This article possibly contains original research. (January 2023)
Scott Braden Cawthon is an American former video game developer and writer. He is the creator of the Five Nights at Freddy's (FNaF) media franchise of video games, books, and an upcoming film adaptation.
Bell County, Texas, U.S.
Born in Texas, Cawthon started out developing Christian adventure games which were financially unsuccessful. His family-friendly title Chipper & Sons Lumber Co. (2013) was criticized for its animal characters resembling "scary" animatronics. His situation led him to depression and a crisis of faith until he decided to create an indie horror game featuring intentionally scary animatronics. The unexpected success of Five Nights at Freddy's (2014) was primarily the result of Let's Plays. Cawthon followed it with three sequels and the spin-off FNaF World over the course of the next year.
Cawthon's next FNaF projects were a novel trilogy co-written with Kira Breed-Wrisley, a guidebook and the sequels Sister Location (2016) and Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator (2017). He then partnered with Steel Wool Studios for the virtual reality game Help Wanted (2019) and the higher-budget Security Breach (2021), which received a mixed reception. In 2021, Cawthon stepped away from video game development after online backlash of his political donations to Republican Party politicians arose. A film adaptation of FNaF, for which Cawthon co-wrote the screenplay, is scheduled to be released on October 27, 2023.
Cawthon's first game was the role-playing game Legacy of Flan. A devout Christian, he began developing Christian adventure games such as Pilgrim's Progress, a JRPG-like title based on the 1678 religious allegory of the same name, and The Desolate Hope (both 2012). The latter is set in a dystopia where life is suppressed by "robotic outgrowths" which sprout from the ground. It received praise, but its plot—in which the player must rescue a fetus used as a scientific specimen—was criticized as a perceived allusion to Cawthon's opposition to abortion. Cawthon was also a member of a group of Christian developers named Hope Animation, and made animated Christian films.
According to Cawthon, his Christian games received positive reviews but were financially unsuccessful; he worked at Target and Dollar General stores as late as 2014. Cawthon's family-friendly Chipper & Sons Lumber Co. (2013) was criticized by reviewers such as Jim Sterling, who described the game as "unintentionally terrifying" and its beaver protagonist as resembling a "scary animatronic animal". His situation led him into depression and a crisis of faith, and he attempted to pursue other professions. Eventually, Cawthon restored his faith and decided to make something intentionally scarier. This was the impetus for Five Nights at Freddy's.
Five Nights at Freddy's
Cawthon submitted Five Nights at Freddy's to Steam's Greenlight system in summer 2014, releasing a trailer and later a demo. He then submitted it to IndieDB, where it gained popularity, and submitted the game a third time to Desura. The game was accepted in Steam's Greenlight in August 2014. The game was well received by critics, and became the subject of numerous popular Let's Play videos on YouTube. A sequel, Five Nights at Freddy's 2, was released later that year on Steam. Soon after the release of Five Nights at Freddy's 2, Cawthon removed all information from his personal website and replaced it with an image of the word "offline". His website began to show teaser images promoting Five Nights at Freddy's 3, which was released in March 2015.
Five Nights at Freddy's 4 was released in 2015, with a free Halloween update following. The development of a new game, titled FNaF World, was announced, ditching the formula of the other games and was instead a role-playing video game. It was released on January 21, 2016. FNaF World received mixed reviews due to glitches and other issues, and Cawthon pulled it from Steam four days later. An altered version was released on Game Jolt for free on February 8.
On May 21, 2016, Cawthon released a teaser trailer for Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location, featuring two new animatronics as well as circus-themed variations of the Foxy and Freddy characters from the series. The game was released on October 7, 2016, and was generally well received. Cawthon released an update on December 2, with "Golden Freddy Mode" being added to the update soon after.
On July 3, 2017, Cawthon announced the cancellation of a sixth main installment to Five Nights at Freddy's, after previously stating a month earlier that a sixth game was in development. He opined that he had been neglecting other aspects of his life but said that he was not planning to abandon the series and was considering developing a FNaF World-styled spin-off game in the future. However, with the release of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator on December 4, 2017, this was confirmed to be a joke.
