Eric "ConceredApe" Barone - the creator for the insanely popular farming and lifestyle sim, Stardew Valley - has just lifted the lid on his brand new game, Haunted Chocolatier. It's more formally known as 'ConcernedApe’s Haunted Chocolatier'.
After dedicating 10 years of his life "and counting" to Stardew Valley, Barone has decided it's time to reveal his new game to the world. So, what's with the chocolate theme? It's just an idea that he had, and well - a lot of people like chocolate.
This game will go "beyond the ordinary" with the assistance of magical ghost chocolate:
"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.
"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."
Most of all, ConcernedApe just wants it to be a "fun" new game. As for what kind of game it is, here's Barone's best attempt at describing:
"It’s evolving organically as I develop it, so I’m not sure where it will go. But at its core, the gameplay loop involves gathering ingredients, making chocolate, and running a chocolate shop. Of course, there’s a lot more to the game than that, but I don’t want to get too deep into at this early stage, partly because I don’t want to be tied down to any particular concept of what the game is."
It'll also allow Barone to unleash a part of himself that he wasn't able to within the constraints of Stardew Valley:
"I believe this will be a good opportunity, but I haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet. 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."
And although the game is coming along nicely, there's still a lot of work to do:
"Anyway, this is all largely talk at this point. While the video I put together may look like the game is at an advanced stage of development, there is still a ton of stuff to do. And the way I work, things often don’t come together until the final moments. I tend to work with a “vertical slice” approach, and so it’s easy to put together some video that looks like a finished game. But there is a ton of content I still need to make. So, please understand that it will be a while before this game is done. I’m going to be working on it as much as I can, though."
Right now, the only system release Barone is 100% certain about is PC. However, he still has "every intention" of bringing it to other major platforms as well.
In an FAQ over on the official game website, the creator also addressed a few other questions - the game is currently single-player only and has been in development for just over a year now.
And while it might look and play similar to Stardew, it's actually running on a new engine - Barone is still able to reuse some code from Stardew Valley, though. If we hear any other updates about this upcoming title or a Switch announcement, we'll be sure to let you know.
What are your first impressions of ConcernedApe’s Haunted Chocolatier? Like the look of it? Leave your thoughts down below.