Since release, Stardew Valley has quickly escalated up the ranks, from the new kid on the block, in terms of status, to become a genre-defining game. Over time, the hugely successfully, hybrid farm sim, with-built-in RPG mechanics has garnered a cult community. But even among the most loyalist fans, an old age question always arises.
Does Stardew Valley end?
That very question is a hot topic, in and of itself. Not least so, within the game’s player base. Furthermore, the issue has been raised countless times on Reddit forums worldwide, as a significant point of contention for a while now. In truth, it’s an enigma that’s stuck with the game, for better or worse, and one that’s left fans scratching their head in a sort of frenzied bemusement.
Today, our overriding goal is to separate fact from fiction, and determine just “How Does Stardew Valley End? ” If indeed, it does at all. By now, you know the score, folks. It’s time to brace up and tackle this continual, cranium crushing, conundrum head-on. Upon reading, you’ll have a definitive answer to the question as mentioned above.
So, without further or do, we go once more into the breach, dear friends. To finally lay this query to rest. Today, we eliminate any doubt surrounding the topic and put an end to spurious speculation. On that note, I do hope you all take something away from this article.
The Genre of Stardew Valley
To fully understand, we must analyze Stardew Valley under the microscope. That way, we can define what type of game it’s generally categorized as and whether that prescribed classification can give us a glimpse of the broader picture.
In truth, Stardew Valley has many overlapping systems, and each cog in the machine plays a pivotal part. However, at its core, Stardew Valley is a role-playing, simulation game. The number one objective being, to restore Stardew Valley, to it’s former glory. Not only that but to rebuild and expand the area into a prosperous land of opportunity.
There is, in fact, a multitude of paths through which to do this. Although, the game does place greater emphasis on farming and crop cultivation. Besides that, the world is your oyster. In truth, there’s no shortage of activities to undergo daily — these range in diversity, from social aspects like cultivating friendships and budding romances. Ultimately, these lead to marriage or long-term plutonic companionship. You can also go explore dangerous dungeons or try your luck at fishing.
Additionally, the player can partake in a myriad to activities hosted by the town, should they wish to.
Besides the social side of things, players must tend to their plot, plant, and grow crops, as well as mine for ore, craft various items and lend their services to the town. Why is this important to today’s topic? I hear you ask. Well, Stardew Valley is composed of four seasons; Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Each of which run on a continuous cycle every 28 days. In other words, once a single period is complete, the game jumps ahead one year, and the cycle resets, starting with Spring.
This endless conveyer belt of cycle and repetition is what is known as an open-ended experience. That way, players have more time to focus on specialist activities. In turn, this allows players to manage tasks more effectively without the burden of limitation, or an overbearing time constraint.
According to the Stardew official Wiki, “Stardew Valley is an open-ended country-life RPG!”
Now, this distinction doesn’t necessarily mean that various unique events don’t align with specific seasons. For instance, villagers’ day-to-day routines may change, crops wither and die, and the passage of time takes its course.
So, we’ve established the foundations of the game and why it relies on an ongoing system. But really, the game only officially ends, once the player is satisfied with their conclusion. That brings us to our next topic.
Each Player Sets Varying Goals
In truth, there’s a whole host of in-game options on the table. And, with a free license to roam, goals will differ significantly depending on each player. For some, tying the not, and settling down will act as the endgame. While for others, the objective is to complete a single cycle of seasons.
Conversely, for the more hardened veteran, or those in it for the long term, the challenge may derive from completing all festival periods for each integral season. Those of which provide fruitful rewards, such as unique, in-game items, prizes, and additional intel.
Other gamers may enjoy Stardew Valley for its therapeutic and cathartic properties. And therefore, only dip in and out of the game, on a casual basis. Meaning, the lack of an ending, at least from an official capacity, is of less importance. Either way, it’s up to the player.
From my point of view, placing a time-cap on Stardew Valley would bring a level of linearity, that would much restrict the actions of the player. Besides, all activities take time. Meaning, many of the player’s ambitious plans would go unchecked. Ultimately, this would lead to an unsatisfactory, and somewhat abrupt ending to the game. At least, that’s the way I comprehend it.
Stardew Valley, Inspired by Harvest Moon
Stardew Valley bears a striking resemblance to its fellow farming sim, Harvest Moon. And that’s no coincidence. Besides, Stardew Valley is considered by many, to be heavily inspired by Harvest Moon. That aside, there’s one element that sets them apart, especially concerning the first game in the Harvest Moon franchise.
Interestingly, the first-ever Harvest Moon has a definitive ending. And so, the game always ends following three in-game years. And although daily tasks remain virtually identical, there are twenty alternate endings, each of which is solely dependent on the players elected playstyle.
Stardew Valley, on the other hand, as we’ve already clarified, is open-ended. Despite no time limit for the overall game, there is a time limit for each day and a day count per season.
Grandpa’s Score, But No End Credits?
Indeed, there may be no end credits or an official curtain call to speak of at the end of Stardew Valley. However, there is a scoring system of sorts. The evaluation occurs upon the completion of year 2. The score, which accumulates results across several disciplines, determines whether the player receives a special reward from Grandpa’s Grave.
However, you do not need to start anew, to attain a better score. The next morning the process will start over. And of course, you’ll undergo evaluation once more. Word of warning though, you’ll need a diamond each time. With that in mind, don’t initiate the scene unless you are confident that you’re ready.
All in all, as an open-ended farming sim, Stardew Valley doesn’t have an end, per se. Besides, even the evaluation following on from act two is accessible at any time. That said, it’s up to the player to choose when the village and home life are at their most prosperous.
Again, much of it boils down to independent preference and the overall happiness of each player. After all, the participant decides when they wish to bow out. One thing’s for sure, the charmingly wacky world of Stardew Valley will always be compelling, and ultimately, hard to resist. Now that we’ve well and truly put the matter to bed, I’ll be seeing you in the valley, friends and neighbors!