Stardew Valley

What is Stardew Valley?

Stardew Valley
Image Source: ConcernedApe

Stardew Valley is a simulation RPG indie video game developed by Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone. Initially, the game was released for Microsoft Windows in February 2016 and later was released for macOS, Linux, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, iOS, and Android users.

Barone developed the game on his own over the time of four years. It was tremendously inspired by the Harvest Moon video game series. Barone not only addressed some of the shortcomings of Harvest Moon but used the series as a base and opportunity to boost his programming and game designing skills. While the game was being developed, Chucklefish a London based video game designer and publisher approached and offered Barone to publish it which will allow Barone to focus heavily on the completion of the game. Stardew Valley was both commercial and critical success with selling over 10 million copies across multiple platforms by 2020.

Also Read: Stardew Valley Sprinkler

About

Stardew Valley starts with the player wanting to get away from the noisy life of the city and taking over his deceased grandfather’s dilapidated farm in a place known as Stardew Valley. This open-ended game allows the players to take on various activities such as cultivating crops, raising livestock, crafting goods, selling produce, mining for ores, and of course socializing with the folks in the town. Socializing with town folks means getting married and having children as well. The game allows you to play with three other players online together.

Equipped with a few coins and old tools player set to begin a new life. It will not be easy to depend upon these overgrown fields especially since the Joja Corporation came to town the old way of life is gone. Yet the Stardew Valley looks full of opportunities and with little hard work you may turn the tables around.

Gameplay

Stardew Valley is a farm simulation RPG game, heavily inspired by the Harvest Moon game series.

The game starts with the player creating their character who gets to inherit a piece of land and a small house that was once owned by grandparents in a small town named Pelican Town. The player may select from different farm layouts and maps with each one of them having pros and cons. The farm is overrun by trees, stumps, weeds, and boulders and the player must work hard to clear it and start farming, tending to crops and livestock to generate income and expand the farm’s building and facilities further.

Interacting with the town folks

Players can also interact with NPC or non-player characters living in the Pelican town, getting into relationships with these characters like marriage and having children. Such relationships result in the non-player characters helping the player to tend the farm and other activities.

Activities

Players can perform activities like crafting items, fishing, cooking, and exploring procedurally generated caves with ores and materials to mine or fight creatures within. Players can engage in various tasks to generate additional income, work at completing different bundles, special material collection for the community center of the town. Bundle completion rewards the players with seeds and tools which ultimately are helpful for farming. After completion of multiple bundles, players are granted access to new areas and game mechanics such as the desert. Activities are measures against the player’s health, exhaustion level, and game’s clock.

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In case the player becomes exhausted anywhere outside of his house, he will have to pay 10% of his gold up to 1000 G and will be returned to his house and his energy will be restored fully by the next morning. Activities and opportunities from the previous day will be gone due to exhaustion as well. If the player loses too much of his health, he will lose his energy and a certain amount of money and items.

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Game Calendar

The game uses a calendar consisting of only four months with 28 days each and one month represents one season. Every season determines which crops and activities are beneficial and useful. In later stages, the player can unlock and restore a greenhouse that can grow any crop regardless of the season. Character evaluation happens by the third year but there is no deadline when the game ends.

Game Development

Stardew Valley was created by Eric Barone who is an American Indie Game designer. Barone who was a graduate from the University of Washington Tacoma holding a computer science degree but couldn’t get a job in the industry started working in Paramount Theatre in Seattle as an usher. In the willingness to improve his computer skills for better employment prospects, he came across the idea of making a game. Being the native of the Pacific Northwest, Barone added many elements of the region into the game and art.

Early Stages

Initially, Barone thought to release the game on Xbox Live Indie Games due to comfort and ease of the platform but realized that the scope of the game became larger than he originally has thought it would be. The game was announced in September 2012 using Steam’s greenlight system just to anticipate interest in the game. After the green light period, he was approached by Chucklefish’s director Finn Brice who offered him to publish his game on release.

Finn took over many of his non-development tasks like hosting and setting up the wiki. Barone spent a good 4 years working hard on the project, redoing one part of the other many times to get the perfect outcome as he was the sole developer of Stardew Valley. It is said he used to work approximately 10 hours a day on this project, created all of the game’s pixel art, and composed all of the music as well on his own.

Close To Reality

Barone aimed to provide the player the feeling of involvement in a small farming community yet he also wanted Stardew Valley to be a fun game having real-world messages. Unlike Harvest Moon which ends after two years of in-game time, Barone kept Stardew Valley open-ended so the player would not feel hurried to finish whatever possible in the quickest possible manner. Barone also had this in his mind that some of the players would try to figure out mechanically how to maximize farm’s yield and profits through the spreadsheet and other tools but he also hoped that most of the players would take time to learn everything on their own during the gameplay. Due to this very reason he designed the cooking feature non-profitable intentionally. He also did not add butchering of farm animals for meat products, encouraging players to name them and tend to each one of them separately which ultimately will result in the player having feelings for his farm animals. Farm animals can not die but if not taken care of, stop producing anything.

Stardew Valley Release

Barone announced his intent to release the game only once it was complete and he refused to put his game in the Early Access Program or accept any pre-sale payments. The game was released for MS Windows on 26th Feb 2016. Barone continued to work on the game after the release, taking feedback from the community, fixing bugs and stated to have a plan to add additional features at later dates. He intended to add more and more content in the game to engage users for the best possible gaming experience. Barone initially planned to launch a four-player cooperative mode where four players will own a common farm and will tend to different tasks at the same time. For example, if one player is mining others will tend to farm animals or cooking activities.  The multiplayer beta was released for windows in April 2018 and officially launched for all computer platforms in August 2018. The multiplayer update was released for Nintendo Switch in Dec 2018.

