a screen shot of Stardew Valley

It sounds like development on the next major update for Stardew Valley is moving along smoothly, with a beta for the fresh single player and multiplayer content scheduled for later this year.

Over on the Stardew Valley developer blog, Eric Barone (AKA ConcernedApe), has offered an update on the 1.3 update which, along with oodles of single player content. According to Barone, fans should expect to see a beta for the latter roll out sometime this spring. Hopefully that means dedicated players will be farming together sometime this summer or fall.

The update begins with a shoutout to Tom Coxon, of Chucklefish fame, who has been handling all of the network coding to make sure Stardew Valley runs smoothly as a multiplayer game. The original game was basically a one-man show for Barone, but this kind of an update required him to finally enlist some help.

The great news is that the main work is apparently finished. Eric Barone said that the new features are done. and the text has already been sent off for translating into the game's various languages. In the meantime, bugs are being squashed in preparation for the upcoming multiplayer beta. Once in-house quality assurance is done for the single and multiplayer content, Barone said the team will be opening the game up for a public beta. With a "spring" launch window for that final testing phase, it sounds like folks can expect to dive into the new content sometime in the next few months.

Eric Barone said more details about the 1.3 update will be provided as the launch draws closer, including information about what exactly players can expect on both the single and multiplayer side of things. He provided the above image to show off the new signs within the game, which should make things a heck of a lot easier for players to organize. Otherwise, we're not too sure just yet about what we can expect outside of new features, and that highly-anticipated multiplayer mode.

The idea that players will have an opportunity to farm and live life in Stardew Valley together is pretty exciting. The game is already extremely robust in the single player department, but we can't help but think about how much more fun it will be to play alongside some friends. Maybe one player can chop wood while the other takes care of some mining. Watering will go twice as fast and use up half as much energy with a friend at your side. Trying to catch a specific fish? Multiplayer should cut that task in half.

More importantly, we're excited by the idea of building an in-game world with friends. Stardew Valley as always been about the player finding their place within a community, so getting to build an actual community within the game sounds like a natural fit.

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