Five Nights at Freddy’s was sort of a complete surprise. The developer, Scott Cawthon, started out making some pretty atrocious looking Christian kid’s games. The same visual style that made his kids game horrifying actually worked well for his horror games. Add a dash of overreacting on YouTube and you’ve got the apparent recipe for success.
Since the series started out, there have been six main series games, three spin-offs, and several books. There’s also supposedly a movie, but God alone knows what is happening with that. The most recent addition to the ever-expanding series has just come out: Five Nights at Freddy’s AR: Special Delivery. Yay.
Six games is a lot to have released over the past five years. Especially for indie games. It goes to show just how simple the series’ main concept actually is. All of the games are basically the same. You stand stock still and try to defend yourself from evil animatronics who want to kill you in needlessly violent ways.
The main thing that has kept the series relevant, other than markiplier, is its backstory. If you’re not aware because you’ve avoided the games like the plague, let me fill you in. Although the games do not have a story directly, they each contain clues at a secret backstory.
As these games have come out, this backstory has slowly been filled with ghosts, murderers and more twists and turns than the world’s most violent roller coaster. It’s got to the point that the story is now more complicated than Kingdom Hearts.
It seems very clear that Scott Cawthon had no idea how successful FNAF would end up being. It also seems very likely that the story was never intended to go as out of control as it did. That’s why we’ve got numerous different versions of the narrative, and on top of that the theories about what is going on tend to be better than the truth is.
Five Nights at Freddy’s AR: Special Delivery is the first major sign that the series has outstayed its welcome. The game is a shallow attempt at jumping on the AR bandwagon alongside Niantic. It has you walking around the real world to collect your own terrifying animatronic creatures.
It’s not clear why you would want to do this, both from a lore perspective and just in general. Not only is it a buggy, monetization-riddled generic AR game, but it just doesn’t seem to bring anything to the series. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t expand the lore. Then again, the lore is always pretty impenetrable so who knows. There’s probably a secret pixel out of place somewhere that changes everything.
The real problem with a series that doesn’t know how to die is that nothing can ever be wrapped up successfully. Several times it has appeared that the tangled web of backstory has been wrapped up but then another game comes out. At this point, I and many others just want to know where the story is going.
My other problem with the series going on forever is the fact that it means Cawthon doesn’t get to try anything else out. Five Night’s at Freddy’s should not be the only thing he is known for. Even if he moves onto another horror game, that would be better than Infinite Nights at Freddy’s.
Plus licensing out FNAF to so many terrible products is starting to make him look he’s really in it for the money, so it’d be nice to see him prove that theory wrong.