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

Haunted Chocolatier
(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

Haunted Chocolatier is an upcoming RPG adventure full of ghosts and hauntingly sweet confections. Stardew Valley developer Eric Barone, aka ConcernedApe, is behind the wheel, so it goes without saying that our 2D pixel dreams are in safe hands. While it will share some similarities to the beloved farming sim in certain respects, the new experience will be putting greater focus on combat and will be closer to an action-RPG, according to Barone.

First revealed back in October 2021 with a gameplay trailer, Barone shared some exciting details that have quickly made Haunted Chocolatier one to watch. While we're hopeful to see it launch soon as one of the many new games for 2024, there's a lot still up in the air about it. Happily, though, we did get a small helping of Haunted Chocolatier screenshots to celebrate a Stardew Valley community milestone last year, and those have more than whet our appetites for what Barone's been cooking up for us aside from farmyard antics.

Having recently wrapped work on Stardew Valley update 1.6, many of us are hopeful that this could mean more Haunted Chocolatier news soon. We'll have more on that later, but while we wait it out until the developer is ready to dish up something more substantial, here's a full recap of everything we know so far about Haunted Chocolatier.

Recent updates

This hub of everything we know so far about Haunted Chocolatier was updated on April 5, adding some recent comments Eric Barone has made on Twitter regarding HC's development..

Haunted Chocolatier news

Haunted Chocolatier

(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

Haunted Chocolatier release date and platforms 

Haunted Chocolatier

(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

Currently, Haunted Chocolatier doesn't have a set release date. In an FAQ 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 development

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Haunted Chocolatier is indeed the next game from Eric Barone, but the famed Stardew Valley developer is still working on other projects. Back in April 2023, it was revealed that revealed that they are taking a short break from Haunted Chocolatier production to focus on the new Stardew Valley 1.6 update, which delivered quality-of-life improvements for the vast modding community. We've had some sneak peeks at the substantial new Stardew Valley update, but it does not yet have a release date. Once that's ready, Barone will return to the new life-sim. 

Following the recent launch of Stardew Valley 1.6, Eric Barone has divulged a tiny tidbit of information regarding Haunted Chocolatier's development. It still sounds like early days. "I am eager to get back to work on it," Barone said in a Tweet reply regarding what the Stardew update means for his other project. "But I have to see Stardew 1.6 settled, bug-free, and out to all platforms first." He has also referenced how working on Stardew Valley has helped and influenced the developmental process of Haunted Chocolatier and vice versa, so it seems that no matter what, Barone is still hard at work on both projects.

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, 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 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 emphasizes 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, be able to develop relationships with NPCs 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 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

"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, which suggests we may be taking on boss battles. You can even listen to the music of the "boss bee" here.  

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. 

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