Stardew Valley’s multiplayer update has been in the works over the last year and is expected to go into beta on Steam by the end of 2017.
In a post on the game’s website, the Chucklefish dev gave an update on what to expect from this new update.
The biggest addition to the game will be the farmhand feature, which will let the player recruit up to three friends as farmhands. They will live in cabins in the player’s farm and while the player will take the major decisions such as when to sleep or when to start and end festivals, whether to side with Joja or the townsfolk, the rest of the decisions will be up to them. They will be able to farm, mine, fish, fight, forage, marry NPCs and take part in festivals. Each player will have their own inventory, which can be managed by using the chest in their cabin when they are not connected.
One of the more interesting features to be added to the new update will be player-to-player marriage, which was heavily requested for. The devs are still working on how this will work, but it will be implemented into the update whatsoever.
Local multiplayer, split-screen and PVP options most probably will not be available.
Instead, the game will utilize the online invitation systems used by Steam and other platforms to connect friends in a game.
According to the Chucklefish dev, the effort so far has been focused on the biggest technical hurdle: synchronizing multiple games over the Internet. Almost every source file has been touched, and 15,000 lines of code have been rewritten since they are implementing multiplayer into a game which was originally created as a single-player.
The devs currently expect to be able to start a beta test at the end of the year for Steam users and then in early 2018, release it as the 1.3 patch on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Consoles will receive the update too, starting with Nintendo Switch and due to its size, the Stardew Valley multiplayer patch “will take a while to roll out” to each platform.