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‘Five Nights at Freddy’s Creator Responds to Critics

The last year has felt like a fever dream I might expect to have after spending a night trapped inside a Chuck E. Cheese’s, complete with animatronic monsters and a narrative I could never hope to understand. Where other recent genre success stories like Slender: The Eight Pages have fizzled out after a few months, when it was Five Nights at Freddy’s turn to turn to blow up, series’ creator Scott Cawthon smartly kept that momentum going strong with three more sequels.

Five Nights redefined what it means for a game to go viral, and that unbelievable level of success has left Cawthon with a bounty of riches, adoring fans, critics, and haters.

It’s important to separate those last two things, because I often see them used interchangeably when they’re so very different. Most people, including myself, have a tendency to get hyperbolic with their opinions, and when those opinions are negative, that’s when it gets nasty. It’s important to remember that we can be critical of something without hating on it, just as we can enjoy something without claiming it’s the best thing in the world.

I’m guilty of exaggerating my opinions too, so this isn’t a lecture. I’ve worked to rein it in a bit lately, but I still occasionally fall back on those bad habits. I only bring this up in case it helps you realize you might also have this problem, and so I can tell you about a book I’m working on called One Fist; Two Dicks: I’m Adam Dodd & Here’s Why I’m Better, available as soon as I learn how to summon one of those ghost writers I hear fancy illiterate people use for their books.

I honestly don’t know how Scott Cawthon isn’t a pile of dust on the floor, because that’s what I would look like after being grated against a year’s worth of angry word vomit online. Where I would’ve threatened murder on some unsuspecting 12 year-olds, Cawthon’s response showed considerably more class than many of his critics. Here it is in full.

Hi guys. First of all, I wanted to thank the community in general for the huge outpouring of support through emails and in the forums. I know a lot of you are concerned about me or think that I’m stressed out. It’s true that I’m stressed a little; but it’s ok because the result was good. I’ve worked very hard this year, almost non-stop, to produce good games for this series. Even though there may be some debate as to how “good” the games are, I did my best to provide some good scares and a good story. All I can do is judge from the Steam reviews that I’ve been mostly successful; so I’m very happy about that.

It’s true that there has been a lot of hate toward me lately; on the forums, on youtube, etc. And I’ll be honest, it’s difficult. It’s difficult when people seem to dislike you only because you’ve found success with something. I think some people have this idea that I spend my days swimming in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, cranking out games with no effort, then laughing all the way to the bank. The reality is quite different, and I think that people who hate on me for being successful are misguided.

Did you know that last year I was working at Dollar General? I worked as a cashier. I had three bosses who were all still in high school. Before that I worked at Target in the backroom freezer, unloading frozen foods. I haven’t had a successful life; and now that God has blessed me with some success, I’m doing my best to be responsible with that success. I don’t party on weekends, I don’t get drunk or sip martinis. I spend my evenings playing Megaman 3, buster only, with my kids. And I try to do good with what’s been given to me.

I guess the reason I’m telling you all of this is to make sure you know that I’m human. I have a lot of flaws, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. My games aren’t perfect, and they never will be. But something more important that I want to convey to all of you, is that you should never listen to people who criticize success simply because it’s success. Being good at something is something to strive for, not something to demonize. Criticisms of my games are fine, and a lot of times the criticism is valid. But there are a lot of people out there who will hate anything that becomes popular, just because it’s popular, and hate anyone who becomes successful, just because they are successful. “Haters gonna hate.” –as they say, but I want you to know that focusing on someone else’s failure or success is the wrong way to live. People who make videos bashing other people are like people who run into a public square and scream into a pillow. They’ll get attention, but they won’t change anything. If you strive to be like them, then you’ll spend your life screaming into a pillow as well, and your life won’t mean anything.

The best emails I get are from people who have chosen to pursue game development because of the games that I’ve made, or people who have decided to do computer science, or learn programming. Who will be the next game designer? Who will make the next game for Markiplier to play? Make sure that it’s you! People who hate success will never be successful. Focus on your success, and your story. People always ask me what college I recommend, or what programs I recommend. My answer is to just go forward, practice. Just GET to college, study hard, be awesome at what you do. Make sure that you are next year’s big success story. Don’t fall into the pit of people who have given up on making something of themselves, and make sure you make EVERYTHING out of yourself.

I’m getting too old for this. And when I retire someday, I’m going to want to sit down at a computer and play YOUR games, read YOUR stories, and watch YOUR videos. Don’t fall in with the people who have already given up on themselves. You are tomorrow’s next big thing. 🙂

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COMMENTS

26 Comments
  • classy guy, tempted to buy his games just for that statement alone.

    • Weresmurf

      They’re cheap on steam at around 6 – 8 bucks each. Wet your toes with part 1 and see if you like them. But also read up on the lore, which is fascinating stuff.

      Bite of 87…

      Bite of 87…

      Bite of 87…

      Bite of 87…

      :O

  • Mr. Dry

    That is a great response, he could have gone with a straight “FUCK YOU ALL” but this is classy and kinda inspiring. Maybe too many of them (or too many overreacting gameplays on youtube) but I like what he’s doing with his games, so GO SCOTT! or whatever.

