Haunted Chocolatier is the next game from Stardew Valley creator Eric 'ConcernedApe' Barone.
Stardew Valley 2 in all but name, Haunted Chocolatier drops you into another cozy-looking town full of resources to collect and people to meet. Its reveal trailer showed off environments both frigid and forested, and the focus of crafting seems to be running and decorating your own sweets shop, which is apparently staffed by cute little ghosts. The art style for this chocolate shop sim is a dead ringer for Stardew Valley, and the general gameplay loop looks mighty similar as well at first blush – not that we're complaining. More Stardew Valley with an adorable, chocolatey theme sounds delightful.
"Why chocolate?" Barone asked in a blog post. "I’m not sure. It just kind of came to me. I think sometimes the best ideas just appear in a flash, instead of being cleverly thought out. That’s how I like to work, anyway. What’s important is the execution. And after 10 years of practice, I feel more confident than ever in being able to bring an idea to life."
"Don’t think for a moment that, because this game features ghosts in a haunted castle, it is an evil or negative game," he continues. "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."
Astrological analogies aside, Barone teased that while Haunted Chocolatier is fundamentally about gathering ingredients to make chocolate and run your shop, "there's a lot more to the game than that." In an FAQ, he described it as "more of an action-RPG," so expect a little more fighting and a little less farming. Barone says he's still ironing out the finer points and doesn't want to reveal too much to avoid tying himself to anything. "What really brings a game to life is the spice, the sauce," he adds, bringing the analogies to the kitchen this time. "And I haven’t really gotten to the sauce yet. That’s coming."
Haunted Chocolatier is in "active development" but its target platforms and release date haven't been announced. However, Barone did clarify that "there is still a ton of stuff to do" and "it will be a while before this game is done."
Based on Stardew Valley's broad reach, we can reasonably assume it will come to most if not all modern platforms when it is eventually released. In a Twitter reply, Barone confirmed that Haunted Chocolatier "won't cost more than Stardew."
While you wait for Haunted Chocolatier, here are 15 games like Stardew Valley to satisfy your sim craving.