Celeste (video game)
|Developer(s)||Matt Makes Games|
|Publisher(s)||Matt Makes Games|
|Release||January 25, 2018|
Celeste is a platforming video game by Canadian video game developers Matt Thorson and Noel Berry, with art of the Brazilian Studio MiniBoss. The game was originally created as a prototype in four days during a game jam, and later expanded into a full release. Celeste was released in January 2018 on Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, and Linux.
Celeste is a platform game in which players control a girl named Madeline as she makes her way up a mountain while avoiding various deadly obstacles. Along with jumping and climbing up walls for a limited amount of time, Madeline has the ability to perform a mid-air dash in the eight cardinal and intercardinal directions. This move can only be performed once and must be replenished by either landing on the ground, hitting certain objects such as replenishing crystals, or moving to a new screen (although the player is granted a second dash later on in the game). Throughout each level, the player will encounter additional mechanics, such as springs that launch the player or feathers that allow brief flight, and deadly objects such as spikes which kill Madeline (returning her to the start of the section). Players can also access an Assist Mode, where they can change some attributes about the game's physics. Some of these include: infinite air-dashes, invincibility, or slowing the game's speed. Hidden throughout each level are optional strawberries, obtained through challenging platforming or puzzle solving sections, which slightly affect the game's ending depending on how many are collected. Additionally, there are cassette tapes which unlock harder "B-Side" variations of certain levels, and crystal hearts used to access post-game content. Beating all the B-Sides then unlocks the "C-Side" versions, which consists of very hard but short variations upon the levels. Upon clearing all "C-Sides", the player can access the Variants menu. The Variants menu allows players to change the game's physics in a way similar to the game's Assist Mode. Some of these "variant" settings include: speeding the game up, 360 degree dashing, and low friction to all flat surfaces. These settings serve to make the game either more challenging or more fun. The original Celeste Classic Pico-8 prototype can also be found as a hidden minigame.
A young woman named Madeline begins climbing Celeste Mountain, ignoring a warning from an old woman who lives there. After a short climb, Madeline camps out for the night and has a dream in which a dark reflection of herself, which she refers to as "Part of Me", breaks out of a mirror, attempts to stop Madeline from climbing the Mountain, first verbally and then by force.
Upon waking up, Madeline continues to an old hotel on the mountain, where the hotel's ghostly concierge, Mr. Oshiro, tries to persuade Madeline to stay. Madeline feels bad for him and tries to help him with his various problems, but becomes increasingly frustrated with his misguided attempts to get her to stay. This ultimately leads to Part of Madeline breaking out of one of the hotel's mirrors and creating an escape route for Madeline; however, she insults Mr. Oshiro in the process, leading him to angrily chase Madeline out of the hotel.
Later, Madeline meets up with Theo, another hiker who she had intermittently encountered along the way. As the two of them use an ancient gondola to cross a chasm, Part of Madeline appears and causes the gondola to stall, leading Madeline to have a panic attack until Theo calms her down. After the gondola starts up again and reaches its destination—an ancient temple—Theo decides to explore it against Madeline's wishes, leading first him and then her to become entrapped in the temple's mirrors. In the mirror realm, Madeline meets Part of Madeline, who denies any responsibility for the situation and leaves, forcing Madeline to rescue herself and Theo on her own.
After escaping from the temple, Madeline and Theo set up camp for the night. Madeline tells Theo about Part of Madeline and confides in him about her mental health issues. Upon falling asleep, she dreams of meeting Part of Madeline again and tells her that she represents everything she needs to leave behind; this angers Part of Madeline, who sends Madeline plummeting, leading her to awaken and fall down the mountain. At the base of the mountain, Madeline meets the old woman from the base of the mountain, who says that Part of Madeline might just be scared and suggests that Madeline should try just talking to her. Madeline takes this advice to heart and apologizes to Part of Madeline when she next meets her, offering to work together with Part of Madeline instead of pushing her away. Part of Madeline initially lashes out due to Madeline's former attitude towards her, but after Madeline wears her down, Part of Madeline ultimately relents, merging with Madeline. Together, the two work their way back up the mountain and finally reach the summit. They both view the climb as a transformative experience and vow to cooperate in the future.
