Stardew Valley's 1.6 update was supposed to be a relatively small thing, intended primarily to make life easier for modders rather than approaching the size of the feature-packed 1.5 update that once seemed like it would be Stardew Valley's send-off. 1.6 has grown significantly in scope since then, to include things like "a major new festival," new late-game content, new items and crafting recipes, and support for eight-person multiplayer on Steam. But now creator Eric Barone has teased what is undoubtedly the most important part of the update, and it can be summed up in five words: "Hats on cats."
The tease was delivered with Barone's traditional Twitter simplicity: An image of two cats and two dogs, all festooned in various sorts of tasteful headgear. "Hats on cats (and dogs)," Barone wrote. And that's it.
Of course, that was all that was needed to set the hearts of Stardew fans aflutter. "This is the greatest moment in gaming history," facial6lock tweeted. Another, plain_cheeri0s, shared similar sentiments, tweeting, "This is life changing." And they weren't alone in that feeling: "Not to be dramatic but this just changed my life," vixella wrote.
Re-Logic vice president and Terraria game designer Whitney "Cenx" Spinks was actually inspired by the image to offer Barone a quid pro quo exchange. "If you DM me the release date for 1.6 I will tell you the release date for 1.4.5," she tweeted, referring to Terraria's upcoming 1.4.5 patch, which—in a very Stardew-like situation—will be the latest update to follow multiple previous "final" updates to the game.
Even the official Xbox account got in on the action.
Barone did not state explicitly that the pet headgear is for Stardew Valley, and a few people on Twitter asked whether this might be a tease for his next game, Haunted Chocolatier—he recently dropped a few images from that game too, and they understandably bear a similar visual vibe. But the animals in the images are clearly from Stardew Valley, and the general consensus is that this is part (the best part) of the 1.6 update.
Alas, Barone still hasn't even hinted at any kind of proper release date for the update. Hopefully if Cenx finds out, she'll let us know.