Five Nights at Freddy's (video game)

Five Nights at Freddy's is a 2014 point-and-click survival horror video game developed and published by Scott Cawthon. The game takes place in a fictional family pizzeria called "Freddy Fazbear's Pizza", where the player takes the role of a security guard who must defend themselves from the restaurant's animatronic characters that become mobile and homicidal at night.

Five Nights at Freddy's
The Steam storefront header for Five Nights at Freddy's
Steam storefront header
Developer(s)Scott Cawthon
Publisher(s)Scott Cawthon (PC)
Clickteam LLC USA (Console and Mobile)
Designer(s)Scott Cawthon
SeriesFive Nights at Freddy's
EngineClickteam Fusion 2.5
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
iOS
Android
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Nintendo Switch
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
  • WW: August 8, 2014
Android
  • WW: August 24, 2014
iOS
  • WW: September 11, 2014
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • WW: November 29, 2019
Genre(s)Survival horror, point-and-click
Mode(s)Single-player

Cawthon conceived the idea of the game after receiving criticism of his previous game, Chipper & Sons Lumber Co., for its unintentionally frightening characters that had animatronic-like movement. Developed in six months using the Clickteam Fusion 2.5 game engine, Five Nights at Freddy's was released for PC in August 2014 on Desura and Steam. The game was later made available on iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Upon release, the game received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise for its originality, simplicity, and atmosphere, quickly gaining a cult following. It was the top-selling game on Desura for the week ending August 18, 2014, and became the subject of numerous popular "Let's Play" YouTube videos. The game's success led to the launch of a media franchise, including several sequels, spin-offs, books, and merchandise, with a film adaptation in development. The game's popularity has also made it subject to numerous imitations and fangames.

GameplayEdit

 
A gameplay screenshot showing the inside of the protagonist's office, with Chica the Chicken standing in the right hallway

Five Nights at Freddy's is a survival horror video game with point-and-click elements.[1] The player acts as a night security guard for a fictional pizza restaurant, and must complete their shift that lasts from midnight to 6:00 a.m. (several minutes in real time) without being jumpscared by the four animatronic characters that inhabit the facility.[2]

The player, alone in an office, is given access to a network of security camera feeds that provide views of various parts of the restaurant.[3] These feeds are used to track the movement of the mobile animatronics throughout the night. Each animatronic character has distinct movement patterns, and most of this movement takes place off-screen.[4][5] The camera feeds are poorly lit and grainy, and one security camera, located in the kitchen, only provides an audio feed.[3] The cameras do not cover certain areas of the building, most notably the two hallways directly to the left and right of the player, which require checking by lights that the player can control by clicking a button located adjacent to each door in their office.[3] The player cannot leave the office, and must close the office doors for self-defense, achieved by clicking buttons adjacent to each door.[2]

Use of these mechanics consume the player's limited electrical power; if all the power is exhausted, the cameras become inoperable, the doors open and the lights go out.[4][6] The restaurant's main animatronic, Freddy Fazbear, will subsequently appear in the left doorway with flashing lights in his eyes while a music box rendition of "Toreador March" plays.[2] After a random amount of time, the office will go pitch black and Freddy will jumpscare the player, resulting in the game ending, unless the player makes it to 6 a.m. before this occurs. If the player is jumpscared by any of the animatronics, they will be sent to the main menu and must restart from the beginning of the night.[3]

The game has five levels comprising five "nights" in the game, each increasing in difficulty.[2] Finishing the main game unlocks a higher difficulty sixth night,[2] the completion of which subsequently opens up a seventh "custom night" during which the player can adjust the AI difficulty of the animatronic characters.[3] In the game's most difficult challenge, all animatronics are set to their highest level of 20 (often referred to as 20/20/20/20 mode or 4/20 mode).[7]

PlotEdit

The player controls Mike Schmidt, who has signed up for position as a night security officer at a family pizza restaurant called "Freddy Fazbear's Pizza".[8] A voicemail message from Mike's predecessor, whom players refer to as "Phone Guy", plays each night, in which Phone Guy tells Mike about different aspects of the history of the restaurant.[4] Phone Guy explains that the restaurant's four animatronic characters – Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie, Chica and Foxy – become mobile at night due to their servomotors locking up if they are left off for too long.[9] The employee warns Mike that if one of the animatronics encounters a human after hours, it will mistake them for an animatronic endoskeleton without a costume and will "forcefully stuff" them into a spare mechanical Freddy Fazbear costume, killing the person in the process.[10]

