Creator of Stardew Valley Reveals ConcernedApe’s Haunted Chocolatier

The one-man show responsible for Stardew Valley revealed his latest project to the world:

“Why chocolate? I’m not sure. It just kind of came to me. I think sometimes the best ideas just appear in a flash, instead of being cleverly thought out. That’s how I like to work, anyway. What’s important is the execution. And after 10 years of practice, I feel more confident than ever in being able to bring an idea to life,” Eric Barone, known online as ConcernedApe, said in a blog post on the game’s website. “Regardless, I think a lot of people like chocolate.”

The early gameplay trailer for the game shows a very Stardew-esque big city topped with a massive chocolatier facility that doubles as the protagonist’s home. The main character walks up a few flights of stairs to a set of double doors that swing open to reveal a lush greenscape the protagonist hops into in a way that is reminiscent of the portraits in Super Mario 64, revealing some combat gameplay featuring iconic green slimes with the melodic vibes many have come to love.

The trailer has an ominous end revealing the darker side of the city.

The trailer did not provide players with a tentative release window and Barone goes on to say in his blog post that he hopes fans understand “it will be a while before this game is done.”

Barone provided this additional insight:

“Now, you might be scratching your head, wondering exactly what type of game this is. I’m not sure how best to describe it. 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.

So far, I’ve been having fun working on this game. There are so many possibilities. With Stardew Valley, I felt somewhat constrained, because I was working within an established tradition. I don’t regret that at all, but there’s always been a part of me that wanted to go “unleashed”. 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.

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.”

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Managing editor over video games here at Cinelinx. Let me lose myself in Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley for days, thanks. KakeBytes is my podcast adventure through gaming history.