On June 28, 2018, the seventh main installment to the series, Ultimate Custom Night, was released on Steam for free. It features over 50 characters from the franchise. In Cawthon's Upcoming Projects post on Steam, he noted that the deals for the console ports have been signed, as well as more info on the virtual reality and augmented reality games. He announced a new book series, Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights.[unreliable source] On August 27, 2018, Cawthon commented on a post regarding Fredbear's true voice in Ultimate Custom Night, "I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of Kellen in the FNAF universe. His work isn't done yet," hinting that he was possibly developing an eighth game.
In early 2019, Cawthon announced he had joined with video game studio Steel Wool Studios, with whom he intended to develop additional Five Nights at Freddy's games, and that he would primarily responsible for storylines, character design, and gameplay. On May 28, 2019, Cawthon released the teased virtual reality game, Five Nights at Freddy's: Help Wanted for both PC and PlayStation VR. A DLC update, Curse of Dreadbear, was released on October 23, 2019.
In September 2019, a teaser and announcement trailers were posted to Illumix's YouTube channel regarding the AR game. The title was revealed to be Five Nights at Freddy's: Special Delivery. It was released for free on November 25, 2019, to iOS and Android.
On August 8, 2019, during the first game's fifth anniversary, Cawthon posted a new image on his website, teasing the tenth installment of the series. It shows a modernized shopping mall containing a laser tag arena, an arcade, a large cinema, and a Freddy Fazbear's Pizza restaurant; in the main square, '80s-style versions of Freddy Fazbear, Chica, and two new animatronics can be seen playing for an excited crowd. On September 29, 2019, Cawthon's website was updated with a new teaser featuring "Glamrock Freddy" and was followed by an updated teaser featuring the character Vanny from Five Nights at Freddy's: Help Wanted as a shadow. On March 24, 2020, another teaser featuring a brand new alligator-like character was posted, later revealed to be called Montgomery Gator. On April 21, 2020, the characters' names were leaked from Funko's list of upcoming products, and the title was revealed as Five Nights at Freddy's: PizzaPlex. A few hours later, on April 22, 2020, Scott Cawthon confirmed the leaks via Reddit and revealed that the title is not official and that the title is only for Funko. Cawthon announced that the game was scheduled to release in late 2020. On June 12, 2020, another teaser was released, featuring the game's antagonist, an unnamed female security guard. On August 7, 2020, a teaser of Vanny was released. One day later, Cawthon revealed the characters Glamrock Chica and Roxanne Wolf via Reddit.
On August 21, 2020, Cawthon announced his plan to help fund and publish Five Nights at Freddy's games developed by fans, bundled with previous installments in their respective series. He will not be involved in any of the creative elements but will help with marketing and publishing support as well as appropriate licensing. The games that were announced to be included were One Night at Flumpty's series, the Five Nights at Candy's series, The Joy of Creation: Ignited Collection (consisting of the original The Joy of Creation, The Joy of Creation: Reborn, and The Joy of Creation: Story Mode), Popgoes Evergreen (including the prologue game Popgoes Arcade), and Five Nights at Freddy's Plus, a reimagining of the original game. Cawthon stated that these games will likely come to mobile and consoles and may even have merchandise created for them. The first game to be released under this initiative was a port of One Night at Flumpty's for Android and iOS on October 31 and November 18, 2020, respectively. The second game to be released was a port of its sequel One Night at Flumpty's 2 on January 20, 2021, again for Android and iOS. The next game to be released was One Night at Flumpty's 3 on October 31, 2021, for PC and mobile devices, and for consoles at a later date.
On September 16, 2020, during a PlayStation 5 Showcase, it was revealed that Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach would come to PlayStation 5 featuring real-time ray tracing and free-roam gameplay. Its initial release will be on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC and will come to other platforms three months later. In December 2020, Cawthon posted that Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach was delayed to 2021 stating the game's scope was too great to be finished by the end of 2020.
On June 16, 2021, Cawthon posted a message on his website announcing his retirement from public game development and expressing gratitude towards his followers for their ongoing support. He stated that he wished to retire in order to spend more time with his children. He intended to appoint a successor to ensure that the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise would continue, while he himself would continue to occupy a lesser role in its development.
In December 2015, Cawthon released teasers for his first novel, Five Nights at Freddy's: The Untold Story, later renamed Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes. The book was released on December 17, 2015, as an ebook for Amazon; a paperback edition is available. According to Cawthon, the book was released earlier than its planned release date due to a mistake on Amazon's part. On June 24, 2016, Cawthon announced that he had made a three-book deal with Scholastic Corporation and that the first book (The Silver Eyes) would be reprinted on paperback in October that year, with the second and third being released in 2017 and 2018.
