Stardew Valley has sold over 1 million copies since its launch on February 26, 2016. Publisher Chucklefish Games confirmed the number to Polygon, putting the official total above what's listed on third-party Steam data tool Steamspy. In 2016, that puts Stardew Valley right under free-to-play survival titles like H1Z1 and ARK: Survival of the Fittest.
"It's been really exciting for us to help bring this game to people's attention and the success really couldn't have come to a more deserving person!" said a Chucklefish representative.
That person is Stardew Valley's lone developer, Eric Barone. Also known as ConcernedApe, Barone did everything in the game on his own, developing the game over the course of 4 years. Stardew Valley was made with a simple premise: find the core of the Harvest Moon games that publisher Natsume has lost.
"They lost touch with that magic that made the first few titles special," Barone told Vulture. "They had created these rich and special worlds that you could get lost in. The gameplay was very simple, but there was something kind of addictive about it: You wake up every morning, you check your farm, and you're excited by the simple beauty of your crops going from seed to harvestable product. There was something about that relaxed gameplay in this immersive, beautiful world that felt really special. It was touching in a certain way."
Barone has continued to improve the title since launch, fixing bugs and tweaking certain systems. The latest build of the game has some improvements to married life and lowers the penalties for dungeon diving in the game's mine. In fact, Barone hasn't really taken a break since the game launched in February.
"It's like all of that pressure is on me," Barone told PCGamer. "If anything goes wrong, if anyone has a crash or a bug, I basically feel personally responsible for it and it weighs heavily on me. I want everyone to have a perfect experience with Stardew Valley-It's super important to me."
Despite the workload, Barone is happy that fans have taken to the title.
"I'm very happy that so many people around the world are enjoying Stardew Valley," Barone told GamesBeat. "I just want to thank everyone for giving me this amazing opportunity. With the success of Stardew Valley, I'll be able to continue doing what I love ... making games. That's a priceless gift, and I'm very grateful for it. Thank you."