Like asking a parent to pick their favorite child
I think it’s a fair assessment to say that Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone, also known as ConcernedApe, is one of the most beloved figures in game development. He’s hard-working, wholesome, and engages with the fans of his game in really meaningful ways. A perfect example of this is the time a fan tweeted him about a bug, and Barone came back with a quick fix update just shy of two hours later.
Because he’s such an active part of the community, fans love to poke the developer on Twitter and ask him questions about the game. Usually they have a more technical focus, but every once in a while, someone will get him to answer a more personal question about his creation.
It’s worth noting here that the Stardew Valley community is very invested in the lore and characters of the game. The subreddit is often full of fans discussing who the best NPCs are, both as romantic interests and overall, and to say that players feel strongly about this is an understatement. In a world of definitive ranked character lists, this kind of thing carries a lot of implications. So when Twitter user @BeastBoom24 reached out and asked Barone who his favorite “bachelor/bachelorette” as well as “non-romanceable NPC” is, he chose to tread lightly.
After all, the fandom has a lot of respect for him, and whatever he says is taken as gospel. Barone simply answered, “if I picked a favorite it could cause a rift in the Stardew Valley community” — an answer that I find both wholesome and oddly humble, in a sense. He’s aware of the power he holds, and wants fans to form their own opinions. He’s also probably aware that fans could be angered depending on what he says, and just doesn’t want to deal with the backlash.
Either way, I thought it was a funny fan interaction that Barone had, and it really speaks to the sweet dynamic he has fostered. It’s exceedingly rare these days to see a developer so grounded and focused on giving the fans the best experience possible, and I find that to be refreshing. It’s a small moment in comparison to the rest of what’s going on right now, but I think having such a charming, humanizing moment is worth something, at least.
[Featured Image Source: Reddit user u/nerdybird88]