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Stardew Valley Mobile Version Release

The iOS version of Stardew Valley was released on 24th October 2018 and the android version was released on 14th March 2019. Both versions have the ability for other platform users to transfer progress to their devices. Barone showed his desire to have a team of developers to help continue adding new features and content in the game. By the year 2019 all the versions of Stardew Valley, except mobile versions, were published by Barone. The game has an active modding feature where players can add various new features in the game. In December 2019, Stardew Valley was added to Tesla Arcade which is a game service most of the Tesla models are incorporated with.

Stardew Valley – Reception & Reviews

Stardew Valley received a very favorable reception and reviews overall. Jesse Singal wrote in the Boston Globe that the game was very compelling and beautifully crafted. He further wrote that the game provides its players with various activities of different sorts without having them to do repetitive tasks every day.

The creator of the Harvest Moon Series Yasuhiro Wada, which inspired Stardew Valley to much extent, stated that he was very content and excited about the game and it showed him that Harvest Moon was not a lost cause after all and it lived on in spirit. He also stated that the approach taken by Barone in Stardew Valley was able to retain the freedom he lost in Harvest moon’s later games because he focused immensely on graphics and animation rather than adding more content to engage the audience for a longer period.

Barone was included in the top 10 indie game developers for the year 2016 in Gamasutra mentioning he had single-handedly crafted something that had breathed life into a genre that was previously dominated by the Harvest Moon series. Forbes named Barone one of their 30 Under 30 people and commended his dedication towards making a chef-d’oeuvre such as Stardew Valley.

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Successful Brand

Stardew Valley was a successful brand with over 400,000 copies sold within two weeks of its launch. It went on to achieve “One Million Milestone” just in two months. One of the Valve reports says that Stardew Valley was one of the top 24 revenue generating games on Steam during the year 2016.

Stardew Valley got immense support from the gaming community even some players offer to get the games for those who could not afford to get it legally. By the end of the year, 2017 Stardew Valley had sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide across all the gaming platforms. For Nintendo Switch it was the most downloaded game in 2017 although it was released in late October of the same year. It generated more than one million USD in revenue on the Apple App Store. The latest research shows the game has sold over 10 million copies by January 2020.

Stardew Valley – Awards

With its huge success in the gaming community, Stardew Valley was nominated for several awards worldwide. Here are some famous award categories Stardew Valley was nominated for and it won a few of them as well.

YearAwardsAward CategoryResult





2016







Golden Joystick Awards


The Game Awards 2016
Game Developers Choice Awards
Independent Games Festival
SXSW Gaming Awards 2016

13th British Academy Games Awards
NAVGTR Awards

Best Indie Game
PC Game of the Year
Breakthrough Award
Best Independent Game
Best Debut
Seumas McNally Grand Prize
Most Promising New Intellectual Property
Best Game
Game, Simulation
Game of The Year
Original Light Mix Score, New IP


Nominated
Nominated
Won
Nominated
Nominated
Nominated
Nominated

Nominated
Won
Nominated
Nominated

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Stardew Valley?

Stardew Valley is a country life Role Playing Game, an indie video game designed for PC/MAC/Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Playstation VITA, Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android.

Who created Stardew Valley?

Stardew Valley is designed solely by Eric Barone under the Alias ConcernedApe and it was released on February 26th, 2016. For further updates and new content, Eric Barone coordinated with Chucklefish, Sickhead Games, and The Secret Police. Currently, Eric Barone is only working with Arthur for Stardew Valley updates.

Who Published Stardew Valley?

Stardew Valley was completely designed and published by ConcernedApe (Eric Barone) for PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Playstation Vita. Chucklefish helped Eric to publish the mobile version of the game.

How to play Stardew Valley?

The game starts with the player inheriting a piece of land in a beautiful valley called Stardew Valley. The player’s tasks include tending to farm, grow crops, trees, domesticated farm animals, and engage with Pelican Town’s people. The player can also perform various other activities like cooking, mining, fishing, and marrying someone of his choice from the Pelican Town.

How to end Stardew Valley?

Stardew Valley has no ending as it is an open-end RPG game. You can play as long as you like to play. The closest thing to an ending is when you get a perfect evaluation from your grandfather. At the start of 3rd year into the game, your grandfather’s ghost appears and gives you scores based on multiple categories. Yet you can keep on playing.

Do Animals die in Stardew Valley?

No, they don’t if fed properly. If you don’t feed them they will stop producing animal products unless feeding resumes.

Can you marry someone in Stardew Valley?

Yes, you can marry someone of your choice in Stardew Valley but for that, you have to raise their friendship level to 10 by giving them their favorite items as gifts. You can buy a bouquet from Pierre’s store and gift it to your love interest.

Can you divorce in Stardew Valley?

Yes, Farmers can divorce their spouses for a huge fee. For a whopping amount of 50K gold, a farmer can end his/her marriage with his/her partner without even consulting them. Isn’t it bittersweet?

Can you have kids in Stardew Valley?

You can notice kids in the game when you start the game. To have your kids you need to marry someone. To have kids, a couple needs to be happy and it means they should have at least 12 hearts. Once the baby is born, you will get to know the gender and you can name the baby as well.