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Four Things A Stardew Valley Sequel Should Have
Stardew Valley: The Sequel?
Three weeks ago a family member was hospitalized and almost didn't make it. I found myself at my best friends house playing games and trying to take my mind off things. As I was, her boyfriend looked over and asked if I’d played Stardew Valley. Answering “no”, he asked for my email and within seconds I’d received a Stardew Valley as a gift on Steam. Little did I realize how involved I would get into the game (spoiler: over 40 hours in less than 3 weeks).
Now that I’ve had time to rummage my way through Stardew Valley, I can say that I understand the hype it received. The game was created by a single person, Eric Barone (ConceredApe), and released in February 2016 to critical acclaim. Similar to the Harvest Moon games, it tells the story of a young man or woman who inherits a farm from their grandfather. They journey there and tend to the farm, all while engaging with the locals and uncovering a mystery or two.
Playing through the game, I admit there are a few things I wish were present in the game. Overall Stardew Valley is a fantastic game and a must-play if you like simulation games. Since the game was made by only one person, there’s plenty of things that didn’t get put into the game (for obvious reasons). That being said, anything listed is not a criticism of the games creation, but rather things that would make a sequel more engaging without feeling like the same game all over again.
Note: There is no planed sequel for Stardew Valley, but the creator did release a new game called Starbound. It takes place on the same planet, but it is not a direct sequel. I have also done my best to avoid huge spoilers, but be advised some game aspects might be alluded to in this article.
More NPC Characters and Character Depth
Stardew Valley has a decent amount of NPC characters, including 5 men and 5 women you can choose to marry. The members of Stardew Valley range, without spoilers, to a carpenter, goth, teacher and blacksmith. Compared to some games I’ve played in the farming simulation genre, the cast is larger. That being said, and this is a vent I have with many games, the NPC number is inaccurate. How is this town able to run with so few people? There’s not even a bank! I get that this is a middle of nowhere town, but having come from one, this is ridiculously small.
Then there’s character depth. I was hugely disappointed with the romance cutscenes I had with Sebastian (the nerdy, goth programmer). It felt rushed and the dialogue started repeating fairly quickly. I wanted to learn more about the characters themselves, but everyone felt very one dimensional. Heck, your dad doesn't even come to your wedding (spoiler?)
Again, this game was developed over four years by a single person, so there are things that had less focus. Characters is an understandable exception since its not the core of the gameplay. With a sequel, hopefully character development could be expanded upon.
More to Explore
The map in Stardew Valley is impressive and it does take a while to unlock everything. That being said, once you do unlock everything, it feels that it happened too quickly. By summer of the second year, I found myself wishing there was something more to unlock, especially since its shown that the main character worked in a large city and you can ride with Sebastian during a cutscene to see another city. Some ideas of things players could explore would be;
- Nearby forest
- Nearby town or city
- Another ‘dungeon’
The idea of exploring a city would be particularly interesting since the game shows the outline of a large city. The main character does move from a large city and it’s only natural that they would want to return to friends and family in the city, or just pop into a coffee shop for old times sake.
More Decor & Items. A new Shop?
This is a simple one, but having more things to decorate your home with would be nice. A addition of general items like books would be fun as it would include things you could give to NPCs in the game. Personally I found myself disappointed in the lack of things you can decorate your home with in terms of items as well as flooring and wallpaper.
An extra shop would also be a good way to tie them all together. A general store is likely to include things like books, rugs, wallpaper etc, moreso than JoJo Mart or Pierre’s store. Making it possible too for players to buy equipment or items they otherwise would have to forge could also be an option, although it would potentially take away the appeal of crafting from the game. Maybe just new items and a coffee shop would be good!
Hiring Part-time Help
All that work on the farm, from raising animals to caring for crops, wears on you after awhile. I wished there was an option to hire someone to do it for me multiple times, so that I could wander off and do my own errands. Sadly, much like work, we can’t pay someone part of what we make in order to do our own things and Stardew Valley encompasses that.
That being said, as someone who grew up on a farm and in a farming community, hiring someone to help with farm chores isn’t uncommon. It’s a lot of work and you do need the help on occasion. In a sequel, if there was an option to hire someone to help out for a few hours, I would gladly pay! Granted your spouse can help you with some work…they only do it occasionally and you need someone to see it to completion everyday…not when the mood strikes.
Those are my top four suggestions for a Stardew Valley sequel, should one ever happen. Again, Stardew Valley is a well done game, especially considering it is the brainchild of a single person. Maybe someday we will see a sequel with a new story and features. Until then, you can easily sink around 100 hours into Stardew Valley and not unlock everything. It takes time for a farm to grow and develop, just like in real life. Hm, points for accuracy Stardew Valley, points for accuracy.