  • Vicente Garcia

    The man has given me more legit scares than any horror movie since The Descent, so I’ll forever be thankful to him.

    • Harley Mitchel Dirk

      I love that movie, easily my favourite horror film post-2000.

  • anthony

    that gif is hilarious. great words tho, im not a fan but I respect someone whose humble about their success

  • wehoaks

    Great statement. Well worded and from the heart. Too bad I had to read through five paragraphs of Adam talking about himself to get to the good stuff.

  • ThunderDragoon

    This guy is amazing.

  • Jeremy Parkerson

    Now if only more people had this outlook on life.

  • Kirkio

    I don’t get the FNAF games. I mean I just don’t understand them, at all. The jump scares look great and the lore and character design is interesting, but I just don’t understand how they’d be fun beyond random jump scares. Then again, I’ve never played them so can’t really comment, haha.

    But on topic, this guy sounds great and what he said is so true. The internet is full of arrogant self righteous little shits with extreme keyboard warrior powers and it’s a shame that they can have such an effect on the lives of people that work hard to entertain others.

  • MikeyRey29

    Nice response to the haters. Keep staying classy, Scott Cawthon!

  • James

    I personally think the games are bland and boring, but I don’t understand why so many people would hate him for making them. Not every game is for everyone. Pretty simple.

  • ragethorn

    Not my type of game but I don’t hate the dude. lol Good on him for being successful and targeting a niche market of mobile game players.

  • Did hear of the games and their success but hadn’t play them so I can’t comment on their quality but clearly many like them. Regardless and after reading his response I have a lot of respect for the guy and wish him continued success.

  • huntermc

    Scott Cawthon – the patron saint of jump scares, and a classy guy as well.

  • Brodequin

    Well said…

  • Harley Mitchel Dirk

    Seems like a well mannered and thoughtful guy. I’m not a huge fan of the games. I feel the scares lose their edge fairly fast and can become annoyed with the game mechanics. Though to be fair, they are small scale and pretty cheap. It does it’s job well enough.

  • Grimphantom

    You can’t blame the guy for trying to create something that people will like. When he first started on the video game business he had gotten some harsh criticism of how his characters look so lifeless and animatronic machines to the point he was going to leave the game industry for good till that same criticism work for him for his advantage and created Freddy’s

    Now i’m not a fan of the game as some have seen and i will be honest, when i first heard of this i wasn’t even interested on it till fans of the games where comparing last year episode of Gravity Falls that had killer Animatronic animals and hated how they thought “wow, Gravity Falls is making a reference to 5 Nights at Freddy’s” that really made mad since that episode was done since 2013.

    However, you can’t send hateful comments to the guy since he’s doing something new and we gotta agree that what he came up was good but for me personally it should have turn out better but some like it.

    You do feel some sympathy towards him especially hearing him work on a Dollar General and having some dumb teenagers as your boss, man that really sucks.

    Wish him that what he created can at least come good for him and his family, especially with the whole movie coming.

    • Kenn

      We do not have to agree that what he made was “good” as that would be subjective. I also happen to disagree. They have been successful, yes. But I would use the word “good” to refer to the games in any way other than to say they look “good” on a cell phone screen. Popularity and sales do not equate to something being good, i.e. Transformers movies, Channing Tatum, Call of Duty Series last 10 games, etc…

      He seems like a likeable enough guy though and he happened to turn something completely stupid into a profitable business so whatever. Hope he does well.

  • Quackmaster Black

    I’m glad the dude found success, and the hate is undeserved, but those games are, while initially fun, kinda broken. Again, glad the guy is successful and he’s pretty creative, but I wish those mechanics were in a better refined game.

    Also, these Chuck Taylor ads that cover the article are awful. Couldn’t find anywhere to close the ad, everywhere I clicked brought me to the website to buy them and even that didn’t make the ad go away. All I could do was refresh and then stop loading the website halfway through the process.

    • Chandler Of-Adelaide

      AdBlockPlus.

  • DrHannahLecterAsylmHmnExprmnts

    Fan of the games or not, you gotta give the guy props for even responding to the critics and in a professional manner too. I raise my glass to you Scott. (That GIF at the bottom is hilarious. Nice choice.)

  • suffering

    When your are good in a thing(Youtubers,Indies Developper and others) ,there is always some haters…Hmm?…..nope….the appropriate words are “Lazy Jealous Dumbass who can”t do anything from their lives expect Sitting down and Criticise People Works ,or they just think that 2.0 Works consist to sit in a place an play with their fingers………or fap

  • VoodooRocker

    I feel bad for him epode assume because his games are popular you are making good money off it. Even if he was, when you add in cost of needed things like equipment it’s never near what people think. Even most you tubers even the successful ones generally don’t make that much especially when you consider that it pays for house, car,living expenses and the stuff needed to do your youtube stuff (camera, laptop ect…) you most likely aren’t left over with a lot.

  • I am genuinely surprised at the supportive responses here, but glad to read them. He has a great point and it would be nice if most of the trolls that usually flood comment sections (even these here) had a modicum of perspective like this.

  • Werewolf

    Best of luck to that dude. He worked his ass off and earned his spot.

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