Stardew Valley developer Chucklefish is hard at work on the game's multiplayer and has provided an update on what players can expect. They can farm, mine, fish, forage, marry NPCs and take part in festivals. "It's an idea we like a lot, and want to make that available as a feature", explained publisher Chucklefish in a blog post.
"Farmhands can do nearly anything the main player can do", the post explains. Player-to-player marriage won't use the mermaid pendant, but rather an alternative method that requires a similar amount of effort to wooing an NPC. The main player is the one who determines when a day ends via sleeping, when festivals begin, and whether that game will side with the community center or Joja Mart. We're still working out what that will be.
In anticipation of the release, a beta is scheduled for later this year. Each individual character on the farm will have their own inventory, but when a farmhand isn't online their inventory can be accessed through a special chest in their cabin.
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Players will even be able to marry each other, although the specifics of how that will play out are still being worked out.
The work so far has been focused on the "biggest technical hurdle" of synchronizing multiple games over the internet, and it has apparently been a huge job: Chucklefish said that 15,000 lines of code have been rewritten, and nearly every source file has been impacted. Only online multiplayer is planned, and local, PvP, and split-screen are not now being considered.
A beta test will be run for Steam users toward the end of the year, followed by the official 1.3 patch for PC, Mac, and Linux early next year. Console versions of the games will also get the multiplayer patch in 2018, with the Nintendo Switch being the first system to offer co-op.