Five Nights at Freddy's
|Five Nights at Freddy's|
Steam storefront header
|Series||Five Nights at Freddy's|
|Engine||Clickteam Fusion 2.5|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
Five Nights at Freddy's is an indie point-and-click survival horror video game created by Scott Cawthon. The game centers on a fictional pizza restaurant called "Freddy Fazbear's Pizza", where the player must act as a night security guard, defending themselves from the malfunctioning animatronic animal characters by tracking their movement through the facility using security cameras.
Five Nights at Freddy's was first released on August 8, 2014, on Desura. On August 20, 2014, after it was approved by the service's crowdsourcing platform Greenlight, Five Nights at Freddy's was also released via Steam. Mobile ports of the game have been released for Android and iOS.
Five Nights at Freddy's was the top-selling game on Desura for the week ending August 18, 2014, and the game became the subject of a number of popular "Let's Play" videos on YouTube. Three sequels have been released: Five Nights at Freddy's 2 on November 10, 2014, Five Nights at Freddy's 3 on March 2, 2015, and Five Nights at Freddy's 4 on July 23, 2015.
The player must survive their shift, lasting from midnight to 6:00 a.m. (approximately 8 minutes and 36 seconds of real time, 4 minutes and 30 seconds on the mobile and tablet editions), without being attacked by one of the animatronic animal robots roaming the facility. The player, who sits in an office and is unable to move, is given access to a network of security cameras throughout the facility to track the movement of the animatronic robots. Four of the five characters have distinct movement patterns while the fifth, "Golden Freddy", only appears when certain actions are taken; however, most of the characters' movements take place off-screen. The camera feeds are dimly lit and distorted, one of the rooms only contains an audio feed, and the cameras do not cover certain areas of the building, most notably the two hallways directly to the left and right of the player. The player cannot leave the guard room, but can close the doors to defend themselves, and briefly turn on lights in the hallways to check for animatronics. Use of these actions consume the player's limited electrical power; if the power runs out, the cameras become inoperable, the doors open, and the lights go out, leaving the player with no defense against an attack. Once these things happen, music will play, it will go pitch black, and, if the player is not lucky enough to survive to 6 AM in the meantime, Freddy will jumpscare the player, who then loses the game.
The game has five levels comprising five "nights" in the game, which increase in difficulty. Completion of the game unlocks an even more difficult 6th night level, and completion of this level opens up a "Custom Night" level editor where the player can adjust the AI difficulty of the individual characters.
The main character, whose name is later revealed to be Mike Schmidt, has started a job working as a night watch security guard at the restaurant Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. A voicemail message left by Mike's predecessor explains that the animatronic animal characters used at the restaurant, Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie, Chica and the disused Foxy, are able to roam freely around it at night, because if they were left off for too long, their servomotors would lock up. He also adds that the animatronics were no longer allowed to roam freely during the day following an incident referred to as the "Bite of '87", which apparently involved the loss of someone's frontal lobe. The employee warns Mike that if one of the robots encounters a human, they will automatically assume that it is an endoskeleton that is not in costume yet, and "forcefully stuff them" into a spare mechanical Freddy Fazbear costume, killing the person in the process.
Newspaper clippings in the restaurant's east hallway reveal that a reported mass murder occurred on site, when a man lured five children to a back room and supposedly murdered them. Later, the restaurant received complaints that the animatronics began to smell foul and became stained with blood and mucus around the eyes and mouth, with one customer comparing them to "reanimated carcasses". It is revealed by Scott Cawthon that the animatronics are haunted, and in later games it is shown that the kids murdered by the man (later nicknamed "the Purple Guy") are possessing the animatronics.
After the seventh night, Mike is fired from his job for tampering with the animatronics and odor, and the restaurant is then closed down.
Development and release
The idea for Five Nights at Freddy's stems from the negative reception towards Scott Cawthon's previous game, the family friendly Chipper & Sons Lumber Co., as players commented that the main character (a young beaver) as well as the rest of the characters looked like "a scary animatronic animal", with reviewer Jim Sterling calling the game unintentionally "terrifying". Although initially depressed by the poor reception to Chipper & Sons, Cawthon, who had previously mainly developed Christian-oriented games, eventually used it to inspire himself to make something intentionally scarier. In the game, the animatronics themselves are rarely seen moving. This was revealed to be a deliberate choice on Cawthon's part, as he believes that in real life, such robots are scarier this way, telling Indie Gamer Mag "it’s when they are turned off that the veil is lifted, and you realize that they were never alive. They are, and always have been, dead."
