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Major 'Stardew Valley' update adds new maps, buildings, and divorce options

next stardew valley update allows players to get digitally divorced stardew11
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Indie developer ConcernedApe charts a number of major changes and additions coming to its farmlife simulation game Stardew Valley with its next update, including new starting farms, construction options, and marriage candidates.

Returning farmers who have grown tired of their in-game marriages will also be able to annul their vows in the next update, making Stardew Valley one of the very few video games that allows players to file for virtual divorce.

Released earlier this year for Windows PCs, Stardew Valley is a farming simulation RPG that takes its gameplay cues from Natsume’s Harvest Moon series. Challenging players to restore a dilapidated farm to its former glory, Stardew Valley allows virtual farmers to raise livestock, befriend townsfolk, and eventually marry one of several available bachelors or bachelorettes over the course of their agricultural journey.

After installing Stardew Valley‘s next patch, players will be able to choose their starting farm, giving them a greater number of options at the game’s outset. Fans of Stardew Valley‘s fishing mechanics, for instance, will want to check out the new Riverland Farm, which features a number of lakes and rivers filled with aquatic wildlife.

The new Forest Farm offers more foraging opportunities, while the Hill-top Farm lets players focus on mining valuable ores. Players looking for a challenge will want to try their luck with the new Wilderness Farm, which spawns dangerous creatures like bats and golems when night falls.

Marriage is another central mechanic in Stardew Valley, and players will be able to date villagers Shane and Emily starting with the next update. In-game spouses will also offer additional in-game events and bonuses as an incentive for pursuing marriage, while players who have grown distant from their virtual wives and husbands will soon be able to file for divorce.

Other features premiering in Stardew Valley‘s next update include new shed and mill buildings, new locations and warp totems, and a new quest arc that adds magical construction options when completed. Hardcore players who complete the “Journey of the Prairie King” storyline will also be given the option to reattempt the quest at a higher difficulty level while retaining their previously earned coins and upgrades.

Stardew Valley players can get an early look at the upcoming patch’s new features and improvements by signing up for its beta branch via Steam. A public release date for Stardew Valley version 1.1 is not yet known.

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Danny Cowan
Danny’s passion for video games was ignited upon his first encounter with Nintendo’s Duck Hunt, and years later, he still…
Fae Farm is an approachable Stardew Valley riff lacking in personality
Farming in Fae Farm

I’ve played several farming and life sim games since I fell in love with Stardew Valley in 2017, but nothing has been able to live up to that game. In the past, I’ve attributed these shortcomings to things like slow-paced openings or mechanics that lag behind what Stardew Valley offers. But after playing through the first season in Fae Farm, Dauntless developer Phoenix Labs’ new cozy farming game, I finally recognize the real problem with most of these Stardew Valley clones: a lack of distinct, charming characters full of personality. 
Fae Farm is a game designed for ease of use to a fault. It’s a very approachable farming sim game that recognizes the cozy appeal of living in a virtual town and tending to a farm on a daily basis. And while all of the genre’s mechanical rough edges are smoothed out, so is a lot of the personality. Because of that, I’m left focusing on the fact that this is a genre where games can get too repetitive very fast if you aren’t fully invested.
Characters not different enough
In Fae Farm, players show up on the island of Azoria and start tending to a farm there, completing quests for the townsfolk and eventually diving into dungeons for some light combat and resource gathering. It’s nothing wildly ambitious for the genre, but it feels great to play. Fae Farm will automatically equip whatever tool needs to be used for a situation, which pairs well with the tool improvements that allow players to cover greater swaths of land with their abilities.
There’s even a deeper amount of home and farm customization that feels more similar to Animal Crossing: New Horizons than Stardew Valley here. At first, I loved all of this. I’m all for games being more approachable, and the mechanics and enjoyment held up when I played a bit of the game’s multiplayer with someone else. The more time I spent with the game, though, the more its main shortcomings showed.

