Stardew Valley creator puts distance between himself and publisher Chucklefish

Stardew Valley creator puts distance between himself and publisher Chucklefish

The creator of indie hit Stardew Valley Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone has published a blog post clarifying his relationship with publisher Chucklefish

In the post, the developer says that he was the only person working on the farming title, with an employee of Chucklefish contributing to the multiplayer update. That was released two-and-a-half-years after Stardew Valley's initial launch. By and large, Barone claims that Chucklefish was handling the business and publishing side of things. Furthermore, he has been self-publishing the game since December 2018.

In September, Chucklefish was accused of using "hundreds of hours" of unpaid labour for its debut title Starbound. The company has responded to the allegations. 

"I am aware of the news and social media reports that Chucklefish allegedly engaged in unfair and potentially abusive labor practices during development of their game, Starbound. I feel the need to address this situation because the connection between Chucklefish and Stardew Valley, as well as the degree to which Chucklefish was involved in the creation of the game, has been a source of confusion for many people," Barone wrote.

"So I’d like to clarify a couple of things. Throughout the 4.5 years of development, I was the only person to work on Stardew Valley. Neither Chucklefish nor any contributors working with Chucklefish were involved in creating the game, in any capacity."

He continued: "Beyond that, Chucklefish has served only as publisher, which means that they handled the business and marketing side of things, as well as contracting the localizations, console & mobile ports to 3rd-party companies. Since December of last year, I’ve moved to self-publishing on PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox, and PSVita… Chucklefish is no longer publishing the game on those platforms.

"I can also say that, both personally and in my capacity as the recent founder of a small team, I believe in compensating developers for their contributions in working on games."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.