Freddy Fazbear is scary, but his creator’s political donations are scarier.
Scott Cawthon is the creator of the landmark jump-scare horror game Five Nights at Freddy’s. The game is beloved by teens everywhere and has gone on to become one of the gaming industry’s most successful franchises. The spooky Curse of Chucky meets Chuck-E-Cheese game is wildly popular among casual gamers and veterans alike, and is particularly adored by the LGBTQ community. You can imagine the heartbreak when fans found out that Cawthon had donated thousands of dollars to anti-LGBTQ Republican political candidates. In a statement to Reddit, Cawthon expressed his support for Donald Trump, saying he was “the best man to fuel a strong economy and stand up to America’s enemies abroad, of which there are many.”
Scott Cawthon has failed to understand what America’s evangelicals pretended to figure out a long time ago: Donald Trump is a bad dude. Maybe Cawthon got swept up in some of the more off-the-rails right-wing arguments in support of the former president? Or maybe he just wasn’t paying much attention? That’s a pity because many of his former fans are pissed.
Who created ‘Five Nights At Freddy’s’?
The game was the brainchild of Cawthon himself, who created and published the game entirely on his own. Before that, he developed Christian-based games that were blood-curdling, but unintentionally so. He got the idea for Five Nights at Freddy’s after receiving negative criticism for his game Chipper & Sons Lumber Co. The biggest criticism of the game was that the characters were terrifying due to their herky-jerky animatronic-like movement. He was initially discouraged but then decided to use his unintentionally horrifying game design skills to make something intentionally horrifying. And so, Five Nights At Freddy’s was born.
The plot of the game is this: the player takes control of a security guard named Mike, who has been hired to work the night shift at a spooky Chuck-E-Cheese-like restaurant called Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. A voicemail message from the previous security guard tells Mike that four of the animatronic characters in the restaurant come alive at night and wander around. If one of these animatronics finds a human after hours, it will think that the human is an animatronic skeleton without a costume and will attempt to fatally stuff that person into a spare Freddy Fazbear suit. The gameplay itself a point-and-click-style survival horror, where Mike attempts to survive the onslaught of the mechanical monsters.
The game quickly developed a cult following after its release and then went on to reach worldwide fame. The franchise has since spawned multiple sequels, a merchandise line, and an upcoming feature film adaptation. Things were going great for Cawthon until users on the internet found out that he had made donations to the Trump campaign. The backlash was swift, and in some cases, overblown.
Cawthon was doxxed, and he began receiving threats online. In a lengthy post on the FNAF subreddit, Cawthon defended his decision to donate to the Republican Party, saying that he did so “to support the candidates who [he] felt could best run the country”. He refused to apologize to his fans and to be fair, he shouldn’t have to. He is allowed to do what he wants with his money and support whatever candidate he believes in according to his First Amendment Rights. It’s simply a shame that many of those dollars came from LGBTQ supporters of his games. To add insult to irony, Cawthon made a statement of gratitude for the support he has received from the LGBTQ community, praising the “tremendous love” the community has shown to him.
Does Cawthon still own Five Nights At Freddy’s?
Cawthon recently announced that he would be retiring from designing games, leaving fans to question who would carry on Five Nights At Freddy’s legacy. After the success of the original game, Cawthon teamed up with game designers at Steel Wool Studios in order to develop sequels and spin-offs. After his retirement, Steel Wool Studios developed and released Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach. While it’s likely Cawthon now shares the game’s profits with Steel Wool Studios, it’s safe to say that he still retains the rights to the Five Nights At Freddy’s franchise as an intellectual property. Similar to J.K. Rowling and Hogwarts Legacy, Cawthon doesn’t need to develop a game himself to make money off it since he came up with the intellectual property.
Why did Scott Cawthon retire?
In his post to Reddit, Cawthon has this to say: “If I get canceled, then I get canceled. I don’t do this for the money anymore; I do it because I enjoy it. If people think I’m doing more harm than good now, then maybe it’s better that I get canceled and retire. I would accept that.” While it’s likely that the backlash against the developer was a contributing factor, he went on to say that his decision to retire was spurred on by a desire to focus on family. “I have SIX kids now,” he wrote to Reddit. “I want to focus my attention on them, focus on protecting them, and spend my time making things for them. I only ask that my fanbase respect my decision.”
In a statement on his website Scottgames.com, Cawthon further elaborated on his decision to walk away. “I realize that I miss a lot of things that I got to focus on before FNAF became such a success. I miss making games for my kids, I miss doing it just for fun, and I miss making RPGs even though I stink at it. All of this is to say that I am retiring.”
He added in his Reddit post that his retirement will not signal the end of the franchise, and that “Someone else will eventually be running the show. Someone of my choosing, and someone that I trust.” It’s likely this “someone” is a developer at Steel Wool, but no one knows for certain.
So where does this leave us?
(featured image credit: ScottGames)
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