According to several Tweets last night by indie developer Edmund McMillen, Nintendo has decided not to allow The Binding of Isaac on the 3DS. Nintendo itself has released no statement but McMillen, one of the game’s designers, speculates that it’s the religious context of the game that’s giving the publisher pause.
The Binding of Isaac is a shooter which draws inspiration from the biblical story in which Abraham is asked by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac. In the game, you play as the naked and crying little Isaac who has fled to a monster-filled basement (which is clearly inspired by The Legend of Zelda’s dungeons) to avoid being sacrificed by his mother in an attempt to prove her faith to God.
“Nintendo is saying that Isaac cant ever exist in the 3DS shop ever,” said McMillen. “I have no idea how this would effect retail but theres no way anyone would publish it retail wise either way due to the games price. It took a while to get an answer because the religious themes in the game made it very hard for Nintendo to take a stance on it, so it had to keep going higher and higher in the ranks of Nintendo approval to get the OK.”
McMillen figured that as long as the ESRB didn’t slap Isaac with an AO, Nintendo would allow it to be placed on the 3DS eShop but the game never got that far.
“All I know is they passed on it due to problems the religious aspects of the game might cause. I don't have details on what aspect of ‘religion’ they are most bothered by, but I did hear that they didn't care about any blasphemy in games, but cared more about religion period and how something based on the bible might effect things… honestly it was a pretty muddy response, but I did hear that religious games are far more bothersome than blasphemous ones, and the game being based on a story in the bible and being ‘by the book’ in a lot of ways could have actually been an issue.”
The Binding of Isaac is available on Steam for $4.99. Feel free to decide for yourself if you’d like to play it.
Image credit: Steam
-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Contributing Editor Andrew Eisen