Darkened chocolate

Stardew follow-up Haunted Chocolatier will have real boss fights

The long-awaited sequel to Stardew Valley, Haunted Chocolatier, features a greater focus on combat, boss battles, and a darker tone.

Stardew Valley came out more than a half-a-decade ago, and developer Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone is finally working on a true follow-up to the classic indie hit. But while it certainly looks a lot like what came before, in a recent interview, Barone said that his new project will focus more on combat than its predecessor — and it'll have a darker feel, too.

Making a sequel to Stardew Valley is itself a Herculean task, considering that it revitalized the farm sim genre and succeeded in pretty much every way a game can. Barone acknowledges that Chocolatier is being made in the shadow of his first big hit, he says he doesn't worry much about the "sophomore slump" that many creatives can fall into.

A screen shot from Stardew Valley.

"If people say it's cut and paste Stardew Valley, well so be it," Barone told Reason Studios. "What did you expect? Did you expect me to make a sports game or a racing game? This is just what I do."

While it's true that Chocolatier will inevitably share many things in common with the first game, Barone says that he's sharpening up some of the first game's weak points for this sequel. Most players can probably agree that Stardew's combat left a lot to be desired, especially in the late game, and Barone is working hard to revamp those systems for Chocolatier. For example, Chocolatier will feature full boss fights, as well as new elements like shields.

Barone also showed off some of the new game's music — the interview was with Reason Studios, which is the software he uses to craft it — and it's quite good, as you might expect. He showed off an exclusive clip of a bee-themed boss track, and it sounds… well, very bee-oriented.