Interview: What's next for Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley Town

PCG: Is DLC or paid updates a possibility for Stardew Valley?

EB: It's possible. I mean, the game has been such a success that I don't necessarily need to do that. I won't say that I won't do that, I don't know, it's possible. It depends on how substantial of an update it is, I guess. If I added like a whole new thing that took a long time to develop, I might consider doing some kind of DLC or something like that. But at this point, I don't have any official plans to do anything like that and any ideas that I have right now would probably just be free updates.

I want everyone to have a perfect experience with Stardew Valley. It's super important to me.

PCG: Lastly on updates, you patched Stardew several times within the first three days of its launch. Why not take a break?

EB: I was talking before about a one-man indie project and why that's a little bit different, and I think this is the same thing. It's like all of that pressure is on me. If anything goes wrong, if anyone has a crash or a bug, I basically feel personally responsible for it and it weighs heavily on me. I want everyone to have a perfect experience with Stardew Valley—It's super important to me. So that's pretty much it. I mean, I was just really stressed out at launch hearing people say that this and this doesn't work, the game's crashing—I mean, it's not like it was super buggy or anything. I don’t want to say that, but there were some problems and I felt really personally responsible for it. So I just had to fix it as fast as possible, and there's still bugs I'm aware of and I'm working on another patch right now, which will hopefully be out either today or tomorrow.

PCG: But you were fixing people's corrupt save files manually. I think that goes above and beyond the call at that point

EB: Well, you know, it's like I said; I feel personally responsible for everything that goes wrong with the game, and I want to have a personal connection with the people who play my game. That's important to me, and so if that means fixing a random corrupt save file, well that's part of the whole thing.

Stardew Valley

PCG: The first Stardew Valley mods have already been created. Do you have any plans for official mod support, an API, Steam Workshop support, or anything like that?

EB: I'm definitely going to look into Steam Workshop support, it seems like a pretty good system for managing mods. I haven't really looked into it that much yet because I've just been so busy with fixing bugs and everything, but it's something I definitely am going to look into. I think that modding is really fun and can add a lot of life to the game. And personally I'm just excited to see what happens and to play these mods myself, because I've been playing the same game for four years now. I'm ready for some new content that I didn't develop myself, so I definitely will look into Steam Workshop support. I don’t know about an official modding API. It's possible, it kind of just depends on how much demand there is for it. The game seems already pretty moddable in its current state, so I'm not sure if that would be necessary.

PCG: What did you think of the easier fishing mod, and the general outcry towards fishing in the game?

EB: I personally really love the fishing mechanic. In fact, it's one of the things I'm most proud of in the entire game, so I'm not going to change it. I understand that it's difficult for some people, and I think that even if you find it difficult at first, if you keep trying I think anyone can master it eventually. So my suggestion is just keep practicing at it. It's kind of like with any sort of skill in real life. It's tough at first, but eventually you get better at it and I think that's kind of what is cool about the fishing mechanic in Stardew Valley. But if people want to mod it and make it easier, I'm fine with that too.

Stardew Valley is the kind of game where there's not much challenge. It's not easy to make challenge in the game—it's a very laid back relaxed game.

PCG: Personally I agree. The fact that it's not just an easy “click a button, catch a fish” minigame means you can make fish more valuable.

EB: Yeah, exactly. And Stardew Valley is the kind of game where there's not much challenge. It's not easy to make challenge in the game—it's a very laid back relaxed game, so it's like this is one area where there's a little bit of skill and challenge involved, and I think that's fun. There's definitely people who enjoy that sort of thing, I know I do. I wanted the game to have something for everyone and be open ended so you can do what you like in the game.

PCG: At what point did publisher Chucklefish come into the process, and did you approach them or did they approach you?

EB: They approached me, it was maybe two years ago. I had put it on Steam Greenlight, and I don't know how they heard about me but Finn, the director of Chucklefish, approached me and he asked me if I wanted to be published by them—And I was like a nobody at the time. No one knew about Stardew Valley. They were working on Starbound at the time, it hadn't come out yet. So it was a huge opportunity for someone like me. I wanted to be a success but I didn't really know how to get any exposure, to get people to know about my game. So I signed on with them and they've really helped me a lot in not only helping me promote the game, but also just a lot of behind the scenes kind of stuff. Hosting my website, helping me set up the official Stardew Valley wiki, just people that I can talk to and ask for advice because they've been through this sort of stuff in the past. It's just nice to have some people that are on your team that you can confide in and get support from.

PCG: And they didn't have any direct influence on the actual development, right?

EB: Yeah, they had none. None at all. They didn't interfere or try to interfere at all with any of the development of the game, and they pretty much left everything up to me. It's all “what do I want to do” and then they help me achieve that, and that's mostly not actually development stuff but more all the other stuff that's involved with developing a game. Business side and PR and all that stuff.

PCG: Finally, are there any secrets in the game that you haven't seen anyone find yet?

EB: Yes.

PCG: Yes?

EB: Yes.

PCG: And you're not going to tell me what that is, probably?

EB: No, I won’t tell you. [Laughs] I haven't told anyone.

PCG: Is it significant?

EB: It's not super significant, but it's kind of just so weird and obscure that I don't know if anyone will ever do it.

Thanks to Eric for chatting with us. For more on Stardew, check out our getting started tips and list of the best mods.

Tom Marks
Tom is PC Gamer’s Associate Editor. He enjoys platformers, puzzles and puzzle-platformers. He also enjoys talking about PC games, which he now no longer does alone. Tune in every Wednesday at 1pm Pacific on to see Tom host The PC Gamer Show.