Chucklefish’s Stardew Valley, the casual farming simulator, has had a history of dedicated players, and it gained a lot of traction during its Steam Early Access run before its full release in 2016. One of the most requested things for Stardew Valley has been multiplayer capabilities, and back in August, plans to implement multiplayer into the game had already started. Now today, as revealed on Twitter, it appears quality assurance testing for multiplayer has begun.
Stardew Valley multiplayer is in QA and bugs are being fixed at a very good pace!
— ConcernedApe (@ConcernedApe) March 13, 2018
As stated back in August, a large chunk of the groundwork for multiplayer capabilities have already been completed, and the development team were going to focus on implementing farmhand cabins, UI and menus, events and festivals, multiplayer NPC relationships, and general polish, testing, and implementation. Over half a year has passed since then, and it can be inferred that since testing has begun, and there is a good testing pace, the V1.3 multiplayer release might not be that far off into the future.
Multiplayer will work by starting any game on Stardew Valley and talking to Robin, who will offer to build three cabins on the player’s farm. Each cabin will house a farmhand, which will be controlled by the player’s friend(s). While playing together, farmhands can do most things that the host can do: mine, fish, marry NPCs (and even marry other players), take part in festivals, etc. Each farmhand will also have an independent inventory that can be managed through a chest in their cabin, and it can be accessed even when the farmhand is not connected. However, “certain decisions can be made only by the main player: when to sleep, when to start and end festivals, or whether to side with Joja, for instance.” In addition, players will be able to easily invite others to a farm directly through Steam, and similar methods will be developed for non-Steam users as well. Unfortunately, local multiplayer, split-screen, and PvP are not planned at this time.
The upcoming Stardew Valley update will not solely be about multiplayer, however, as some single-player content is also being developed alongside this update. What that content is has not been stated at this time. The update will first arrive on the Steam and the Nintendo Switch, and the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions will receive the patch sometime afterwards. The update will be hefty, so it has stated that the patch will take a while to roll out onto each platform.