ConcernedApe is working on another game set in Stardew Valley, but it's not a farming sim

By Heidi Nicholas,
Eric Barone, ConcernedApe and creator of indie sensation Stardew Valley, is working on several new projects linked to the Stardew Valley universe. Barone was asked on Twitter about his plans, if any, for more games set in the same universe, to which he answered that there will in fact be two: one is set in the same world, but isn't a farming game, and another, which will "tie into Stardew Valley in some way".

This isn't the first time we've heard about Barone's plans for future games, nor even that it'll be set in the Stardew Valley universe; he actually started talking about it several years ago. But this is the first time we do have any info on what sort of game it'll be; or, more significantly, what it isn't: a farming game. There's a lot to do in Stardew Valley besides farming; fishing, foraging, mining, building relationships, designing a home, exploring the caverns, and a lot more. Barone is constantly adding to the list of what players can do. But the game's identity revolves around the farm that you, the player, inherit from your grandpa. You're new to Stardew Valley, and have to establish yourself in the area and with its residents, but everyone knows you as the new farmer. It'll be quite the change to have a game set in the Stardew Valley world where you're something other than that.

Barone isn't going in to much detail yet on what players will be doing instead; he's said, as far back as 2018, that he's "been deliberately secretive about it because I want to be able to work on it without any pressure for the time being. I also want to make sure the concept is fully realized before revealing anything, because once it’s out there, I’m going to have to fully commit to it. I’m a pretty cautious person when it comes to this sort of thing", he adds. Given how much Stardew Valley has blown up in popularity since it came out — just this year, Barone announced that the game had sold over 10 million copies — it's understandable he wants to keep details to himself, especially since he didn't have anywhere near this level of scrutiny when creating Stardew Valley. Indeed, in a pair of follow up tweets, he asked for players not to get too excited yet. "I'd like to just make whatever game comes naturally to me without too much pressure or expectation", he said. "I'm not setting out to make the next indie smash hit, I just want to make another game that I enjoy and am happy with. And to share some of my art & ideas with the world. If it becomes popular, I will be happy, but it's not my focus".

Stardew Valley

The circumstances are different, however, than when he made Stardew Valley. For one thing, he's now working with other people. In the past, he's said that he might not add more new content into Stardew Valley so that he can put all of his focus into his new game. But he seems to have changed his mind, saying, "I always find myself coming back to Stardew Valley. For one, I keep getting new ideas for ways to improve and expand upon the game. This world is so full of potential, I could probably work on it for the rest of my life." He went on to confirm he'd keep adding new content, and that the new game was actually "on the back-burner" whilst he worked on more Stardew Valley content — namely, the huge free update released at the end of last year. In 2018, he also announced his decision to form a team to help so that he could work on both Stardew Valley and his new project, and that whilst Update 1.4 would be a solo thing, they'd join him afterwards to help. At the end of last year, Barone said that the team would help him bring more in each update than he could do alone, but that he was still working on his unannounced project by himself.

It sounds as though the team are proving very helpful, if Barone is now talking about "a couple of new projects" instead of one. Everything still seems to be in the very early stages, but it looks as though we could be seeing some new Stardew Valley spin-offs in the future — one in the same world, but not a farming game, and one which will "tie into" Stardew Valley. What do you think the first could be, if not a farming sim? Let us know in the comments!
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Hey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!