One of the most eagerly awaited features for the hit indie game Stardew Valley is the addition of co-op multiplayer, something which has been in the works for a long, long time. It’s taking a long time because, as Chucklefish write in a blog post detailing the multiplayer, “Retrofitting multiplayer into a game that didn’t have it originally is notoriously hard.”
Near the start of the game, Robin will offer to build cabins on your farm, up to a total of three, each of which will house a farmhand that’s controlled by another player. All four of you can farm, mine, fish, forage, marry NPCs and so own, with independent inventories – these can be managed by other players when someone is not connected.
However, it’s only the main player that can decide when to sleep, when festivals start and end, and a few other key parts to the game. It will be hosted peer to peer, it seems, with direct invitations through Steam on PC, and it’s online only with no current plans for local multiplayer, split-screen or PvP.
Another much requested feature is the ability to marry another player in the game, and Chucklefish like this idea to the point that they’re reworking the dating system so that it will take a similar amount of effort to woo a player as it would an NPC. The specifics are still being worked on, but if you’re going out with a Stardew fan, you’d best steel yourself for the inevitable in-game proposal.
Multiplayer will be coming to PC first, as a beta test towards the end of 2017 to help ensure that Chucklefish haven’t completely broken the game in the process of rewriting large parts of the game’s codebase. It will then be patched into the main branch across PC, Mac and Linux in 2018 before spreading to consoles. As announced earlier this year, it will be Nintendo Switch that gets multiplayer first on console, ahead of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.