Stardew Valley’s creator is working on another life sim, and it looks just as sweet as his first.
Even if you don’t yet recognize Haunted Chocolatier by name, the art style is probably a dead giveaway for who’s at the helm. Emerging from his Stardew era, creator Eric Barone is working on his next game. From what we know so far, Haunted Chocolatier will share plenty with Stardew Valley’s gathering and production gameplay, but with a new focus: shopkeeping instead of farmsteading. Also, there are ghosts there. The ghosts are adorable.
Revealed with a surprise announcement in 2021, Barone has resumed his habitual near-silence about Haunted Chocolatier development. As is his custom, information often comes in the form of teaser images and cryptic hints. While we wait to find out just when Haunted Chocolatier opens its doors, here’s everything we’ve learned about it so far.
What’s the Haunted Chocolatier release date?
We don’t know when Haunted Chocolatier will launch yet. Barone first announced it with a reveal trailer in October 2021. In the past, Barone often kept details about Stardew Valley updates quiet and released teaser images very sparingly. We can likely expect the same during Haunted Chocolatier’s development. When it was announced, Barone said he had been working on it for over a year in secret.
“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,” Barone said about the reveal trailer. “And the way I work, things often don’t come together until the final moments.”
Here’s the first Haunted Chocolatier trailer
The first teaser trailer for Haunted Chocolatier really sets expectations that it will feel very familiar to Stardew Valley fans. Barone is using the same art style, though he has said that the pixel art has mostly been baked fresh for Chocolatier. It looks like we’ll be fighting enemies, talking with the locals, and brewing chocolates for our very own shops.
So what kind of game is Haunted Chocolatier?
(Image credit: Eric Barone)
Instead of a farming simulation, Chocolatier is a shop sim where you’ll be creating chocolate and selling it in your store. Like Stardew, Chocolatier has a local town full of stores and NPCs with their own stories that you’ll get to know as you grow your shop.
“I’m not sure how best to describe it,” Barone said in his announcement blog post, “but at its core, the gameplay loop involves gathering ingredients, making chocolate, and running a chocolate shop.”
One thing that Barone has gone a little deeper on is the combat, which he says is a greater focus in his next game. Chocolatier will have shields, which you can use to block attacks and stun enemies as a result. Barone says there will be other off-hand items as alternatives to shields to complement different play styles.
The reveal trailer also showed a player using a bow and arrow. Neat!
We haven’t gotten much explanation on exactly how running your chocolate shop works, but there are some snippets to catch in the reveal trailer. You can spot a player choosing from different countertop styles, setting out different types of chocolate on the counters in their shop, and a crowd of characters walking around the shop while it’s open as your ghost friends carry chocolate over their heads.
Barone also mentioned in an interview with VGKami that Chocolatier will have romantic relationships again. “There will be relationships like in Stardew Valley. I haven’t decided exactly how the system will work, yet. And I expect to approach some things differently this time around.”
Is Haunted Chocolatier co-op?
Nope, Haunted Chocolatier is going to be singleplayer only. With Stardew Valley, multiplayer was added as a major game update after launch. Barone isn’t planning to do the same thing this time around. As with Stardew’s early days though, it’s possible that modders will find a way to add multiplayer even without official support.
Haunted Chocolatier will have boss fights
Casually revealed in a livestream back in April 2022, Haunted Chocolatier will, evidently, feature boss fights in its combat. Surprise! Barone joined the composing software developers at Reason Studios to talk about the soundtrack process for Stardew Valley. Along the way, Barone debuted a track for a bossfight in Haunted Chocolatier—no, we didn’t know there were any.
The track in question (opens in new tab), judging from the title “beeboss,” indicates that there’ll be a boss fight against a bee enemy. Probably encountered while gathering honey. For chocolate. Barone also revealed some of the game’s general background music, with a more somber track called Pristine Snow (opens in new tab).
Will Haunted Chocolatier have mods?
Barone hasn’t specifically mentioned modding support or tools for Haunted Chocolatier yet, but I think it’s a very safe bet to assume there will be mods for Chocolatier regardless. Barone was supportive of modders during his years of Stardew Valley updates, and the same will likely be true with Chocolatier. Given just how many Stardew Valley mods exist, fans of Barone’s second game will likely be just as keen to start adding their own custom pieces.
Here are the Haunted Chocolatier characters we’ve seen
(Image credit: Eric Barone)
Local villagers are likely going to be an important part of Chocolatier the way they are in Stardew Valley. Here are the few characters we’ve seen so far in the reveal trailer:
Lily – She lives in a neon, plant-filled home, but that’s all we know!Burk – He appears to run a forge and shop that sells weapons.Maddie – Another villager, though we don’t know anything about her either.Jett – Works in a research lab for someone named Dr. Tungsten.Nigel – A local bartender in what looks like an underground bar.