- Haunted Chocolatier could benefit from adding a proper ending to its story, unlike Stardew Valley which has an open-ended narrative.
- While Haunted Chocolatier may have a different narrative style, not including a concrete and moving plot with an actual ending would be a missed opportunity.
- Although Haunted Chocolatier should have a conclusive ending, it can still offer longevity and replayability through features like New Game Plus and extended prologues.
Haunted Chocolatier will likely carry over a number of Stardew Valley‘s mechanics, design pillars, and aesthetic qualities, but one major part of the latter’s story might be fit for an adjustment in the upcoming game. While there are certain aspects of Stardew Valley that Haunted Chocolatier will likely improve upon, the approach to story should perhaps be completely overhauled, leading to a drastically different experience.
Stardew Valley is often considered one of the most replayable games of all time. However, the term ‘replayable’ is a bit of a misnomer: while there is certainly an appeal to starting a brand-new Stardew Valley save file, it’s not something that is particularly encouraged or rewarded, as players can enjoy all the game’s content (with a few notable exceptions) in a single playthrough. In reality, Stardew Valley follows in the footsteps of games like Animal Crossing, which allow players to spend dozens, if not hundreds, of hours in a single playthrough, as the gameplay loop is essentially endless, with no concrete or defined conclusion to the low-stakes narrative. Now, Haunted Chocolatier could tweak this approach.
Haunted Chocolatier Needs to Go All In on One Classic Management Sim Mechanic
Haunted Chocolatier gives players their own chocolate shop to run, and it could step up the management aspect with one feature.
Stardew Valley’s Story Is Endless, But Haunted Chocolatier’s Doesn’t Have To Be
Given player expectations and genre conventions, it’s likely that Haunted Chocolatier will have a lot of content. While this will have its benefits, allowing players to sink plenty of time into progression systems that will hopefully be satisfying, the game could also benefit from adding one major element: a proper ending to its story.
A Real Ending Could Benefit Haunted Chocolatier’s Narrative
Stardew Valley is light on linear storytelling, but it does have a plot. The game centers on the player-character rejecting fast-paced modern culture and choosing a life of peace and simplicity on their late grandfather’s land. Given this premise, Stardew Valley players are free to make their own stories, form friendships, start a family, and either invest in their community or help to corrupt it via the Joja Corporation.
Though the game has something of a soft ending in year three, when the grandpa character’s spirit comes and evaluates the player’s success and choices, it’s far from conclusive. The game goes on like usual, and players can still make any number of decisions that alter their NPC relationships and the state of Pelican Town.
While this lack of closure isn’t too big of a deal considering the game’s inherent lack of an involved narrative, it is something of a missed opportunity. Haunted Chocolatier will likely have a different narrative style, so it could perhaps feature a more concrete, and therefore more moving, plot by including an actual ending.
Haunted Chocolatier Could Still Have Stardew Valley-Style Endgame Content
Of course, most players probably wouldn’t appreciate having all their hard work wiped away at the end of the story, and some sort of long-term endgame goal is vital for a management or life sim. That said, a firm and conclusive ending wouldn’t preclude this sort of longevity, as the rest of the game could be framed as a sort of extended prologue similar to a game like Red Dead Redemption 2.
Better yet, Haunted Chocolatier could feature New Game Plus. This could be a worthwhile expansion of Stardew Valley‘s approach to replayability, as players could try out different starting configurations or story choices, but with all their previous upgrades and items. New Game Plus would encourage fresh playthroughs and experimentation since players wouldn’t have to start from scratch every time.
Some players will naturally be drawn to the idea of a ‘forever game’, but others may want a defined experience that offers a satisfying place to bow out. If Haunted Chocolatier could give a more conclusive ending to its narrative while still offering the longevity of Stardew Valley in other ways, it could satisfy both groups.
Haunted Chocolatier is an upcoming adventure game from Stardew Valley creator ConcernedApe (Eric Barone). The game is currently set to feature a lush explorable world, chocolate making and cooking, a spooky theme, and more. There is currently no release date or time period for the game.