Cutesy farm life sim-o-RPG Stardew Valley today added cooperative multiplayer in a free update, letting farmers invite several of their pals to help out around the homestead. Multiplayer entered opt-in public beta testing at the end of April, and now it's finally ready to launch. Today's update, version 1.3, also brings new things for all farmers to enjoy, whether they play with farmfriends or solo. Look forward to a new winter festival, new items, new character events, the option to respec skills, new monsters, and--most important of all--hats for horses.
Stardew multiplayer lets one head farmer have up to three pals helping out on their farm, either online or over LAN. Farmhands get their on cabin on the farm, to decorate and build up as they please, and can have their own relationships with characters. The boss gets final say in some matters (when events start, mostly) but everyone's efforts go to the same cash pool.
Neatly, the Steam and GOG (through the GOG Galaxy client) versions support cross-platform play, letting Steamers and GOGheads play together.
As for newness everyone can enjoy, look for the floating market visiting for three days in winter, meet new monsters and find new treasure in the Skull Cavern, plant crops indoors with pots, decorate your farm with colourful new doodads, pay big bucks to respec your skills in a hidden spot, and take some of the work out of keeping livestock with new gizmos that can automatically milk and shear them.
Creator Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone goes over everything the update 1.3 patch notes. Well, most of it. And some of it vaguely. "I think it will be more fun to discover these things for yourself," he says.
Barone was behind the update's new content, while publishers Chucklefish got their hands dirty in Stardew's technoguts to add multiplayer.
While officially it only supports four-player co-op, mods in the beta did remove the player limit and cabin requirement (heck, modders even created unofficial multiplayer support before this). I imagine modders will work swiftly to update their creations after this full launch.
Jay Castello told us about the good times she had voice-chatting with pals while farming together during the beta:
"Without the level of concentration needed in other games, it allows for a calmer rhythm of conversation, interspersed with only the occasional cooperation needed to keep a farm running smoothly. But it also sets up a feel-good space where players aren't under pressure, with no concerns about winning or losing. Combine that with the inherent comedy of another human-controlled player sprinting into view, barging past NPCs, with a vegetable held triumphantly over their head, and it explains just how much (and how hard) I ended up laughing throughout the two in-game seasons I barrelled through."
Vegetables are a vital element of friendly banter.
Should you happen to be playing on console, for whatever reason, Barone does note that "the console versions of multiplayer are in development & coming soon."