Throughout the game, newspaper clippings viewable in the camera feeds and stories mentioned in the voice messages reveal disturbing incidents that occurred in the restaurant's history. The voice message mentions "The Bite of '87", an incident which is implied to have led to the loss of a person's frontal lobe and forced animatronic mobility during the day to be prohibited.[11] Newspaper clippings in the restaurant's east hallway corner reveal that a murder was reported to have occurred on-site, where a man lured five children into a back room, then killed them. Later, the restaurant received complaints that the animatronics began to emit foul odors while blood and mucus leaked from their eyes and mouths, with one customer comparing them to "reanimated carcasses", implying that the children's corpses were stuffed inside the animatronics.[12]

After the fourth night, Phone Guy is implied to have been killed by one of the animatronics while recording the fourth message.[13] A voice message still plays on the fifth night, but it only consists of a garbling sound.[14] Upon completing the fifth and sixth nights, Mike receives paychecks,[15][16] but he is fired once the seventh "custom night" is completed.[17]

Development and releaseEdit

Scott Cawthon created Five Nights at Freddy's after receiving negative reviews towards his previous game, the construction and management game Chipper & Sons Lumber Co. Players commented that characters in the game were unsettling and animatronic-like in appearance, with reviewer Jim Sterling calling the game unintentionally "terrifying".[5][18] Although initially discouraged by this poor reception, Cawthon, who had previously mainly developed Christian-oriented games, eventually used it to inspire himself to make something intentionally scarier.[5] Cawthon developed the game in six months using the Clickteam Fusion 2.5 game engine, and used Autodesk 3ds Max to model the 3D graphics.[19]

Five Nights at Freddy's was first released for PC via Desura on August 8, 2014.[18] On August 18, it was also released via Steam.[20] A port for Android was released on August 25, 2014 on the Google Play Store,[21] and on September 11, 2014, an iOS port was released on the App Store. A Windows Phone version was published on December 5, 2014,[22] and in 2019, ports were released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.[23]

ReceptionEdit

Five Nights at Freddy's received "generally favorable" reviews according to review aggregator website Metacritic, assigning the Windows version a score of 78 out of 100.[24] Indie Game Magazine praised the game for its simple take on the horror genre, labelling the game a "fantastic example of how cleverness in design and subtlety can be used to make an experience terrifying". They noted that its artistic direction and gameplay mechanics contributed to a feeling of "brutal tension", but criticized it for taking too long to load when launched.[3]

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 praising the overall atmosphere 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 was criticized for becoming repetitive once a player masters it, noting players have "not much more to expect beyond managing battery life and careful timing of slamming doors shut."[2] Ryan Bates of GameRevolution gave the game a 9 out of 10, commending the game's minimalistic presentation (particularly its audio design and lack of music) for contributing to the terror of the game, along with its repetitive gameplay that would "[reach] almost OCD-type levels, adding to the tense environment." He opined that the game was "horror done right", but felt it was too short.[25] Shaun Musgrave of TouchArcade gave a rating of 3.5 out of 5, noting the game's reliance on atmosphere to induce fear, opining that "if the atmosphere doesn't get to you, all that's left is a very simple game of red light-green light."[4] Eurogamer's Jeffrey Matulef called the game "wonderfully creative", and compared the animatronic animals in the game to Weeping Angels due to their ability to only move when they are not being observed.[20]

