In a surprise reveal today, Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone announced his next game Haunted Chocolatier, a shop sim about running a spooky chocolate shop and living in a haunted castle. We've been waiting for years to hear what Barone would work on next after spending so much time developing major free updates to his farm life simulation. The big announcement has now been shared and I can't wait to hear more about what he has planned for an equally adorable new game.
If you want to watch for yourself first, here's the new reveal video:
Barone has been talking in vague terms about working on a new game for years now. His previous comments about his potential next projects indicated that he likely wouldn't be working on a direct Stardew sequel but that it might be related in some way or even take place in the same world.
"I’ve been deliberately secretive about it because I want to be able to work on it without any pressure for the time being," Barone said about his next project back in a 2018 devblog. "I also want to make sure the concept is fully realized before revealing anything, because once it’s out there, I’m going to have to fully commit to it."
With today's announcement, it definitely looks like he's sticking to Stardew's universe, but headed for a new kind of simulation. Despite that though, Barone says "I’m not ready to reveal anything like that just yet," on whether it definitely takes place in the same world.
"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," Barone says in an announcement post for Haunted Chocolatier.
Haunted Chocolatier is a "town game," Barone says, like Stardew in that it will involve moving to a new place and learning a new trade while getting to know all your new neighbors. Unlike Stardew, he says that it's more of an action-RPG—and of course revolves around a chocolate shop instead of a farm.
Barone says he doesn't know exactly how to describe the game just yet. "But at its core, the gameplay loop involves gathering ingredients, making chocolate, and running a chocolate shop."
Over in the FAQ page for Haunted Chocolatier, Barone goes into some additional details about his next game. He's been working on Haunted Chocolatier for about a year now and isn't ready to commit to a release date for it yet as it's still early in development. It will definitely be on PC, and he has "every intention" of also bringing it to other platforms. Unlike Stardew though, the chocolate shop sim won't be multiplayer.
Now that Barone is completely committed and ready to share, I'm excited to see where he goes with a slightly different genre of sim.