Last week, Five Nights at Freddy’s creator Scott Cawthon confirmed that he had been working on the next game in the series, before promptly announcing it’s cancellation. Cawthon cited the growing expectations of his especially enthusiastic fanbase as part of his struggles. “Each game SHOULD be better than the last! But that pressure starts to mount, and I fear that I’ve been neglecting other things in my life for the sake of trying to keep up with those mounting expectations,” he wrote in a Steam update.
“So, after giving this a lot of thought; I’ve decided that I’m going to stop working on it. I’m not going to reveal anything else about what the game was, and I’ve asked other people involved to never divulge anything either. It’s just not going to be talked about.” Naturally, everyone quickly accepted this explanation and got on with their lives. Just kidding, fans are still holding out hope that this is yet another elaborate prank from the creator. To be fair, Scott has only himself to blame that fans are reluctant to believe him.
Let’s just say this wouldn’t be the first time Scott had lied outright about a game’s development. After the surprise success of the first Five Nights at Freddy’s in August of 2014 a sequel was immediately released in November of 2014. This quickly fueled the fire for gamers to begin making connections and filling in the blanks of the game’s lore. With fans now fully invested Scott suddenly had far more expectations to contend with going forward.
His Scottgames website saw an influx of fans carefully dissecting source code and image names for any clues about his next project. All the sudden attention, while exciting, also demonstrated how much expectations for the series had grown from its point-and-click survival horror roots.
When Scott posted an update to the Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 Steam page that he had been hacked and that someone had released the game early fans were shocked. As a result Cawthon declared that he was canceling the game, much to the fans dismay. Except, it was all an elaborate troll. The link Scott posted to the so-called leaked game actually directed fans to another of his creations, a run and jump formerly called There Is No Pause Button! The nearly impossible game featured an avatar wearing a Freddy Fazbear head as it sprints across the levels. Scott subsequently updated the announcement reassuring fans that he hadn’t actually been hacked and that development on FNaF 3 was still going strong.
Cut to the lead up to the series 5th installment, Sister Location. A few days before the game was set to release Scott again posted an announcement on Steam saying that this newest iteration was “too dark” for him to feel comfortable releasing. As a solution to his moral quandary he offered to release a “mature” version of Sister Location as a stand alone experience, independent from the story and lore of the series. Cawthon provided a link to the first chapter of this more graphic version, but encouraged true fans of the series to wait for the official, delayed release. Once again, it was all an elaborate ruse.
Fans brave enough to click on the GameJolt link were treated to yet another of Cawthon’s Freddy masked remakes, this time of his 2012 project, Sit ‘N Survive. The next day, Scott edited the post letting fans know that the game wasn’t actually delayed and would be arriving on Friday.
Fool Me Three Times…
Given his history of playing games with fan’s hearts, it’s understandable that people would be skeptical of this newest announcement. While he sounds sincere when talking about the pressure to meet expectations, this isn’t the first time he’s played that card.
From the Sister Location Delay announcement:
“The problem is that the franchise has grown too much. There is too much of a spotlight on this for me to really do what I want to do. Even the news sites jumped all over this and mocked me for delaying the game. It just makes things difficult, because I don’t feel like I can really do the right thing anymore.”
Scott has since updated his FNaF 6 announcement in an attempt to clarify that he really does need a break from the series and seriously isn’t trolling (this time). Except, like the boy who cried Fazbear, nobody completely believes him.
So, where does that leave FNaF 6? Completely and utterly unpredictable, which come to think of it is probably exactly how Scott would want it, you know if he were just trolling. FNaF has taken on a life of it’s own, what with the merchandise, books, and the upcoming movie. It’s all grown so much bigger than anyone could have predicted. It’s perfectly understandable that Scott really just needs a break. And yet, would anyone really be overly surprised if the next game came out tomorrow? Or next Week?
The only thing we know for sure is that fans are eagerly anticipating whatever Scott comes up with next.