Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone is channeling his inner farmer as he works from dawn 'til dusk to improve his hit farming sim, Stardew Valley. The Harvest Moon-inspired game garnered positive reviews and a large fanbase when it hit Steam earlier this year thanks to its charismatic cast and satisfying gameplay.
What's next for Stardew Valley, its denizens, and its animals? Console ports! More content! More marriage prospects! More! More! More!
In a blog post he made on May 1, Barone admitted he's been going non-stop with bug fixes and patches for Stardew Valley. Now that he has things under control, he's planning out a major content update. He's also planning to take consoles down to the farm.
Version 1.1 of Stardew Valley will feature new crops, new artisan goods, new farm buildings (and the ability to move them -- take that, real life), more NPC events, and more marriage content for spouses. In fact, version 1.1 will also let you woo two other characters: Emily, the blue-haired waitress at the Stardrop Saloon, and Shane, the perpetually gruff JojaMart employee.
Barone has a lot of work ahead, which is why he's getting Chucklefish to handle the more technical side of future updates. While Barone manages content, the London-based developer / publisher will handle porting Stardew Valley to consoles (as well as Mac and Linux), and will localize the game for languages outside of English.
Barone isn't sure when Stardew Valley version 1.1 will be ready to go, but those of us who've fallen hard for the farming game will just have to be patient. Surely it'll be worth it for the chance to court Shane, marry him, and have him steal pizzas from JojaMart's storage area as a daily declaration of his love.
The Stardew Valley update will also contain more late-game content, which is good to hear. One of the biggest weaknesses in life-sim games like Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley is the tendency for the experience to fall into a rut once you've made a comfortable amount of money. Late-game challenges are a good way to make it worth your avatar's while to get out of bed. More areas to explore would be a welcome late-game addition, as would more opportunities for combat.
Even if you're not a fan of Stardew Valley, the news about version 1.1 is good news for the industry at large. We've become so cynical about downloadable content, patches, and upgrades (not without reason) that it's easy to forget how a game like the original Harvest Moon for the SNES could benefit hugely from DLC.
When you play a game on an SNES cart, everything you can do, every task you can complete, every character you can meet is sealed forever in that bit of plastic. By contrast, thanks to online connectivity, Stardew Valley will continue to grow and evolve like the virtual town it's meant to be.