A special Afterbirth challenge run in honor of Mr. Iwata

I've said a lot of good things about Afterbirth in my The Binding Of Isaac: Afterbirth Review and now, after playing it for a month longer, I'm even happier with my purchase. It took everything I loved about Rebirth and built something great upon its foundations.

But just making a really good game wasn't enough apparently because the Afterbirth+ update has been announced, bringing with it mod support, new items, new enemies, a bestiary and a few features they didn't want to reveal just yet.

You can find the full developer blog post here but if you want a quick summary and an explanation why this might be the best thing to happen to Isaac I encourage you to go on.

First of all, I would love to talk about the new items, transformations and bosses the update is going to bring but "Evil Edmund" has gone and censored them so we'll have to wait a bit for that reveal.

What we do know is coming is the brand new bestiary, a place where you can take a look at all the enemies you've encountered and how you fared against them. While the addition of statistics such as your win% against certain monsters and bosses is pretty cool I believe the exact health values on the monsters will be the biggest game changer. As far as I'm aware the only way the community could figure out how much damage certain items did was through trial and error against bosses and comparing results with known values.

Now, with exact health values given, its going to be much easier to understand the power levels of items and it will be especially helpful when big patches come and many items get tweaked (such as the one this week). Which brings up another point, will there be a bestiary for items as well, an itemstiary if you will?

Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ update will bring in the monster bestiary

I wonder if there will be stats on how many times I've died a shameful death via spikes

However, the most important change by far is the addition of mod support. You might think there's already mod support given that there are some custom mods out there but that's basically done by "hacking" the game and they tend to be broken by updates. An official mod API would mean that mods are easier to create, capable of being far more complex, and a lot more stable. The sort of thing Minecraft has been in dire need of for years now.

Along with the mod API there are a few more nifty tools being added. The first of which is the level editor, similar to the ones developers use, which will allows you to create your own hellish room types and perhaps even whole new room layouts. The next is the animation editor which, as you might imagine, will allow you to create new animations for current characters as well as completely new characters of your own design.

Finally, and perhaps the biggest one of them all, is the Lua programming language support. In other words you will be able to do almost anything with the game, the only limitations being your programming knowledge and your imagination.

I can't even begin to explain how huge this update is going to be for Afterbirth's lifespan. Games like Skyrim which are infinitely more complex to work with have thousands of content expanding mods, imagine what will happen with the relatively simpler Isaac once mod support finally hits: new rooms, new enemies, tons of new items, special challenge runs, new characters, perhaps even a whole new game within a game?

The possibilities are endless and I can't wait to be allowed to fiddle with it. Afterbirth+ is set to arrive in 2016 and as of right now it is not known whether it is a free or paid upgrade but given that it contains mod support I am heavily leaning towards free.