Over the last year, Chucklefish and developer Eric Barone have been at work on adding multiplayer to Stardew Valley. This is an insanely challenging process, but the pair feels they’re far enough along to reveal how, exactly, it’ll work.
First, multiplayer will come as a free update next year. The Nintendo Switch version of the game is slated to release this year, though a precise date hasn’t been announced. The Switch version will get multiplayer next year, too.
As for how it works? This is a cooperative, online adventure. Here’s the word from the developers.
Shortly after you begin the game, Robin will offer to build up to 3 cabins on your farm. Each cabin will house a farmhand, controlled by one of your friends.
Farmhands can do almost anything the main player can do. They can farm, mine, fight, fish, forage, marry NPCs and take part in festivals. Each player has their own inventory. When a farmhand is not connected, their inventory can be managed through a chest in their cabin.
Certain decisions can be made only by the main player: when to sleep, when to start and end festivals, and whether to side with Joja, for instance.
You won’t need to set up a server to run multiplayer. Friends can be invited onto the farm through Steam. The invite mechanism for non-Steam versions is TBD, but likely to be similar in most cases.
The developers note that they will make it possible for players to marry other players, and it will require a distinct level of effort.
They do not intend to offer local multiplayer, split-screen or PVP.
The developers indicate that they’ve had to touch every single piece of code to get this working, and they’re still a ways off.