Minecraft’s next major update will swell the survival sandbox’s roster of player characters to nine, in an effort to make the game more diverse and improve representation. Existing default picks Steve and Alex are going to be joined by seven new characters who reflect the wider world, although Mojang wouldn’t reveal any more about them ahead of today's Minecraft Live stream. Not even their names, alas. I was going to suggest Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub, but then realised that leaves one short. Gandalf, maybe?
Game director Agnes Larsson said the change was part of the update’s aim of self-expression through representation. Mojang are attempting to “make Minecraft Minecraftier” with 1.20, focusing on the creative pillars of the game to inspire players’ creativity. They’ll be doing this through that typical Minecraft update feature: more stuff. This time, though, some of it is intended to represent cultures beyond North America and Europe.
Mojang highlighted the new bamboo wood set and camel as representative of areas of the real-world that haven’t been well-served by the game up to now. Bamboo will incorporate multiple new building blocks, including doors, trapdoors, stairs and planks. There’ll also be a bamboo mosaic block, and crafting a boat from bamboo results in a raft instead. Larsson said rafts still have the same hitboxes as boats, and you’ll be able to fit chests and just as many people on them as a regular boat.
Camels live in desert villages, and they’ll have a two-player saddle. Larsson described camels as “extraordinarily cute and derpy”, partly thanks to their animated, floppy ears. The new mount moves a bit differently from horses, as camels can dash around. They’re also breedable, so expect to see l’il baby camels. Larsson said they didn’t spit, though.
Although Larsson revealed it’s unlikely there’s a new biome coming in the 1.20 update, there will be a few more additional goodies. One of these is the new chiselled bookshelf, which is a bona fide working bookshelf. Craft a chiselled bookshelf and you’ll be able to store up to six books on them. Using Redstone lets you turn them into doors for secret passages, too.
Also coming in the 1.20 update are hanging signs. These have three variants, and you’ll be able to craft them with all wood types. They won’t blow around, Larsson said, but you can hang multiple signs off each other in different directions.
We don’t have anything firm beyond a 2023 window for Minecraft 1.20’s release yet, but snapshots will be coming in a few weeks for the Java Edition. Details of how to join the beta for Bedrock should be shared at around the same time. I’ll let you know as and when Mojang share more about the update.