On August 21, Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone, aka Concerned Ape, shared a screenshot (opens in new tab) and accompanying OST snippet (opens in new tab) of his upcoming game, Haunted Chocolatier. It's a snappy little tune to go with what looks like a bee boss fight in a giant, golden hive.
It's a shame you've got to fight them, because it's certainly a cute little (big?) bee and these vital pollinators have long been threatened by human activity. Now the "threat from human activity" is a little more overt, with players engaging in deadly combat with the hive. Presumably you'll need that honey for some confection or another in your titular chocolate shop. Sorry little guys, save the bees or no papa's gotta get paid.
This new, big bee looks like a scaled up version of an enemy shown in previous gameplay footage, but the hive interior is brand new. It reminds me of the hive from Click Clock Wood (opens in new tab) in Banjo Kazooie, or The Gyldenhal (opens in new tab) golden castle from Dragon Quest 11. The song, presumably only tentatively titled bee_boss, gave me a similar vibe to Papyrus' theme Bonetrousle (opens in new tab) from Undertale.
We're likely still some ways off from Haunted Chocolatier's release. Back at the time of the initial reveal trailer, Barone stated that "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." Responding to a fan in the Twitter thread of the new screenshot, Barone cautioned (opens in new tab) "I think I could make it faster, but I don't think I am making it faster. Also... though I have more experience, I also have more ambition with the scope of the game (in some ways.)"
It's coming when it's done then, but it's always exciting to hear about an anticipated game's expanded ambition and scope. In addition to following along with Barone's periodic progress updates, you can catch up with our guide to everything we know about Haunted Chocolatier (opens in new tab).