Two months ago Klei Entertainment surprised fans with the announcement that Don’t Starve would be getting a multiplayer mode, cheekily called Don’t Starve Together. The developers finally managed to throw together a working prototype to internally playtest, and have shared the results with some footage and an extensive “fireside chat.”
The most obvious addition is that death (through starvation, spider attack, or any number of the other horrible ways you can perish in game) is no longer the end, but rather turns you into a ghost to help or torment the other players. As a ghost you can haunt objects, producing a variety of effects. In the demonstrated build this mostly meant setting things on fire, but the developers promise to turn that down and make the results more unpredictable. Haunting currently provides a small boost to your Humanity, which relates to your maximum health when you revive, whether through haunting a meat effigy or a living player building the new reviver item.
They managed to cram a whopping 15 players into a single, stable server, which makes it likely they’ll be able to exceed the initial estimate of 2-4 players. More players opens up possibilities for a much wider range of gameplay types, such as competing tribes or a sort of DayZ-style open world. With the current balance of haunting effects and the problem of the area surrounding the lone spawn point being effectively strip-mined early in the game, play mostly devolved into griefing. A lone, glimmer of hope came in the form of a friendly ghost using its faint, spectral light to protect a living companion against the nighttime grue onslaught. Despite (or perhaps because of) the chaos, everyone reported having a good time with the first test, and the developers are optimistic about moving forward.
In the next week the developers are planning to run a smaller playtest focused on cooperative survival. They have hired a new artist to work on unique ghosts for every character (instead of just using Abigail for everyone), and are aiming to bring a playable prototype to PAX in late August, with an alpha soon to follow.