Interview with Eric Barone, Creator of Stardew Valley

Hello everyone, it’s me Kristi! When Steam Greenlight first launched, I voted up games that peeked my interest. When I saw Stardew Valley, I was so exicited. Finally, a Harvest Moon like game on PC! So in the wee hours of the morning, I emailed the creator Eric Barone to see if I can interview him. He said yes so, let’s get started with the interview! 🙂

Question 1: To make the readers more familar with yourself, who are you?
My name is Eric but on the internet I usually go by ConcernedApe. I’m 24 years old. I grew up playing the SNES classics like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Earthbound, and of course, Harvest Moon. I also have fond memories of old PC games like King’s Quest and Hero’s Quest. When I was in high school I was mainly interested in making music and art. I played guitar in a couple of embarrassing bands and spent a lot of time making my own electronic music. I didn’t know it at the time, but I think those experiences are what really set me down the path to making my own video games.

Question 2: What is Stardew Valley exactly?
Stardew Valley is a “Country Life Simulator” with a lot of RPG elements. I like to say “Country Life” because I want to emphasize that the game is not only about farming but about a lot of other things too. If I ever achieve my grand vision for the game, farming will be just one of several different “professions” you could choose, and each one would be complex enough to be a whole game in itself. The overarching plot, though, is that you are living near a country town and making a new life for yourself while getting to know the locals.

Question 3: What program are you using to make the game?
Stardew Valley is written in C#, using the XNA framework. The graphics were made in Photoshop and Paint.NET, and the music/SFX with Propellerhead Reason.

Question 4: How much do you think the game will be once it’s released?
Probably around $10.

Question 5: Since the game is based off Harvest Moon, which was your favorite one?
Back to Nature, for Playstation. 😀 I even roleplayed as Basil on a Harvest Moon Minecraft server, lol. I also just want to say that while Stardew Valley is heavily influenced by Harvest Moon, my main goal is to add new and original features to the genre, eventually extending it well beyond a sole farming emphasis.

Question 6: Will Stardew Valley be on any other platforms besides Steam? (Example: Desura)
Yeah, I understand that my game will probably not get on Steam unless I release an alpha version and promote it like crazy, so I am focusing on getting an alpha released on Desura. Then I will continue to update the game in response to players’ feedback. Hopefully, if enough people like Stardew Valley they will help me spread the word and get it on Steam.
If Stardew Valley is a success, I would also like to eventually release it on Xbox. One of the nice things about the XNA framework is that it allows you to develop for PC and Xbox simultaneously, so you really don’t have to do much work if your game already runs on PC.
Question 7: What made you actually want to make your own game?
I love making video games because it allows me to do all the things I enjoy (making music, drawing, programming, and writing) and combine them into something that will hopefully be fun and memorable to others. There’s almost no limit to what you can create with a video game… It feels really liberating to know that. Video games still give me the wonderful feeling I had as a child, that you are peering into another world full of mysteries and possibilities… and If I could create such a world for others, one that really excites the imagination… I’d be very happy.
Question 8: For the final question, if the game becomes a huge success, can we expect more games from you? 🙂
Yes! I like to think of Stardew Valley as a “first step”… I’ve learned a lot about making games in the process, and I would love to apply what I’ve learned to grander and more wonderful things!
You can vote up Stardew Valley on Steam Greenlight. You can check out the site for the game which Eric will post updates for Stardew Valley. 🙂
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