With the free Stardew Valley 1.4 update now available on Xbox One, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a little about its unique development history.
I started working on what would become Stardew Valley in the Fall of 2011. I had never released a game before, had no connections in the video game world, and only had an amateur level of art, music, and programming experience. Originally, the game was intended as a programming exercise… I wanted to hone my skills so I could get an entry level programming job. My idea was to create a very simple farming game in the style of Harvest Moon, a series I grew up playing and had very fond memories of. I figured it would take me about six months, and then I’d release it on the Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace and move on… boy, was I wrong!
Over the course of the next 4.5 years, my small project (originally called Sprout Valley) escalated into something much bigger than I had ever imagined. As a 100% solo developer, I was responsible for every single aspect of the game, from coding, to art, music, sound, and writing. While it was a lot of work for one person, I loved having complete creative control over the project, and being able to work on a variety of disciplines kept me from getting bored or burnt out. If I got tired of programming, I’d make music for a while… and when I got sick of that, I’d work on art.
Over time, my skills improved in all areas of game development. I actually had a finished product ready about a year after I started… but by that time, I had improved my skills at art, music and game design to the point where I was very unhappy with the game and wanted to re-do everything. I ended up re-doing the game several times–at some points completely redrawing all the art in the game–before I was happy with it (I’m still not perfectly happy, that’s partly why I keep wanting to make updates). Up until a couple months before release, no one else had even played the game… so I wasn’t sure if it was even fun!
However, the game was very well received at launch, and quickly became a big hit. Stardew Valley has now gone on to be translated into 11 languages and has sold over 10 million copies across all platforms. It’s been truly amazing how far this game has come… the Stardew Valley community and the game itself have grown so much since the original 1.0 launch, and it’s truly been the greatest thing in my life. It’s a great pleasure to bring the 1.4 update to Xbox One and to share it with you.
Xbox will always have a special place in my heart, since it’s the platform I originally intended to release Stardew Valley on. The new update should make your experience the best it’s ever been, and I really hope you enjoy it!
As always, thanks for reading and thanks for playing Stardew Valley!