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‘Haunted Chocolatier’: meet the follow-up to feel-good smash hit ‘Stardew Valley’

Stardew Valley fans have been calling out for a sequel for years and, while not that, Haunted Chocolatier may well be a perfect spiritual successor.

Haunted Chocolatier is Eric Barone’s anticipated follow-up to his casually brilliant Stardew Valley. In the passage of time that has followed that game’s release there have been many imitators, yet few have managed to match the original’s chill atmosphere and addictive gameplay loop. Sometimes the simpler an idea, the harder it is to execute.

Nonetheless, Eric ‘ConcernedApe’ Barone is undeniably the man for the job. When other developers were busy trying to figure out how they could outdo each other by going bigger in terms of scope and scale, Barone opted to give gamers something entirely different: positive energy and relaxation.

haunted chocolatier
Image: Haunted Chocolatier / ConcernedApe

Haunted Chocolatier looks to continue in this vein, albeit with some minor changes. In Stardew Valley players took on the role of a small-town farmer (although you could also spend your time dating, exploring, socialising and even dungeon crawling). In Haunted Chocolatier you must open up a chocolate shop business (and probably date, explore, and dungeon crawl at your own leisure).

The upcoming game’s title is sure to raise a few eyebrows, although in a recent blog post Barone shed some light on his underlying rationale.

“Chocolate represents that which is delightful. The haunted castle represents the allure of the unknown. The ghosts represent the imprint of the past. All of these things are important. However, don’t think for a moment that, because this game features ghosts in a haunted castle, it is an evil or negative game.”

“On the contrary, I intend for this game to be positive, uplifting and life-affirming. However, if Stardew Valley mostly channeled the energy of the sun, Haunted Chocolatier channels the energy of the moon. Both are vital.”

So Haunted Chocolatier is to Stardew Valley what Bloodborne is to Dark Souls. Well, colour me intrigued.

Outside of Barone’s blog post and a few images, we have very little to go on in terms of what Haunted Chocolatier will end up playing like. As Barone wrote, “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.

And keeping with that analogy, we can’t wait to eventually have a cheeky ‘ghost’ bite.

Haunted Chocolatier doesn’t currently have a release date. It is, however, confirmed for PC.