This New Chocolate-Themed Video Game Might Be A Stardew Valley Sequel

Independent video games are alive and well. Yale Daily News reports that the niche carved out by the likes of 2015's "Undertale" proves that simple, low-budget games can be extremely fun to play (and extremely lucrative for their developers). A few months after "Undertale," another overhead 2D role-playing game with pixellated graphics made a huge splash: "Stardew Valley" by creator Eric Barone aka ConcernedApe, per the game's website. "Stardew Valley" has sold more than 15 million copies and is available on just about any platform you can think of.

It's easy to see the game's escapist appeal. A whole life seems to unfold, even in "Stardew Valley's" three-minute trailer on YouTube. Your player character clears land, tends a farm, becomes part of a community, meets someone, starts a family. The pond is always stocked with fish, the oysters aren't dying off in a climate change heatwave, and nobody's a Democrat or a Republican. (You will come across the occasional monster, however.)

In the five years since "Stardew Valley" landed, Barone has kept busy with game updates. He's also been developing a new RPG on the side — something he finally revealed earlier this month on the new game's website. Willy Wonka meets "Stardew Valley" in ConcernedApe's latest, called "Haunted Chocolatier."

You make the chocolate in Stardew Valley creator's Haunted Chocolatier

In "Haunted Chocolatier," the chocolate you whip up and then sell in your haunted shop is made from ingredients you find yourself, according to the game's FAQ page. "Why chocolate? I'm not sure. It just kind of came to me," Eric Barone said in his blog. "I think sometimes the best ideas just appear in a flash." Whatever the reason, it's hard to argue against chocolate as a concept. "I think a lot of people like chocolate," Barone wrote. "Chocolate represents that which is delightful."

Barone wouldn't say whether the new game will live in the same world as its predecessor, which leaves open the possibility that "Haunted Chocolatier" is a "Stardew Valley" sequel. He did say a haunted chocolate shop shouldn't scare anyone off. The game will be "positive, uplifting, and life-affirming," Barone said.

One of the coolest things about "Stardew Valley" is how open-ended it is (via CBR). You can never really finish the game, and updates continue to add new content and characters. If "Haunted Chocolatier" is on the same level of richness and detail, then it should be a big hit, too.

But "Haunted Chocolatier" isn't coming out anytime soon. With the help of some non-chocolatey food analogies, Barone said the game is in early development. "'I've been mostly working on the 'meat and potatoes' of the game so far," he wrote. "But what really brings a game to life is the spice, the sauce. And I haven't really gotten to the sauce yet."