Edmund McMillen says The End is Nigh is about stress, the dark side of game development, and personal struggles

Coming from a Gamasutra interview with dev Edmund McMillen...

"There were a lot of subtle elements in my past platformers that I never fully explored because I was worried about alienating the audience. I wanted to make a game that was honestly a bit uncomfortable to play for people who have issues with stress. I wanted to make a game about stress, pressure and expectation. I feel like I was able to do exactly that in simple and elegant ways I'm quite proud of.

In the past, people would say my work felt like a love letter to classic video games. I wanted The End is Nigh to walk the line of a suicide note or retirement letter. Its themes really are an abstract tale of the dark side of game development - the lonely, stressful, paranoid dregs of the creative process.

In the past 3 years, I've faced some very difficult personal hardships. Just when it seemed like the end was in sight, something else would come up and drop me even lower than I already was. The End is Nigh started as an exploration of this, but as it unfolded, it really became a story about my personal struggle with game development, my obsession with my work, and how it affects my family."

Check out the full interview here

Categories: Interviews, Consoles
Tags: eshop, nicalis, switch


Tue Aug 15 17 08:22am
Rating: 2

At one time, being a creative at Sega, this can definitely hit me where it hurts. I'm probably going to blindly by this game to support the risks he took to explore that idea. Game development is one hell of a monster that consumes a lot of people. But in that ravaging stress, comes some of the most beautiful experiences I've had.

I don't know... That sounds overly dramatic.

Tue Aug 15 17 09:25am
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

He sounds super pretentious and the game sounds like something I wouldn't want to play. I'm into fun. Binding of Isaac is really fun. Why not make another fun game like Binding of Isaac?

But then, hey... he should make what he wants to make and I'll play what I want to play.

Tue Aug 15 17 10:13am
Rating: 2 (Updated 1 time)

Yeah, I can't fault him for exploring some issues with his game but hopefully he doesn't fault me for (based only in this quote from him) not being interested. I find this kind of commentary by devs about their own games a huge turnoff: it tells me they were focused on aspects of games that I don't have as much (if any) interest in compared to stuff like, say, gameplay But I can't be down on him for trying to express something in his chosen medium, at least in theory.

Tue Aug 15 17 10:35am
Rating: 1

I am not much a fan of his work mostly. Bit often these experiences transfer to this ganeplay. I mean, Miyamoto's love of exploring as a kid created zelda. If it wasn't for that emotion, the gameplay wouldn't be there. So for it being stressful, I'd imagine Ed will be conveying much more than a typical roguelike game this time around.

That's a good point: I'm interested in general when life experiences color a game. But in Zelda, Miyamoto managed to convey the FEELING of exploring the forests and caves when he was a kid. This sounds more abstract and less focused on the player than that. But you have a point, and a good one, at that. I should wait to see more before I make up my mind.

Depends on what games you like. If you do not like Pixel Perfect platforming with a time crunch on steroids, as I suspect this game might embrace, then I don't think you're going to enjoy this game. But, having said that, we have not seen much of the game itself. So it's still a wait-and-see approach for pretty much everyone

Another fun game like Binding of Isaac? You mean the game that was about his crazy religious mother and in the game she wants to kill her little boy because god told her to?
You mean fun like that?

I don't know about the developer's crazy mother, but yeah... that game is super fun and awesome. I've sunk over 100 hours into nutcase mom game!

Honestly, if you are that miserable, then take up a different kind of work. I hear similar complaints from musicians and artists as well. No one is stopping you from working in a factory with none of that stress

I'd imagine he has made enough money to straight up retire if he'd like. He's definitely one of the most successful indie devs out there.

If these feelings are the actual fruits of your labors, then I have to think “you’re doing it wrong.”

Reminds me of the documentary about the making of Fez. That guy was so dramatic about every little thing that he alienated those around him. All due to work, as it were. Work should be a means to an end, even if you are a creative type.

The comment section is a little callous and typically insensitive. Artists put their lives into their work. All art is pretentious because in the end it's all about the artists and their art. The audience is merely a bonus, a side dish. The audience is the part that matters least. The things you enjoy the most always come from somewhere inside someone's head. Even if it seems fun, it was difficult to create that little bit of fun. Blood, sweat, tears, that's what it takes to make something meaningful.

I totally respect and appreciate game developers... but, man, I don't want something that is "uncomfortable to play." I'm all for a game developer putting a part of their soul into a project, but they should probably put their audience first.

I'm a fan of this guy's work, and I'll be back to support the next fun project he works on... if he wants to do that. He can do whatever he likes, of course, but so can I... and I'm not going to support an intentionally unenjoyable game as a consumer. There's probably an audience that will, and that's cool too.

What about the End is Nigh doesn't look fun? Super Meat Boy was also extremely difficult. Sure the aesthetic of EIN is darker, but so are games like Dark Souls and that series is loads of fun. I guess it depends on what exactly you find to be enjoyable. Uncomfortable experiences certainly aren't for everyone, I can understand that.

I can't speak for anyone else but i could do without this dramatic pretense and rather just focus on the gameplay offered.

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