Disney Dreamlight Valley gameplay trailer reveals a surprisingly grim magic kingdom

We got our first look at Disney Dreamlight Valley in May, when we called it "the perfect Stardew Valley/Animal Crossing life-sim hybrid." During today's Nintendo Direct livestream, we got a closer look at what's in store, along with a release date: September 6, 2022.

The basics of the game were covered in the May reveal—The Forgetting has overtaken the once-idyllic Dreamlight Valley, stealing memories and magic alike and leaving the place and its inhabitants gloomy and crumbling—but it seems much more viscerally grim in this new trailer. Scrooge McDuck looks like he's attending the funeral of his last living army buddy, while Mickey has the bearing of someone who just got his ass kicked in the Dairy Freeze parking lot. I'm not a big Disney guy, but it's weird seeing the Magic Kingdom looking so run down.

It's not full-on grimdark, of course, and the valley isn't destined to remain in this sorry state. Players will roam the land from a third-person perspective, interacting with all sorts of different characters—good and bad—while completing quests, snapping selfies, going fishing, cooking, dressing up, making friends, and doing all sorts of other family-friendly Disney style activities. The Valley might be in a rough state in places but it looks like there's still fun to be found and plenty to do.

Dreamlight Valley is set to launch into early access on September 6, which might seem a bit odd for a Disney game—Disney and Gameloft hardly need presale money to finish development, after all. But Gameloft said the goal is to ensure it nails "the artistic vision and conceit of the game," and that "all players feel included and represented." The plan is to keep Dreamlight Valley in early access until sometime in 2023; an exact date hasn't been set, but the current expectation is that the early access period will last for at least six months.

Disney Dreamlight Valley will be available on PC via Steam, the Epic Games Store, and the Microsoft Store. For more information on long-term plans, platforms, and a Dreamlight Valley FAQ, check out disneydreamlightvalley.com.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.