Stardew Valley's new 1.5 update out today for PC, and it adds quite a lot of new stuff to the beloved farming and life sim. In one sense, though, you could say the biggest addition is a leaf taken right out of the Animal Crossing: New Horizons book.
There's a brand new farm that Stardew players can task themselves with tilling: the Beach Farm. According to Stardew creator Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone, it's "big, with good fishing and foraging opportunities, and the chance for [a] rare supply crate to wash up on shore." The beach's sandy soil isn't amenable to running sprinklers, so you'll have to go about keeping your crops watered in a more manual manner. For this reason, Barone suggests going with a different farm if you're new to Stardew.
Experienced players will have more controls over their experience in the 1.5 update (the "biggest update yet") than just being able to live their best island life. A new Advanced Game Options menu will let players try out different Community Center bundles and tweak the rewards found in mine chests, which could have a drastic impact on the way you get your farm going.
On top of that, there's a bunch of new additions, quality-of-life updates, and mod support—a few "prominent modders" in the Stardew scene got their hands on the patch early—thrown in with the update as well. Ever wanted to move your bed? You can! Want to change your character's gender? There's a way to that now as well—the full list of changes could be seen as containing spoilers when it comes to new items and secrets, but it's also just too long to go through in much detail here. There's new furniture, multiplayer tweaks, and bug fixes galore. I might've missed something about Willy's fish shop in there too.
As always, there's a bit of a lag time between Stardew Valley updates on PC and other platforms. Version 1.5 should come to consoles in early 2021 and mobile sometime after that.
Until then, it's anyone's guess as to whether the next ConcernedApe project we see will be more Stardew features or if one the "couple new projects" he teased earlier this year will make an appearance. One of those games is another 2D top-down game that's set in the Stardew world but isn't about farming—something to ponder while you tend to your new beach ranch.