I recently stumbled upon a game called “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” an independent game released in August 2014. This is as independent as it gets and was made by just one man, Scott Cawthon.
In Five Nights at Freddy’s you play as the nighttime security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, a Chuck E. Cheese’s type of establishment. Only when the lights go out, the animatronics wander around and try to attack you. The point of the game is to survive the night, and I will tell you, it is terrifying!
Here’s the trailer:
If you look at the other videos on Scott’s YouTube Channel, this game definitely stands out from the previous games he’s made. I see “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” “The Desolate Hope,” and “Slumberfish.” Reading more about Scott and the development of Five Nights at Freddy’s, I found out that Scott originally made family friendly games, many of which are Christianity themed.
The turning point came in January of 2014, when he released a game called Chipper & Sons Lumber Co. about a beaver venturing out into the world for the first time. Players and critics blasted him and his hard work saying the characters looked like creepy animatronics. There are even video reviews out there that just say horrible things. Here’s a pic I got from the game’s Google Play Store page:
Obviously, this was incredibly discouraging to Scott and he almost quit making video games all together. Here’s a quote from him about it:
Before I began work on FNaF, I had to choose what game to make out of three potential games, knowing it might be my last try before having to start a new career. I was choosing between a sequel to The Desolate Hope, a remake of my first game – Legacy of Flan, or a new idea about animatronics and security cameras.
He used the criticism that his characters looked like creepy animatronics and flipped it by making a game about incredibly creepy animatronics! If I were in his situation, I honestly can’t say if I would have given up or kept pushing on. Luckily, for all of us he pushed through and the game became a success.
It was such a success that he pushed out Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 in November of 2014, and Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 just this past week! The attention to detail in these games in the storyline shrouded in mystery, the many easter eggs, and rare screens not only makes the games very replayable, but in the process he’s created a very strong fan base. Message boards are filled with people’s theories and speculations, there’s fan art, he’s even inspired animations based off the story!
Not bad, considering he almost quit making games all together a year ago….
He’s even passed the buck in a message on his website when teasing Five Nights at Freddy’s 3, “Please be supportive of others in the community and those making fan-games. It only takes a few kind words to build someone up!”
So, the lesson to be learned here is one that we all have heard 1,000 times: perseverance, patience, learning from shortcomings, hard work, and good quality content will win at the end. A story that’s been told many times, but it really is great to see it happen and experience a part of it, even if you have to endure some failures and jump scares along the way.
Side note: Check out the games on Steam, iOS App Store, and on Google Play. For the record, I’m receiving no benefit from any of these links or Scott Cawthon. I’m just a fan of the games and have drawn inspiration from the story of the development, and this is my way of showing my support.