Five Nights at Freddy's was first released via Desura on August 8, 2014. On August 20, 2014, after it was approved by the service's crowdsourcing platform Greenlight, Five Nights at Freddy's was also released via Steam. A port for Android was released on August 27, 2014, via Google Play Store. On September 11, 2014, an iOS port was released. The Windows Phone version was published on December 5 and then quickly removed from the store on December 10.
Five Nights at Freddy's was well received. Indie Game Magazine praised Five Nights at Freddy's for its simple take on the horror genre, noting that its artistic direction and gameplay mechanics contributed to a feeling of "brutal tension" — worsened by how a player may be familiar with similar restaurants such as Chuck E. Cheese's, and that "it's an incredibly terrifying experience to try to save yourself from the single jump scare that ends the game". In conclusion, Five Nights at Freddy's was considered a "fantastic example of how cleverness in design and subtlety can be used to make an experience terrifying". However, the game was criticized for taking too long to load when launched.
Omri Petitte for PC Gamer gave Five Nights at Freddy's a score of 80 out of 100, commenting that the game took a "less-is-more" approach to its design, and that, while "the AI isn't some masterwork of procedural unpredictability, it would [still] head straight to you and eat your face off, or it'll play around like an innocent child before closing in for the kill. Your mind will fill in the rest". The game's overall atmosphere was praised for emphasizing the fear and suspense of an approaching threat, rather than the arrival of the threat itself as in other horror-oriented games. However, the gameplay of Five Nights at Freddy's was criticized for becoming repetitive once a player masters it, as there is "not much more to expect beyond managing battery life and careful timing of slamming doors shut, so those with steely willpower won't find anything else past the atmosphere of it all." Ryan Bates of Game Revolution gave the game a 4.5 out of 5; comparing its camera-oriented gameplay to the 1992 game Night Trap, he praised the game's minimalistic presentation (with particular emphasis on its audio design and lack of music) for contributing to the terror of the game, along with the fact that the "nervous impulses" of its repetitive gameplay would "[reach] almost OCD-type levels, adding to the tense environment." In conclusion, he felt that the game was "horror done right", but that it was too short.
Eurogamer's Jeffrey Matulef compared the animatronic animals in the game to Weeping Angels — predatory creatures from the universe of Doctor Who — due to their ability to only move when they are not being observed. Softpedia gave the game 4 out of 5 stars, with reviewer Cosmin Anton noting that it "drifts away from the classic first-person horror survival titles", but that the "inability to move combined with the limited power available will make you feel quite helpless in front of those relentless robots that just want to share a bit of their 'love' with you". Ben Croshaw of Zero Punctuation hailed the game as extremely effective, but expressed doubts about using jumpscares as a central game mechanic.
As of July 2015, the iPhone port of Five Nights at Freddy's is installed an estimated 4,694 times per day, earning a daily revenue of $12,879. During a streaming charity drive on Twitch benefitting St. Jude Children's Research Hospitals, Cawthon gave away $249,999 to the charity helping it raise a total of $256,499 and surpassing the charity's initial goal of $15,000.
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- Couture, Joel (August 7, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's Review – Nightmares and Death at Chuck E Cheese's". Indie Game Magazine. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
- Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's. PC. Scene: Completion of Night 5.
- "Five Nights at Freddy's is nightmare fuel mixed with Chuck E. Cheese's". Destructoid. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's. PC. Scene: Night 1 phone call.
- Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's. PC. Level/area: East Hall.
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- Bates, Ryan (August 27, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's Review". Game Revolution. Evolve Media, LLC. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- Matulef, Jeffrey (August 19, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's brings horrifying animatronic animals to Steam". Eurogamer. Gamer Network Ltd. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- Escapist Magazine
- "PC download charts: 'Five Nights at Freddy's' tears up Desura". Relaxnews. August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- "Five Nights at Freddy's". Think Gaming. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
- Adam Sherrill (March 20, 2015). "Five Nights at Freddy's Creator Donates $250K to Charity". Gamenesia. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
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