Stop Mods from Crashing Your Game in The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+

Trying to remove mods in the latest The Binding of Isaac expansion, only to have your game crash? Try out this fix.

In January, Edmund McMillen's hit game The Binding of Isaac got its latest expansion. Titled "Afterbirth+", the DLC added a ton of new content to the game, including items, bosses, and even a new final floor. But perhaps its biggest contribution was official mod support. Opening the floodgates of the Steam Workshop for fans to mod whatever they wanted into the game was sure to come with some issues, and sure enough, modding in Isaac, while fun, is not without risk.

One bug, in particular, seems to be fairly common -- and devastating. When you go to the mod menu, disable the mods, and back out, the game abruptly crashes. When you try to re-open it, it crashes again on startup. Reinstalling the game does nothing. Does this mean you're locked out of the game forever? Deep breaths-- I had this issue, and after hours of Googling, trial, and error, I was able to find a solution.

Does this mean you're locked out of the game forever? Deep breaths -- I had this issue, and after hours of Googling, trial, and error, I was able to find a solution.

Why Does This Bug Happen?

As a disclaimer, I am not an expert on the inner workings of Isaac. As such, this part of the analysis is my best guess on the bug's cause. The bug seems to most commonly occur with mods of a large size, 

The bug seems to most commonly occur with mods of a large size, especially those that add new characters. (In fact, character mods specifically could be the culprit.) Adding these mods creates some sort of a dependency in the game's logic -- it thinks it needs those mods present to run at all, and when it doesn't find them, it just gives up.

So How Do You Fix It?

 There are a few steps here, depending on when your crash occurred.

  • If you uninstalled the mods in question, you'll want to redownload them. Head to the Steam Workshop and take care of that.

  • The next step is to re-enable the mods. Obviously, you can't do so in-game because you can't get past the startup screen, but there is another way. Go to Documents/My Games and look for the "Binding of Isaac Afterbirth+ Mods" folder. Delete it.

  • Now relaunch the game. With the mods folder missing, the game will automatically redownload it, and will by default enable all of the mods. With the dependencies satisfied, the game shouldn't crash.

  • Finally, it's time to disable the mods for real this time. Before doing so, though, start a run as Isaac and die. Just enter the nearest room and run into enemies until your health is depleted. Supposedly, this resets the dependency, making it safe at last to disable the mods.

  • While disabling the mods, I recommend doing so one at a time (enter the menu, turn one off, and back out), just to be safe. The game may still crash here, but it should relaunch without further issue.

Hopefully, this short guide to The Binding of Isaac game crashing bug will be enough to get you back up and running -- and keep you from losing any progress in the game after you've installed any mods. 

Published Jun. 1st 2017

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