The Game Developer That Cried Wolf

The Game Developer That Cried Wolf

Whether you’re a fan or despise the bandwagon effect that has taken over, everyone has heard of Five Nights At Freddy’s.

You know, the 2014 indie game created by Christian game developer Scott Cawthon that featured homicidal animatronic animals that sought to murder security guards and hide their bodies into suits. Easter Eggs hidden throughout the game revealed that the corpses of dead children were already hidden inside the haunted animatronics, resulting in the adorable creatures to be stained and reportedly smell rotten.

Not really a Christian game, but mmkay.

Five Nights At Freddy’s simplistic yet captivating gameplay made it a viral sensation, and Cawthon quickly developed a sequel to the game, which was released a mere three months after the original. Five Nights At Freddy’s 2 is my personal favourite in the series, and it took what made the first game so addicting and charged the chaos up to 11. Five Nights At Freddy’s 2 also fleshed out the lore that began with the first game, which was the smartest thing Cawthon could have done.

From August 2014 through present day, there are now four Five Nights At Freddy’s main arc games, spinoff game Sister Location, RPG game FNAF World, and two novels. And although many people complain that Cawthon is “milking the series”, the lore keeps them coming back.

None of the Five Nights At Freddy’s releases have completely solved the mystery. They all weave through different parts of the timeline, connecting things to one another. But the mystery is not done, even though fans have now spent three years obsessing over what must be the one true ending.

YouTuber Matthew Patrick (a.k.a. “MatPat” from The Game Theorists) has nearly driven himself insane trying to solve the mystery by analyzing every bit of information from the games and the novels. And just when he feels like he is close, Cawthon releases something new that completely destroys Patrick’s prior theory. It is confirmed that Cawthon watches and enjoys Patrick’s videos, so one has to wonder if he is continuing the series on purpose just to see with new theory Patrick will develop as a result…

With the second novel being released on June 27th, 2017, everyone’s attention shifted to the upcoming release of the next Five Nights At Freddy’s game. However, on June 30th, Cawthon dropped a bombshell on his Steam account: he was cancelling the new game due to stress.

Instead of sympathy and understanding, Cawthon’s post was met with skepticism. Because it’s Scott Cawthon. Cawthon responded, “Yes, I need a break. No, it’s not a troll. (Would I ever troll you guys?)”

Yes. Yes, he would.

Shortly before the release of the Sister Location game in October 2016, Cawthon posted that he no longer wished to release the game in its present state because it was “too dark” and wasn’t what he had initially envisioned. He said that he would delay the game’s release and make it into a much lighter version.

Fans quickly responded that Cawthon had built a multimillion-dollar franchise around murderous robots, dead children, ghostly apparitions, and bad guys that were literally skewered alive and left to bleed to death. As a result, they highly doubted that Sister Location was too dark for release.

A mopey Cawthon eventually decided to release the game in installments since his fans were so demanding, although he was not pleased with their reaction. He released the first installment on GameJolt later that day, and the world quickly realized that it had been trolled.

The game Cawthon posted was a reskinned Freddy Fazbear version of Cawthon’s 2012 mobile game Sit ‘N Survive, in which players sit in the wilderness and withstand attacks from various animals and hazardous weather by managing their stats.

Shortly after posting this free demo, Cawthon announced, “The game’s not delayed, see you Friday.” And with that, Sister Location was released on schedule on Friday, October 07th, 2016.

As promised, the game was very dark. Literally. For most of the game, you are crawling around in the darkness with a sparingly used flashlight, trying to blindly avoid the animatronics that want to devour your face. A clever play on words by Cawthon.

Back to present day, most fans are once again skeptical that Cawthon is simply twisting our leg. Cawthon realized long ago that his fans enjoy theorizing and overly-theorizing over every detail in his games and every word he says. It seems that he is now using that to his advantage, and is playing a cat and mouse game with the world while placing the finishing touches on his new masterpiece.

Whatever the game may be and whenever it may be released, be sure to follow me on Twitter @TheAngieChu, and I’ll share any updates as the plot inevitably thickens.

Angela Nicole Chu

Angela Nicole is a published novelist and Twitch streamer from Louisville, Kentucky. Her third novel, Accidental Vampire, is slated for release Winter 2018. In her free time, she can be found working out or listening to music. You can follow her ramblings at Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.