On June 27, 2017, Cawthon's second novel, Five Nights at Freddy's: The Twisted Ones, was released. It was the sequel to The Silver Eyes, and its story follows the main character, Charlie, who is "drawn back into the world of her father's frightening creations" when she tried to get over the events of The Silver Eyes. On August 29, 2017, Cawthon released the first official guidebook of Five Nights at Freddy's, entitled The Freddy Files. It contains character profiles, easter eggs, advice for playing the games, and theories sprouted from the franchise.
On December 26, 2017, Cawthon released the second guidebook for Five Nights at Freddy's called Survival Logbook. Unlike previous book releases, Survival Logbook has no listed Amazon Kindle editions, implying that it has pages designed for physical writing as opposed to simply reading from a device. The book, disguised as a normal children's activity book, contains many things to do, including a word search, grid drawing, and fill-in-the-blank activities, however, all of these were found to hold secrets involving the lore.
On December 26, 2019, the first book in the eleven-book series, Fazbear Frights #1: Into the Pit was released on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats. The next ten books also had their release dates and titles announced over time.
Warner Bros. Pictures announced in April 2015 that it had acquired the rights to adapt the series to film. Roy Lee, David Katzenberg, and Seth Grahame-Smith were set to produce. Grahame-Smith stated that they would collaborate with Cawthon "to make an insane, terrifying and weirdly adorable movie". In July 2015, Gil Kenan signed to direct the adaptation and co-write it with Tyler Burton Smith.
In January 2017, Cawthon stated that partially due to "problems within the movie industry as a whole", the film "was met with several delays and roadblocks" and it was "back at square one", but he promised "to be involved with the movie from day one this time, and that's something extremely important to me. I want this movie to be something that I'm excited for the fanbase to see."
In March 2017, Cawthon posted a picture to Twitter of himself at Blumhouse Productions, suggesting the film had a new production company. In May 2017, producer Jason Blum confirmed the news, saying he was excited and working closely with Cawthon on the adaptation. In June 2017, Gil Kenan said he was no longer directing the Five Nights at Freddy's film after Warner Bros. Pictures' turnaround.[non-primary source needed] On February 13, 2018, Blumhouse Productions revealed on Twitter that Chris Columbus would be working on the film as a director, alongside producing it with Blum and Cawthon.
In August 2018, Cawthon posted a Steam forum, in which he states that the film will be based on the first game and that if second and third movies are made, they will be based on the second and third game, respectively.[non-primary source needed] Later that same month, Blum tweeted that the film had a planned release window of 2020.[non-primary source needed] In November 2018, Cawthon announced that the film's script had been scrapped and it would be further delayed.
On November 20, 2020, Cawthon made a post on Reddit discussing the several scrapped screenplays for the film, followed by the announcement that the film does have a finished screenplay and will begin filming in spring 2021. However, Blum revealed in September 2021 that the film still had script issues and that Columbus was no longer attached to the project as director. In October 2022, Emma Tammi was announced to direct the film in addition to co-writing alongside Cawthon and Seth Cuddeback.
In November 2019, Cawthon announced that he would be creating a game specifically for a fundraising event for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital hosted by YouTuber MatPat, who would play the game with fellow YouTubers Dawko and Markiplier on a livestream. The game, Freddy in Space 2, was released December 3 on Game Jolt, and included dollar amounts hidden throughout that dictated how much Cawthon would donate following the stream. He boasted that a total of US$500,000 was available to find, but warned that it was difficult and that he doubted they would be able to find it all, as his playtester had taken five hours to complete the game. Originally, the game had a two-hour slot to be featured in the livestream; however, Markiplier continued playing after the stream had ended and managed to find a final hidden US$100,000 that raised the total donation figure to US$451,200. Cawthon went on to donate the full US$500,000 to St. Jude's.
