The creator of Stardew Valley has temporarily set aside working on his next game in favour of making adding more free content to the much-beloved farm-o-craft-a-fight-y life sim RPG. Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone has been mighty secretive about his next game, not saying what it even is let alone when we might get to play it, so it remains in the nebulous future. Before he gets back to work in this mystery game, he plans to form a development team to keep Stardew updates rolling while he's occupied.
Barone recently started self-publishing Stardew Valley, parting ways with publishers Chucklefish for most versions (they're still handling the mobile and Switch editions). Barone largely made Stardew by himself, though Chucklefish did the heavy lifting for adding multiplayer after launch. Now he can do what he wants with Stardew, I suppose. Which is to make more of it.
"Now, I believe I've said in the past that I wanted to devote all my time to the new game, and I might not work on any new Stardew Valley content. Well, that's not exactly true," Barone explained in a blog post.
"While there have been times in the past where I felt burnt out, and maybe even said that I wanted to move on, I always find myself coming back to Stardew Valley. For one, I keep getting new ideas for ways to improve and expand upon the game. This world is so full of potential, I could probably work on it for the rest of my life. There's also such a wonderful community surrounding the game... and I like making you guys happy. I'm extremely grateful to all of you for supporting my work and creating this wonderful Stardew Valley community. I wouldn't be where I am today without you. And knowing that there’s still tons of people out there who love the game and would be extremely happy to get new content motivates me to keep working."
That's nice. So he's currently working on Stardew Valley update 1.4 by himself, another content update, and then he plans to form a team to do a lot of the work for future updates.
"My hope is that the new team will help take some of the workload off me, so I have enough breathing room to divide my time between my new game and Stardew Valley," he said. "I still plan on having a very active role in the future of Stardew Valley, and the originator of all major Stardew Valley decisions and content. And there are many aspects of development which I'll never be okay with handing over to another, like music or writing."
What even is this mystery new game? That would be telling.
"I've been deliberately secretive about it because I want to be able to work on it without any pressure for the time being," Barone said. "I also want to make sure the concept is fully realised before revealing anything, because once it's out there, I'm going to have to fully commit to it."
Making Stardew Valley took Barone four years of seventy-hour weeks so: 1) he may take a while; 2) hopefully Stardew's mega-success means he can afford to work at whichever pace he pleases.