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Minecraft overhauling NPC villages, adding pandas

Big cuties

Along with announcing dungeon-crawling spin-off Minecraft: Dungeons, over the weekend Mojang laid out their plans for future additions to plain ol' Minecraft. The next major update is named 'Village & Pillage', and it'll make NPC villages more unique and interesting with new styles and daily routines, along with new enemies to pillage them. Also in the pipeline: pandas, cats, a crossbow, and an overhaul of the taiga biome.

First, the villagers. Villagers in each of Minecraft's biomes will have different skins, reflecting their climate and their individual professions, and their villages will be built with different materials in different architectural styles. It's a small touch but a nice one.

"We want the villagers to be more intelligent so they will have a schedule--going to work, going to a meeting point, stuff like that--and we are updating trading as well," Mojang's Agnes Larsson explained during a MineCon presentation.

But oh no, pillagers might spoil their fun. These miscreant NPCs will party up to raid NPC villages, accompanied by new 'Beast' monsters who'll stomp and smash things like crops. What a terrible creature. It'll be on players to step in and murder them real good.

To help with murders, players are getting a new weapon. The crossbow is a craftable ranged weapons which deals more damage but reloads slower, as is the way.

The Village & Pillage update is due to launch "early next year", though of course Java snapshot builds will introduce some bits before then.

Another smaller content update is due before then, mind, around end of this year. Cats are getting new skins and new behaviours, such as bringing "morning gifts". Bamboo scaffolding is coming to help build large things. And pandas are coming along to help consume any excess bamboo you might have.

Beyond all that, a fan vote decide that taiga should be the next Minecraft biome update, following the Update Aquatic. Desert and Savanna overhauls will follow later.

All this was announced during MineCon, Mojang's annual fan event. That has gone from a big real-world convention in one place to a livestreamed event with a few associated parties in a handful of Microsoft Stores around the world. You can see the relevant panel in this archived livestream:

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