Haunted Chocolatier: Everything we know about the Stardew Valley creator's next game

Haunted Chocolatier
(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

Haunted Chocolatier is coming to us from Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone, aka Concerned Ape. As an exciting new game that is said to be closer to an action RPG, development for the project began back in 2020. Ever since we got our first look at Haunted Chocolatier thanks to a gameplay trailer in October 2021, excitement about the upcoming adventure has only grown. With updates from the solo developer that offer some more insight, the game was said to be in the early stages of development when it was initially revealed, so it will likely be some time before it releases - but we certainly wait for it arrive when it's ready to. 

Below, we've gathered together everything we know so far about Haunted Chocolatier, with details on update posts, screenshots, the initial trailer, and gameplay. 

Haunted Chocolatier release date and platforms 

Haunted Chocolatier

(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

Currently, Haunted Chocolatier doesn't have a set release date and it's unlikely to be one of the new games for 2023. In an FAQ (opens in new tab) posted back in 2021, Barone stated that "I can't commit to a release date yet" as it's still "relatively early in development." 

"I want to be able to work in peace without the pressure of a release date, or even an estimated release date", the post continues. It's probably safe to assume that it's still early days in terms of development, so it will likely be quite some time before Haunted Chocolatier arrives. In a later update, Barone added: "The bottom line, is that I won't rest, or release this game, until I am personally satisfied that it's very fun and compelling, in every aspect. If it never gets there, I'll just never release it. But don't worry, I have 100% faith that I'll get it there." 

In terms of what platforms Haunted Chocolatier is expected to release on, the FAQ also confirms that PC is the only certainty, but there's "every intention" of bringing it to other major platforms as well. 

Haunted Chocolatier gameplay  

Haunted Chocolatier

(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

The gameplay trailer that was released alongside the announcement serves up a vertical slice of how the game's currently shaping up in its early stages. With a look at some of the combat, interactions, town setting, locales, and even some ghosts sporting shades, there's plenty to see that has us excited. In the first "hello world" blog post (opens in new tab), Barone offers some insight into the kind of game Haunted Chocolatier will be, detailing some of the aims for the game and how it compares to Stardew Valley. 

While it's "developing organically" and it may go in different directions, the post touches on the core gameplay loop, which involves "gathering ingredients, making chocolate, and running a chocolate shop". There is of course more to it than that, but Barone emphasises that they don't want to be tied to any particular concept and expressed a desire to "explore more fantastical possibilities" and "experiences that take you beyond the ordinary" compared to the humble play of Stardew Valley. 

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"Chocolate represents that which is delightful," the post continues. "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." 

Haunted Chocolatier is closer to an action-RPG

Haunted Chocolatier

(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

The FAQ also describes Haunted Chocolatier as another "town game" like Stardew Valley, where you move to a new town and try out a new way of living. Not unlike the residents of Pelican Town, you'll be able to get to know the townspeople in Haunted Chocolatier and "make progress in many ways". But the new adventure is closer to an action-RPG in comparison to Stardew Valley, and it will be a single-player experience.

Haunted Chocolatier has a "greater focus on combat"  

Haunted Chocolatier

(Image credit: Eric Barone)

A later blog post update (opens in new tab) offered us more insight into the combat of Haunted Chocolatier, which is a bigger part of the experience in comparison to Stardew Valley. As we've seen so far in the early gameplay footage and some screenshots, there will be different weapons we can use, including shields that will allow us to deflect hits as we take on various foes in the world. As the blog details, many attacks can be blocked and doing so will cause an enemy to become stunned and allow for quick attacks (opens in new tab)

"The shield/stun mechanic rewards more cautious, patient players who wait for a window of opportunity," Barone writes. "But you don’t have to play like this, you could just as well charge in aggressively, and if you can pull it off, you’ll defeat enemies more quickly that way. There will be other off-hand items besides shields that will compliment different play styles."

Of course, everything that's been shown so far is a work in progress, so it may change over the course of the game's development, but it's exciting to see the kind of direction combat is going in so far. Interestingly, a tweet also gave us a look at a screenshot of a big bee foe (opens in new tab), which suggests we may be taking on boss battles. You can even listen to the music of the "boss bee" here (opens in new tab).  

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.