Last month, I had the absolute pleasure of being in the same room as Eric Barone, creator of Stardew Valley, and Yasuhiro Wada, creator of the Harvest Moon series and the upcoming Birthdays the Beginning. The two developers had never met before, and came together to play each other's games for the first time, then chat—farm game maker to farm game maker.
Afterwards, I sat down with both of them to talk farming inspiration, Japanese releases on PC, and how making games has changed since the first Harvest Moon. You can watch the video above to hear that conversation.
When I spoke to Barone back in March, he told me Stardew Valley actually started out as a Harvest Moon clone to teach himself how to code in C#, before it slowly evolved into what it is today. Barone said he had "grown up spending countless hours playing Harvest Moon and [is] a huge Harvest Moon fan," but that he could never find a suitable substitute on PC. So he made his own.
Watching him meet Wada, the man who created his inspiration, was a fun moment. Both developers had such a clear respect for what the other had done. Though Wada and the Harvest Moon series are legendary at this point, Stardew Valley has now sold close to two million copies since its release in February, making it a massive success of its own.
Our conversation also revealed that Barone is facing some of the same struggles Wada faced with the original Harvest Moon 20 years ago. Localization can be time consuming and difficult for a small team. It was a limiting factor in Harvest Moon's early days (and resulted in some infamous translation goofs (opens in new tab)), and is a problem Barone is currently working through. The two developers also both found success around the age of 27, and Barone joked that he feels like he may be following in Wada's footsteps.
This meeting, along with our first face-to-face meeting as PAX West, reaffirmed my appreciation and amazement at how humble Barone has stayed in the face of overwhelming and unexpected success. He's truly a class act, and has continued to support what is already a great game. It also got me more excited than I expected to be for Wada's next game, Birthdays the Beginning—a god game that should feel right at home on PC, and has very little in common with Minecraft despite the deceptively similar graphics.