While the early missions of Fae Farm bring players around Azoria to introduce a cast of characters, none of them look or speak in very unique ways. Whereas characters like Abigail and Leah felt distinct from each other the first time I met them in Stardew Valley, few Fae Farm characters feel like anything more than vendors or quest givers. Even if this improves a bit as I play more, the fact that I’m already running into repeated quips from characters and anecdotal lines shared between different people isn’t a good sign.
While I could initially ignore Fae Farm’s lack of character and charm, the more I played, the more it felt like I was just filling out a checklist. I’d collect the resources, craft what I needed to process those resources, and then use those resources to craft more things and repeat the cycle. The world feels welcoming and charming, but everyone who lives in it failed to leave any impression. That means that Fae Farm’s repetitive gameplay loop lacks enough personality to make it feel distinct, which in turn leaves a game full of checklist-based quests and systems that don't provide many challenges.
As a result, some of the more repetitious aspects of farming and life sim games are exposed here. That's not to say that being repetitive is inherently negative; if you have a solid core gameplay loop, you can get a lot of mileage out of recontextualizing it. Stardew Valley has more nuanced and engaging stories and characters on top of its repetitive mechanic. Fae Farm lacks that extra layer and it sticks out in the current farming landscape because of it.

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Stardew Valley’s influence on gaming is only becoming stronger
stardew valley influence nintendo direct mini partner showcase farming

While Overwatch may have won many Game of the Year awards in 2016, Stardew Valley is the game from that year that’s stood the test of time the best. The original Harvest Moon may have established the farming and life simulation genre, but Stardew Valley’s enthralling gameplay and immersive world ensured that it would be the modern standard that every subsequent game in its genre -- even new Harvest Moon and Story of Seasons games -- try to live up to.
That was particularly obvious during the latest Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase, where Nintendo and its third-party partners showed off three games reminiscent of Stardew Valley. The game's influence can be seen in countless indie games that have come out since 2016, and we’re starting to see more major companies take on this farming and life simulation genre. June 28’s Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase affirms that Stardew Valley stands up there with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild as one of the most influential games of the last decade.
Nintendo Direct Mini: Partner Showcase | 6.28.2022
Why Stardew Valley succeeds
As a love letter to Harvest Moon almost entirely created by one person, Stardew Valley was a pleasant surprise when it launched on PC in 2016. It felt like the pinnacle of the life simulation genre as it constantly gave players farming, crafting, or relationship objectives to work toward. Not only were the farming elements very polished, but the game also had a very memorable cast of characters.
Players stick around in games of this genre for quite a while, so the townsfolk have to all be compelling characters that you want to constantly talk to, learn more about, and potentially marry. Every character in Stardew Valley has a strong backstory, believable dialogue, and memorable designs. The farming simulation elements of Stardew Valley are enjoyable and genre-defining, but its lovingly crafted world is what ensures you’d stick around.

While Stardew Valley got rave reviews at launch in February 2016, it never felt like appreciation for it fully sank that year. Most 2016 Game of the Year awards went to titles like Overwatch or Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Those were great games but not nearly as influential in the long run. As Stardew Valley came to more platforms, love for it grew, and developers took notice of all its fantastic ideas. As a result, we’re now seeing how influential this surprise indie darling turned out to be.
Nintendo Direct Mini factor
Just as many people noticed Geoff Keighley’s Summer Game Fest Kickoff livestream had a lot of games that looked like Dead Space, this June 28 Nintendo Direct Mini Partner Showcase featured three games that are clearly inspired by Stardew Valley: Disney Dreamlight Valley, Harvestella, and Doraemon Story of Seasons: Friends of the Great Kingdom. Disney Dreamlight Valley from Gameloft and Disney seems to hone in on the memorable character aspect of Stardew Valley, as the game’s main hook will be interacting with iconic Disney characters. That said, there will be plenty of gardening, town-building, and character customization to engage with. 

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Stardew Valley creator gains self-publishing rights
A farm in Stardew Valley.

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone has announced plans to self-publish the country-life RPG on all platforms, starting with Android. The announcement comes straight from the creator's Twitter page following the announcement of developer Chucklefish returning the final Stardew Valley publishing rights to ConcernedApe.

Stardew Valley Trailer

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