to testing!