Even if you’re not into horror, if you’ve been on YouTube anytime in the last decade, you’ve probably heard of Five Nights at Freddy’s–or FNAF, as it’s known to fans. Classically played by famous YouTubers such as Jacksepticeye and the game series’ own self-proclaimed king, Markiplier, FNAF is one of the most popular horror games of all time. Not what you’d expect from a series that started out with a character sitting alone in an office, trying not to die to a band of killer animatronics. But does anyone know why this game got so popular, or where it got its start?
Scott Cawthon’s Rise
Unknown to most, the creator of Five Nights at Freddy’s–Scott Cawthon–got his start in the early 2010s making very different kinds of games. His first games such as Legacy of Flan and The Desolate Hope, were made out of Cawthon’s religious faith as a devout Christian. Later, he also attempted to create a fun little family-friendly game Chipper & Sons Lumber Co, which received unfavorable reviews, namely that the game’s characters were creepy and looked unsettling.
For a while, Cawthon nearly let this crush his dreams, even becoming depressed and causing him to question his faith. But later, he decided to turn this very weakness into a strength, taking these creepy characters and transforming them into one of the most successful horror franchises in gaming history–one with multiple sequels, a book series, and an upcoming movie, no less. As a game designer myself, I have always been inspired by Cawthon’s story, taking the negative and turning it into a positive.