Yesterday morning, Edmund McMillen surprised the gaming community by posting the first image of a new video game in development titled The Legend of Bum-bo.
On the official The Binding of Isaac Tumblr blog, McMillen teases that the secret project had been in development for several months. Working with Edmund McMillen on the game will be the developer James Id and composer Jon Evans who have both worked with him in the past. Titles such as Super Meat Boy and the series The Binding of Isaac were just a few of what the team had collaborated on. But how does this all relate to The Legend of Bum-bo?
Mild spoilers for The Binding of Isaac series below!
If one looks closely, they can see the use of a coin to make the “O” in the name “Bum-bo.” This coin is identical to the ones used throughout The Binding of Isaac. They are most notably used to buy items or to be given either to the donation machine or to the beggars that are randomly generated in the game world. These beggars used to appear only as NPCs from The Binding of Isaac on to the remake The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. By giving them coins, the main character Isaac was in turn gifted with items and power-ups.
It wasn’t until McMillen released the expansion The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth that we were given a beggar named Bumbo in the form of a follower item. Taking the face of a normal beggar, Bumbo would collect coins dropped on to the floor regardless of if the player wanted him to or not. Slowly, he would use the coins to upgrade into a powerhouse that could easily tear through most enemies. Bumbo is a beloved follower item to many players leading to his popularity for those who frequent the game. This in turn has many believing that this could be the same Bum-bo mentioned in McMillen’s teaser post.
Even the environment overshadowed by the massive The Legend of Bum-bo logo can be taken into consideration. The use of wooden flooring and paneling is a big clue. Players familiar with the rogue-like level design of The Binding of Isaac will notice that the decor is reminiscent of areas such as The Cellar and most notably The Chest. The chest is known for greeting players with golden-chests filled with rewards including power ups and trinkets before leading into the game’s final boss room. Based on the character Bumbo and its affinity for monetary items, one can easily make a link between the risk of reward and the gift of power in exchange for cash.
Take into consideration the use of a ‘poop’ symbol behind the name Bum-bo. McMillen frequently uses this running gag in The Binding of Isaac. The poop even goes so far as to be an obstacle, an item, a common enemy mob, and a boss. By using the poop behind the name Bum-bo, this gives us more clarity in the where the basis of the game is taken from.
Over on Reddit, a few individuals have found that the usage of tags in Edmund McMillen’s blog post appears to include a hidden meaning as well. Reddit users Mormon_Of_Death and 291 discovered that the tags #1kjLGx1 and #1MjYBzz lead to two different webpages. The first leads to the music video of “Back in Time” by Huey Lewis and The News while the second tag leads to a Wikipedia entry for the definition of Prequel.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLQWGoysbgM]
Some have adopted the belief that this could be the start of a on-going April Fool’s joke by Edmund McMillen and his team. However, because there is currently no proof, we have to take that idea with a grain of salt. McMillen jokes about the idea on his Twitter:
I realize I've done some amazing April fools jokes in the past.. But the fact that some of you think I'm doing one in March… People please
— Edmund McMillen (@edmundmcmillen) March 23, 2016
Based on the current information, we can assume that this Bum-bo either the same as the Bumbo in The Binding of Isaac or is at least similar in that regard. We can assume that McMillen is planning a type of spin-off from The Binding of Isaac video games. Since there is so little to go on, we are unable to see if The Legend of Bum-bo will be a prequel, a sequel, or an entirely independent game to the series.
Even despite the lack of information, we can deduce that a prequel is the most likely of the three.