Stardew Valley developer announces his next game "ConcernedApe's Haunted Chocolatier"
Eric Barone, also known as "ConcernedApe," the solo developer behind the hit farming sim Stardew Valley, announced his new project today, ConcernedApe's Haunted Chocolatier. This is Barone's first project since Stardew released in 2016, as he has been focusing on post-launch support for that game. According to an FAQ on the Haunted Chocolatier website, he has been working on this game for a little over a year, mostly on evenings and weekends while maintaining work on Stardew, so development is still in the early stages and he doesn't expect the release to come anytime soon. Especially since he is working alone again, and has no intentions of bringing in additional staff to help him finish Haunted Chocolatier, except for localization and console ports.
While not many details are known yet about this new game, the trailer does show some strong similarities to Stardew, both in visual style and the brief combat shown. Regarding whether the game plays similarly to Stardew, Barone said the following:
Like Stardew Valley, Haunted Chocolatier is another “town game”, where you move to a new town and try your hand at a new way of living. You’ll get to know the townspeople, achieve your goals and make progress in many ways. All of that is similar to Stardew Valley. However, the core gameplay and theming are quite a bit different. Haunted Chocolatier is more of an action-RPG compared to Stardew Valley. And instead of a farm being the focal point of your endeavors, it’s a chocolate shop.
He also states in the announcement blog on the Haunted Chocolatier website that he wants it to be different atmospherically to Stardew. While Stardew was more grounded, he would like to explore more fantastical opportunities here, and that Haunted Chocolatier is freeing for him, as he found working in the established genre conventions of Stardew made him feel "somewhat constrained." He also says that while he wants the game to be "positive, uplifting and life-affirming," a somewhat somber tone may be created by the inclusion of ghosts and haunted castles. "If Stardew Valley mostly channeled the energy of the sun, Haunted Chocolatier channels the energy of the moon," the post reads. "Both are vital." On the subject of if this takes place in the same world as Stardew, he gives a vague non-answer, simply stating he is "not ready to reveal anything like that just yet."