The creator of Stardew Valley recently said in an interview that they weren’t sure if there would ever be another update for the game. While they do have two NPCs in mind as new marriage options, it’s a lot of work that they don’t have the time for right now because they’re busy working on another game. It makes sense. Once you’ve finished a project, you move on to work on the other. The thing is, Stardew Valley is a game that set the bar for how many updates an indie life simulator should get, and so far it’s been ahead of the pack. Now though, it looks like we’ve hit the end of the road, at least in an official capacity. But at what point should developers allow this to happen? And is it fine for Stardew Valley to be finally called finished?
Stardew Valley has had a tonne of updates that have added new quality of life features as well as big new adventures for players to embark on. It’s a life simulator, and it can take hundreds of hours to burn though if you want it to. The community adores it, and they’re always eager for more, but without offering updates as paid DLC, there’s no way the developer can recoup the cost of what they’re producing. The lifecycle of a product shows us that at some point, there’s no one left to sell to, even if that’s across multiple platforms. To earn more money, developers need to release more paid products.
Games like Spiritfarer are still getting their initial influx of free DLC, but at some point, that too will need to end. I think that’s fine, and it makes sense. To a degree, we should expect games to end after a certain amount of time, even if it is fun to come back for the new features in every update. The bottom line is that game developers often want to move on and work on something else. They want a new creative outlet, and sometimes that’s just something we have to live with. While we might be done with Stardew Valley, I think we’ve got a lot more to look forward to in the next game. That’s something we should all hold onto while enjoying Stardew Valley in the background.