Former Stardew Valley contributor is making a new life sim set in a city, and it’s already packed with little features new to the genre

While the list of games like Stardew Valley just keeps growing, the list of games made by Stardew’s creator is still percolating. Eric “ConcernedApe” Barone’s own next game Haunted Chocolatier is still deep in development, but it turns out that a former Stardew contributor is also working on a new life sim that may even arrive this year. The as-yet-untitled game definitely looks like a Stardew descendant, but this one’s set in a city and has a lot of its own neat ideas on expanding the typical life sim script.

As spotted by RockPaperShotgun, freelance game developer Arthur Lee (who’s credited as part of the Stardew Valley team during development of the 1.5 update) is working on an untitled new life sim and sharing weekly details about development on X. Though it remains untitled at the moment, he’s expecting it to involve the name “Apollo City” after the game’s main setting.

A throwback to Harvest Moon, the Animal Bell lets you gather your animals in once place. It’s useful if you want to keep your animals and your feeding lots separate (or if you need to gather your livestock to groom/harvest them) ! 26, 2023

See more

Though it’s definitely set in a city, with a ramen shop and city blocks and so on, it’s still very much a farm sim where you’re tending your own rural-looking property adjacent to the downtown hustle. There also appears to be usable farm space in a downtown dirt lot and rooftop gardens above an apartment building. Don’t worry about the urban planning of it all; just believe. 

From what Lee has shown off on social media, Apollo City appears to be hitting the farmlife sim highlights: crops, livestock, fishing, home customization, and lots of skills to level. It will also be multiplayer at launch, a feature Lee finds important after doing lots of work contributing to local multiplayer in the Stardew Valley 1.5 update. The one thing I’m not seeing concrete reference to is romance or marriage, though Lee may be keeping those elements under wraps.

Beyond the technical stuff from earlier this week, I also added various flavors of pickling jars/pots, paddy field crops (which when watered, also water any connected paddy crops), rice and soybeans, and millers. All because my girlfriend insisted I add Miso Soup as a recipe… 8, 2023

See more

What I’m actually psyched about is just how many weird and interesting other systems Lee’s teased for Apollo City. The apple really doesn’t fall far from the Harvest Moon tree with most modern farmlife sims but Apollo City has a lot of elements I’ve not really seen elsewhere. Here are a few fun tidbits that Lee has shared in the last couple months:

Crops that spread as they grow, like watermelons, which take over adjacent spaces, meaning you can cultivate a patch from a single seedA skill for reading which you can also use to pass time waiting for friends to complete their day in multiplayerAn in-game camera with its own photo quests, which you can use to hang custom photos in your homeWorking at a warehouse as an optional activity for extra cash where you can learn some automation tipsCustomizing food recipes with your favorite ingredients

There’s quite a lengthy skill list including eating, recycling, and socializing. Hilariously, sleeping is its own skill too. Going to bed early earns you faster XP and leveling it up will increase your maximum energy. If only I got buffs like that in real life.

Spruced up the audio of the Old Apollo area of the city. I’ve added the ability to specify “zones” that play music as you get closer to them. In this video, you can hear Ramen-ya ATSUI!’s theme play as I pass by. 18, 2023

See more

In addition to the clear classic Harvest Moon inspirations, Lee has also referenced the Mother series (to which his moniker “Mr. Podunkian” is a reference, he says). And though I’m not too studious on my Mother lore, parts of the city design like its weird billboards definitely give Earthbound vibes.

And before you look at Apollo City crossways, Lee mentions getting Eric Barone’s blessing to make a new farm sim game with the engine he was developing while working on Stardew Valley and that “we met up in person to put any remaining uncertainties to rest!”

At the beginning of January, Lee shared hopes that Apollo City will launch sometime this year and plans to have a Steam store page available (and presumably final title) very soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous post CES 2024 rings the death knell for the best gaming laptop of the past decade: the ol’ Razer Blade 15
Next post OpenAI says it’s ‘impossible’ to create ChatGPT without copyrighted content, as if that’s somehow a good excuse