In June 2021, Cawthon became a trending topic on Twitter when his publicly available political donations were shared on the website. Excluding one donation to Democratic Party representative Tulsi Gabbard, all of Cawthon's donations were to Republican Party politicians, including U.S. President Donald Trump. He posted on Reddit to confirm his support for the Republican Party, describe himself as pro-life, and state that he made significant financial donations to conservative political candidates. He claimed that he had been doxed and had received threats of violence and home invasion after his donations were publicized. While the reaction to his post was mostly positive on Reddit, it was mixed on other social media platforms such as Twitter, where some members of the LGBT community reacted negatively. Days later, Cawthon announced his intention to step away from professional game development and appoint someone else to assume creative control of the franchise.[text–source integrity?]
|2003||The Fifth Paradox|
|RPG Max 2|
|Phantom Core: The Moon Mission|
|Ships of Chaos|
|Legacy of Flan|
|Legacy of Flan 2: Flans Online|
|Legacy of Flan 3: Storm of Hades|
|Metroid: Ripped Worlds|
|Legend of White Whale|
|2006||The Misadventures of Sigfried the Dark Elf on a Tuesday Night|
|Bogart 2: Return of Bogart|
|Light from Above|
|Legacy of Flan 4: Flan Rising|
|The Desolate Room|
|2011||The Powermon Adventure!|
|Doomsday Picnic RPG|
|Slumberfish!: Catching Z's|
|The Pilgrim's Progress: The Video Game|
|2012||The Desolate Hope|
|2013||Aquatic Critters Slots|
|Vegas Fantasy Jackpot|
|Vegas Wild Slots|
|Mafia! Slot Machine|
|Platinum Slots Collection|
|Chipper and Sons Lumber Co.|
|Bad Waiter Tip Calculator|
|Snap-A-Game: Classic RPG|
|Jumbo Slots Collection|
|Pimp My Dungeon|
|There is No Pause Button!|
|Fighter Mage Bard|
|Use Holy Water!|
|20 Useless Apps|
|Vegas Fantasy Slots|
|Scott's Fantasy Slots|
|VIP Woodland Casino|
|8-Bit RPG Creator|
|Bible Story Slots|
|Magnum Slots Collection|
|Kitty in the Crowd|
|Sit 'N' Survive|
|Five Nights at Freddy's|
|Five Nights at Freddy's 2|
|2015||Five Nights at Freddy's 3|
|Five Nights at Freddy's 4|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location|
|2017||Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator|
|2018||Ultimate Custom Night|
|2019||Five Nights at Freddy's: Help Wanted|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Special Delivery|
|Freddy in Space 2|
|2021||Security Breach: Fury's Rage|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach|
|2023||Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach - Ruin|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Help Wanted 2|
|2002||Birdvillage: The Movie|
|Birdvillage Beak's Vacation|
|Birdvillage Beak's Adventure|
|Birdvillage Beak's Snowball Fight|
|Birdvillage Second Nest|
|2003||A Mushsnail Tale|
|Return to Mushsnail: The Legend of the Snowmill|
|2004||Noah's Ark: Story of the Biblical Flood|
|2005||The Pilgrim's Progress|
|2006||A Christmas Journey: About the Blessings God Gives|
|2010||Bible Plays series|
|Rock 'N Learn series|
|The Jesus Kids' Club series|
|2023||Five Nights at Freddy's|
|2015||Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes|
|2017||Five Nights at Freddy's: The Twisted Ones|
|2018||Five Nights at Freddy's: The Fourth Closet|
|2019||Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes: The Graphic Novel|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #1: Into the Pit|
|2020||Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #2: Fetch|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #3: 1:35AM|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #4: Step Closer|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #5: Bunny Call|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #6: Blackbird|
|2021||Five Nights at Freddy's: The Twisted Ones: The Graphic Novel|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #7: The Cliffs|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #8: Gumdrop Angel|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #9: The Puppet Carver|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #10: Friendly Face|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #11: Prankster|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: The Fourth Closet: The Graphic Novel|
|2022||Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights #12: Felix the Shark|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Tales from the Pizzaplex #1: Lally's Game|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Tales from the Pizzaplex #2: HAPPS|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights: Graphic Novel Collection #1|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Tales from the Pizzaplex #3: Somniphobia|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Tales from the Pizzaplex #4: Submechanophobia|
|2023||Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights: Graphic Novel Collection #2|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Tales from the Pizzaplex #5: The Bobbiedots Conclusion|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Tales from the Pizzaplex #6: Nexie|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Tales from the Pizzaplex #7: Tiger Rock|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights: Graphic Novel Collection #3|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Tales from the Pizzaplex #8: B7-2|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights: Graphic Novel Collection #4|
|2024||Five Nights at Freddy's: Tales from the Pizzaplex #9|
|Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights: Graphic Novel Collection #5|
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