The farming life has never stopped since the release of Stardew Valley, with active patches like last year’s 1.5 update continuing to breathe life into the five-year-old game. Swapping out the crops for chocolate is Haunted Chocolatier, an upcoming simulator title by creator Eric Barone – or ConcernedApe, the pseudonym some might know him by – that sees players running a spooky chocolate shop and living in a haunted castle.
The new project was unveiled as part of a surprise reveal by the man himself, who also dropped a short trailer to along with his announcement post on the official game website. From the looks of things, the brand-new sim seems to retain the core aesthetic and flavour of Stardew Valley, but Barone isn’t ready to confirm if it’s set in the same universe.
Much like his previous work, Haunted Chocolatier will be a top-down pixel-based “town game” that involves moving to a new place, learning a new trade, and getting to know neighbours better. The design does hold adorable charm (look at the floating ghosts!), and players can presumably date their fellow townspeople, including initial characters like Maddie, Jett, and Nigel.
“In Stardew Valley, the focus was more humble: living off the land, growing food, and connecting to the people and nature around you. However, with my next game, I wanted to explore more fantastical possibilities… experiences that take you beyond the ordinary. That’s where magical haunted ghost chocolate comes in,” Barone wrote of the differences between the two games.
In the FAQ, the chocolate shop sim is additionally said to be “more of an action RPG” than its farming counterpart. While the indie developer still doesn’t exactly know how to describe the new effort just yet, players can expect a gameplay loop that revolves around “gathering ingredients, making chocolate, and running a chocolate shop.” Essentially, you’ll be a merchant instead of a farmer.
Multiplayer, meanwhile, is likely to take a backseat here. “I’ve been mostly working on the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the game so far. But what really brings a game to life is the spice, the sauce. And I haven’t really gotten to the sauce yet. That’s coming,” reads Barone’s post.
As Haunted Chocolatier is still early in development, a release date has yet to be fixed. The only confirmed platform is PC as of now, but the man has “every intention” of also bringing it to other platforms, so everyone can unleash their inner Willy Wonka and build their very own chocolate shop…or factory.
Oh, the joy of it all!