One year later, Madeline receives a letter from the old woman, prompting her to return to the Mountain once again and continue investigating its many secrets.
Development and release
Noel Berry (Skytorn) and Matt Thorson (TowerFall) created a prototype of Celeste in four days during a game jam, now named Celeste Classic. The result was a difficult platformer with 30 levels for the Pico-8 fantasy video game console designed for speedrunning and precision reflexes. Kill Screen noted that the game was a departure from Thorson's TowerFall, and had more in common with the game mechanics of their older games and Super Mario Maker work. The developers also took inspiration from difficult, Super Nintendo-era platformers. Berry and Thorson developed the game into a standalone release with over 200 rooms spread between eight chapters. They livestreamed parts of their development process on Twitch. The game was also demoed at the 2016 PAX West Indie Megabooth. Celeste released on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, Linux and macOS on January 25, 2018. The original Pico-8 prototype is included in the game as an unlockable minigame. The game will eventually receive a limited collector's edition. On September 9, 2019, Chapter 9: Farewell was released, adding 100 new levels and 40 minutes of new music to the game. It was the last addition to the game, and no sequel to the game is planned, as the team members behind it plan to move to different game projects.
Destructoid's Kevin Mersereau called Celeste "An essential gaming experience," saying "For the first time in ages, I have absolutely nothing to complain about." Tom Marks from IGN praised the game's story, and the way it was blended with the gameplay, saying "I cared deeply about Madeline's struggle and empathized with her in a way I wasn't expecting."
The soundtrack of Celeste composed by Lena Raine and released by Materia Collective was highly praised by critics. An official piano sheet music book and accompanying piano album was announced and released on January 25, 2019 and a licensed lullaby album of jazz music based on the soundtrack, Prescription for Sleep: Celeste, was released in November 2018.
By the end of 2018, over 500,000 copies of the game had been sold.
|2018||National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards 2018||Original Light Mix Score, New IP||Nominated|||
|Independent Games Festival Awards||Excellence in Audio||Nominated|||
|Golden Joystick Awards||Best Indie Game||Nominated|||
|Ultimate Game of the Year||Nominated|
|The Game Awards 2018||Best Score/Music||Nominated|||
|Game of the Year||Nominated|
|Games for Impact||Won|
|Best Independent Game||Won|
|Gamers' Choice Awards||Fan Favorite Game||Nominated|||
|Fan Favorite Single Player Gaming Experience||Nominated|
|Fan Favorite Indie Game||Nominated|
|Australian Games Awards||Independent Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|2019||New York Game Awards||Big Apple Award for Best Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|Off Broadway Award for Best Indie Game||Nominated|
|22nd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards||Action Game of the Year||Won|||
|Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game||Won|
|National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards 2019||Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|Control Design, 2D or Limited 3D||Nominated|
|SXSW Gaming Awards||Excellence in Narrative||Nominated|||
|Matthew Crump Cultural Innovation Award||Won|
|Excellence in Musical Score||Nominated|
|Trending Game of the Year||Nominated|
|Video Game of the Year||Nominated|
|Game Developers Choice Awards||Best Audio||Won|||
|Game of the Year||Nominated|
|2019 G.A.N.G. Awards||Best Music for an Indie Game||Nominated|||
|G.A.N.G. / MAGFEST People's Choice Award||Won|
|15th British Academy Games Awards||Best Game||Nominated|||
|Game Beyond Entertainment||Nominated|
|Italian Video Game Awards||Game of the Year||Nominated|||
|Best Indie Game||Nominated|
|Game Beyond Entertainment||Nominated|
|ASCAP Composers' Choice Awards||2018 Video Game Score of the Year||Won|||
In other media
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Media related to Celeste (video game) at Wikimedia Commons