LegacyEdit

Upon release, Five Nights at Freddy's became immensely popular and gained a cult-following.[18][29] It was the top-selling game on Desura for the week ending August 18, 2014,[30] and largely gained popularity due to its inclusion in several popular "Let's Play" videos that were uploaded to YouTube.[31] This success led to the development of the Five Nights at Freddy's video game series and media franchise, beginning with the release of Five Nights at Freddy's 2 in November 2014.[32] Other than video games, the franchise has expanded to include several written works. The first of these, Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes, was published in 2015.[33] In 2017, Blumhouse Productions acquired the rights to make a film adaptation of the game,[34] and is set to release in 2023.[35] The game has also been subject to numerous imitations and fangames,[36][37] and merchandise has been produced by companies such as Funko and McFarlane Toys.[38]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Thier, Dave (May 11, 2015). "'Five Night's At Freddy's' Case Could Be Huge For The Future Of The App Store". Forbes. Retrieved February 15, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Petitte, Omri (August 25, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's review". PC Gamer. Future plc. Retrieved October 22, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Couture, Joel (August 7, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's Review – Nightmares and Death at Chuck E Cheese's". Indie Game Magazine. Archived from the original on April 21, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e Musgrave, Shaun (October 9, 2014). "'Five Nights At Freddy's' Review - One, Two, Freddy's Going To Get You". TouchArcade. Retrieved October 22, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Couture, Joel (September 3, 2014). "IGM Interviews – Scott Cawthon (Five Nights at Freddy's)". Indie Game Magazine. Archived from the original on January 24, 2018. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  6. ^ Conditt, Jessica. "All of the nightmares live in Five Nights at Freddy's". Engadget. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  7. ^ Fern, Brandon (October 23, 2014). "Games We Play: Five Nights at Freddy's". The Live Wire. Retrieved November 2, 2021.
  8. ^ Rouner, Jef (November 10, 2014). "4 Insane Theories About Five Nights at Freddy's". Houston Press. Retrieved December 24, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's. Level/area: Night 1. Phone Guy: So, just be aware, the characters do tend to wander a bit. Uh, they're left in some kind of free roaming mode at night. Uh... Something about their servos locking up if they get turned off for too long.
  10. ^ Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's. Level/area: Night 1. Phone Guy: They'll most likely see you as a metal endoskeleton without its costume on. Now since that's against the rules here at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, they'll probably try to... forcefully stuff you inside a Freddy Fazbear suit. Um, now, that wouldn't be so bad if the suits themselves weren't filled with crossbeams, wires, and animatronic devices, especially around the facial area. So, you could imagine how having your head forcefully pressed inside one of those could cause a bit of discomfort... and death.
  11. ^ Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's. Level/area: Night 1. Phone Guy: Uh, they used to be allowed to walk around during the day too. But then there was The Bite of '87. Yeah. I-It's amazing that the human body can live without the frontal lobe, you know?
  12. ^ Rouner, Jef (November 10, 2014). "4 Insane Theories About Five Nights at Freddy's". Houston Press. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  13. ^ Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's. Level/area: Night 4.
  14. ^ Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's. Level/area: Night 5.
  15. ^ Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's. Scene: Completion of fifth night.
  16. ^ Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's. Scene: Completion of sixth night.
  17. ^ Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's. Scene: Completion of "custom night".
  18. ^ a b c Hernandez, Patricia (February 7, 2015). "Why Five Nights At Freddy's Is So Popular". Kotaku. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  19. ^ Lionet, François (November 4, 2014). "Interview of the author of a top paid game in AppStore". Clickteam. Archived from the original on November 6, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  20. ^ a b Matulef, Jeffrey (August 19, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's brings horrifying animatronic animals to Steam". Eurogamer. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  21. ^ Priestman, Chris (August 27, 2014). "Hit PC horror game Five Nights At Freddy's is now terrifying Android players". Pocket Gamer. Archived from the original on August 29, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  22. ^ Dollison, Jonathan (December 5, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's 1 and 2 creep their way onto the Windows Phone Store". Windows Central. Archived from the original on December 25, 2015.
  23. ^ Fischer, Tyler (November 27, 2019). "Five Nights at Freddy's 1-4 Are Coming to PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch This Week". ComicBook.com. Retrieved December 25, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ a b "Five Nights at Freddy's for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Red Ventures. August 8, 2014. Retrieved October 22, 2021.
  25. ^ a b Bates, Ryan (August 27, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved October 22, 2021.
  26. ^ Clark, Justin (October 3, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's Review". GameSpot. Retrieved February 15, 2022.
  27. ^ Dotson, Carter (September 19, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's Review: Lights Out". Gamezebo. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  28. ^ Vogel, Mitch (December 2, 2019). "Review: Five Nights At Freddy's - Accessible Horror That Loses Its Edge Too Quickly". Nintendo Life. Retrieved March 18, 2022.
  29. ^ "The Best Games of the Decade (2010 - 2019)". IGN. January 26, 2020. Retrieved February 15, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. ^ "PC download charts: 'Five Nights at Freddy's' tears up Desura". Yahoo News. Agence France-Presse. August 18, 2014. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  31. ^ Brey, Betsy (2020). Clarke, M.J.; Wang, Cynthia (eds.). Indie Games in the Digital Age. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 82. ISBN 978-1501356438.
  32. ^ Prescott, Shaun (November 10, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's 2 is now available on Steam". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on January 13, 2016. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  33. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (December 17, 2015). "Five Nights at Freddy's creator releases spin-off novel". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on August 10, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  34. ^ Barkan, Jonathan (March 28, 2017). "Five Nights at Freddy's Movie Being Produced by Blumhouse". Dread Central. Archived from the original on October 31, 2017. Retrieved March 29, 2017.
  35. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (March 13, 2022). "Jason Blum Open To Exhibitors' Ticket Price Hikes For Tentpoles, Theatrical Day & Date; Teases 'Five Nights At Freddy's' – SXSW Studio". Deadline. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  36. ^ Brey, Betsy (2020). Clarke, M.J.; Wang, Cynthia (eds.). Indie Games in the Digital Age. New York. p. 74. ISBN 978-1501356438.
  37. ^ Blake, Vikki (August 23, 2020). "Scott Cawthon is working with fans to bring the best Five Nights at Freddy's fan games to life". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on December 25, 2020. Retrieved December 25, 2020.
  38. ^ Macy, Seth (February 13, 2016). "Build Your Own 8-Bit Five Nights at Freddy's Figures". IGN. Retrieved March 3, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External linksEdit