30 million copies later, Stardew Valley creator says “I’m just a dude who made a game” and still spends “all day hunched over the computer”

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone, who goes by ConcernedApe online, says the iconic farming sim’s near-unparalleled success hasn’t changed how he views himself or ultimately lives his life. 

In an interview with Aftermath, Barone casually remarks, “I’m just a dude that made a game,” seemingly dodging the pedestal the game’s fandom sometimes gives him. Unpacking the game’s runaway popularity, he adds: 

“I was just making the game I wanted to play. What I would say is, I was tapping into a certain zeitgeist that I wasn’t aware of, or conscious of, but I wasn’t the only one who was feeling that way. We wanted to play games that were a little bit different. … I think if I hadn’t done it, someone else probably would have in a similar timeframe.” 

Success hasn’t dramatically altered his day-to-day life, either. Barone stresses that he feels a level of responsibility toward Stardew Valley and the community it has cultivated, and intentionally maintains a hands-on approach to solving issues and preventing fan disappointment, but his lifestyle hasn’t shifted to some rockstar extreme after selling over 30 million copies. He tells Aftermath that he never really did or bought anything “extravagant,” and as he plugs away at Stardew Valley update 1.6 follow-ups, says “I still spend all day hunched over the computer.”

“My goal in life isn’t about making money,” Barone adds. “I want to create things and share them with the world. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what I’m doing. That’s what I will do, regardless of any other circumstances, as long as I can financially support myself to be able to do that. If I couldn’t, I would get a job and spend my free time creating stuff to try to get back to doing that.”

Stardew Valley continues to inspire other games, now seemingly including a new wave of idle farming sims like Rusty’s Retirement. The game is still actively and heavily updated, too, with Barone still powerless to stop himself from adding more and more features into once-modest patches like update 1.6. The Stardew Valley 1.6 patch notes ended up being over 500 changes long, after all.

Barone is “eager” to get back to working on Haunted Chocolatier but wants 1.6 “bug-free and out to all platforms” first.

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