First Minecraft 1.20 details revealed at Minecraft Live 2022, including camels and hanging signs

Early image of Minecraft 1.20.
(Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)

What you need to know

  • Minecraft Live 2022 is in full swing, with announcements and news for the future of the entire Minecraft franchise.
  • During the event, Mojang Studios shared new details on the next Minecraft content update, under the 1.20 version number.
  • The update centers around player expression, representation, and better transparency from Mojang Studios.
  • Players can look forward to new features like hanging signs and chiseled bookshelves.

One of the core tenets of Minecraft is how it expands and evolves over time, and the next year will be no different for the developers at Mojang Studios. At least one major content update is planned for Minecraft, and Mojang Studios has finally revealed part of its plan for delivering fresh content to players on Saturday.

During Minecraft Live 2022, Mojang Studios took the wraps of Minecraft 1.20, the currently unnamed content update heading to all vanilla Minecraft players at some point in 2023. The focus of this update is player expression, representation, and creativity, with Mojang Studios wanting to add features that allow players to more effectively play how they want, while being whoever they want. According to the creators behind the legendary survival game, this update is all about making Minecraft "Minecraftier." This time around, though, Mojang Studios is approaching Minecraft's next content update a little differently.

A major change that Mojang Studios is enacting with the Minecraft 1.20 update is in how it announces features. Both the Caves & Cliffs Update and The Wild Update were mired in controversy due to a number of announced features that were later delayed or canceled, such as archaeology, birch forest improvements, and fireflies. Mojang Studios is responding to community feedback, and now only intends to reveal features and content that are far along in development and have little chance of being delayed or abandoned.

Intentionally avoiding announcing the full plan or even the name for the Minecraft 1.20 update will allow Mojang Studios to work even more closely with the community on its development, while focusing only on features that are nearly in players' hands. This change, however, means that Mojang Studios only showcased a handful of features to come in Minecraft 1.20, with more to be shown in the coming months. Here's everything from the upcoming Minecraft 1.20 content update that was shown during Minecraft Live 2022:

  • Seven new default characters. Separate from the actual 1.20 update but connected in theme, Minecraft's infamous Steve and Alex default characters are about to gain some new friends. For the first time in years, players will have new default skins from which to choose.
    • The seven characters being added are Makene, Efe, Noor, Kai, Ari, Sunny, and Zuri
    • Each character is visually unique, with a diverse range of appearances including darker skin tones and even prosthetics
    • The new characters will come to Minecraft in late Nov. or early Dec., 2022 in a separate update
  • Camels. Alongside whichever mob wins the Minecraft Live Mob Vote 2022, the Minecraft 1.20 update will also include the camel, a desert-living alternative mount to the horse.
    • The camels offer a unique riding experience with a "dashing" ability instead of a high jump
    • Camels also support two-player saddles, a first for Minecraft mounts
    • Camels possess a plethora of unique animations, like for laying down
    • The passive mobs can be found in desert villages
    • Camels are tall enough that hostile mobs can't reach players when they're riding them
    • Camels can be bred using cactus
  • Hanging signs. The classic sign that has helped players label and direct in Minecraft for years is finally getting an alternative form — hanging signs.
    • Hanging signs combine stripped logs and chains
    • Hanging signs come in multiple varieties, including two chains when suspended from the underside of blocks, a single chain ending in a "V" shape when suspended from a narrow block like a fence, and a post with two chains when suspended from the side of a block
    • Players can change the color of hanging signs by using different varieties of wood to craft them
    • Hanging signs are otherwise identical to regular signs regarding text input
  • Chiseled bookshelves. An exciting addition with Minecraft 1.20 is a new kind of bookshelf, one with a more refined experience that is also fully functional.
    • Chiseled bookshelves can store up to 6 books of any kind
    • Players dynamically add and remove books from the bookshelf — there is no in-game UI menu
    • Chiseled bookshelves support redstone interactions, with comparators able to tell when a book is added or pulled from the shelf
    • Using redstone, players will be able to create secret bookshelf passageways and more
    • The regular bookshelf is remaining in the game
  • Bamboo building blocks. Arguably the biggest Minecraft 1.20 addition shown off during Minecraft Live 2022 is a full suite of building blocks and crafting done with bamboo, bringing it in line with other kinds of wood.
    • Bamboo can be used to craft like wood can, with unique designs for planks, stairs, doors, fences, and trapdoors
    • There's also a unique bamboo mosaic block with a more decorative design
    • Instead of a bamboo boat, players will be able to craft a raft with a unique, flat design
    • The raft still supports up to two players, as well as chests
  • Features not revealed or coming. Mojang Studios only showed off features it's confident will arrive with Minecraft 1.20, but there are other features that either weren't mentioned or aren't coming with this update.
    • Mojang Studios did not mention features like archaeology or birch forest improvements
    • The studio did confirm that no biome update is planned for 1.20
    • Fireflies are still a possibility and are being discussed at Mojang Studios, but not for 1.20
    • Combat parity between Minecraft: Bedrock Edition and Minecraft: Java Edition is something Mojang Studios wishes to deliver, but it won't happen in the 1.20 update

Mojang Studios also announced that all the features shown off during Minecraft Live 2022 are closer than players expect, an exciting move that goes hand-in-hand with the studio's new commitment to transparency and increased community involvement. The first snapshots and Minecraft Preview builds for Minecraft 1.20 are only a few days away from being released with the update's first four features, giving players a chance to go hands-on and provide feedback in record time.

Over time, the 1.20 update is likely to expand with new features and content, but only when Mojang Studios is confident the features in store are near completion and practically guaranteed to make it to the finish line. In this way, Mojang Studios hopes to alleviate the frustration of long Minecraft update development times while still adding plenty of new content to one of the best games from Xbox. Minecraft 1.20 will officially release for Minecraft: Bedrock Edition and Minecraft: Java Edition in 2023.

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Minecraft: Bedrock Edition

The first details for Minecraft 1.20 have been revealed during Minecraft Live 2022, with Mojang Studios detailing four new features coming in the future update, including camels and hanging signs.

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Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

Minecraft: Java Edition and Minecraft: Bedrock Edition are available through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, making Microsoft's subscription service the best place to gain access to everything Minecraft.

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