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Scott Cawthon

Scott Cawthon

American independent video game designer

Scott Braden Cawthon (born June 4, 1978) is an American former video game developer and writer. He is the creator of the Five Nights at Freddy's media franchise, which began with the development of the eponymous survival horror game in 2014. Released independently, the game achieved popularity and obtained a cult following. Cawthon developed 10 games in the main series from 2014 until his retirement in 2021, in addition to three spin-offs. He also wrote several stories based on Five Nights at Freddy's, including the novel The Silver Eyes" (2015).

Early life and work

Cawthon was born in Houston, Texas on June 4, 1978. He is a devout Christian. He currently lives in Salado, Texas, with his wife and five sons.

Cawthon's career in game design and animation began in the 1990s. Cawthon revealed his first game (titled Doofas) during a live stream; he made the game when he was a child. This game later became a troll game as the "demo" of Ultimate Custom Night. His first official games were released in the early 2000s, one of the earliest known being RPG Max, released in 2002. He later joined Hope Animation, where he created animations for children based on Christian values.

On March 19, 2007, Cawthon uploaded the first part of an eight-part series titled The Pilgrim's Progress to his YouTube channel, which was released as a full-length film on DVD two years prior. The animation is a retelling of John Bunyan's novel of the same name.After releasing The Pilgrim's Progress, Cawthon developed several games, including Sit N' Survive, Chipper and Sons Lumber Co., and The Desolate Hope. Some of these were submitted to Steam Greenlight. While The Desolate Hope made it through the process, some games, most notably Chipper and Sons Lumber Co., were heavily criticized by prominent reviewers for having characters that moved and interacted with each other like animatronic machines. While initially discouraged, almost to the point of stopping game development completely, Cawthon eventually decided to use the animatronic-like characters to his advantage, sparking the development of Five Nights at Freddy's.

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Video games

2014–2018: First seven installments and first spin-off

On June 13, 2014, Cawthon submitted Five Nights at Freddy's to Steam's Greenlight system. A trailer was released the following day on June 14 with a demo following on July 24, 2014. On July 24, 2014, he then also submitted it to IndieDB, where it gained a massive amount of popularity. He submitted the game a third time to Desura on August 13, 2014. The game was accepted in Steam's Greenlight on August 8, 2014, and was released for $4.99. The game was well-received by critics, and became the subject of numerous popular Let's Play videos on YouTube. On November 10, 2014, Cawthon released the first sequel titled, Five Nights at Freddy's 2 for $7.99 on Steam. Soon after the release of Five Nights at Freddy's 2, Cawthon removed all information from his official site and replaced it with an image of the word "offline". The website soon began to show teasers of Five Nights at Freddy's 3, which was released on March 2, 2015.

On July 23, 2015, Cawthon released Five Nights at Freddy's 4". A free "Halloween" update was released on October 31, 2015. On September 15, 2015, Cawthon announced the development of a new role-playing video game (RPG), titled FNaF World. The game is not a horror game; rather, it is a stylized RPG. It was released on January 21, 2016.FNaF World received mixed reviews due to glitches and other issues[10] and Cawthon pulled it from Steam four days later. An improved 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 Foxy and Freddy from the series. The game was released on October 7, 2016, and was generally well-received. Cawthon then released a free custom night 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 the works. He reasoned that it was because he had been neglecting other important things in his life, but said that he was not planning to abandon the series and may release a FNaF World-styled spin-off game in the future.[13] However, with the release of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator on December 4, 2017, this was confirmed to be a troll.

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 also announced that a new book series, Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights, is coming.[16] On August 27, 2018, Cawthon commented on a post regarding Fredbear's true voice in UCN, "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.

2019–2021: Eighth to tenth installments, virtual reality, and retirement

In early 2019, Cawthon announced that he teamed up with a small video game studio Steel Wool Studios, they will be the ones to make future Five Nights at Freddy's games, while Scott will be the main person for the storyline and animatronic designs, as well as gameplay. On May 28, 2019, Cawthon released the teased virtual game, Five Nights at Freddy's: Help Wanted for both PC & PlayStation VR. A DLC update, Curse of Dreadbear, was released on October 23, 2019. On August 8, 2019, during the first game's fifth anniversary, Cawthon posted a new image on his website, teasing the tenth installment for 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 completely new animatronics can be seen playing for an excited crowd. 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 & Android. Later, 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 also announced that the game was scheduled to release in late 2020. On June 12, 2020, another teaser was released, featuring the game's protagonist, an unnamed female security guard. On August 7, 2020, a teaser of Vanny was released. One day later, Scott 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 included will be the 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 remake/re-imagining of the original game.Cawthon also stated that these games will also 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. Its initial release will be on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC and will come to other platforms three months later. In December 2020, Scott posted that Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach was getting delayed to 2021 stating that the game was too big to be finished by the end of the year.

In January 2021, on the official GeForce livestream, the second teaser trailer for Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach was revealed showcasing the game with the newest Nvidia GeForce graphics card. A month later, in March 2021, on the PlayStation State of Play event, the official gameplay trailer for Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach was revealed confirming that it will be a free-roam game, unlike the previous FNaF games. It was the most popular game on that livestream, gaining millions of views in the first 24 hours. On March 13, Cawthon also revealed multiple images for Security Breach on YouTuber Dawko's live stream.

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 stated his intention to appoint a successor to ensure that the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise would carry on, while he himself would continue to occupy a lesser role in its development. It is unknown if he will retain the Five Nights at Freddy's intellectual property, continue working on the movie, or make any further creative decisions regarding the franchise.

Novels

In December 2015, Scott Cawthon released teasers for his first novel, Five Nights at Freddy's: The Untold Story, soon to be renamed Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes. The book was released on December 17, 2015, as an e-book for Amazon; a paperback edition is also 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, tips on 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 June 26, 2018, the third novel in the Five Nights at Freddy's book series, Five Nights at Freddy's: The Fourth Closet, was revealed on Amazon.com and was slated for release that same day.

On December 26, 2019, the first book in the eleven-book series, Fazbear Frights #1: Into the Pit was released on Amazon.com in Kindle & Paperback formats. The next ten books also had their release dates and titles announced over time.

Planned film

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 tweeted a picture at Blumhouse Productions, suggesting the film had a new production company. In May 2017, producer Jason Blum confirmed the news, claiming 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, Scott Cawthon posted a Steam forum, in which he states that the movie 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. Later that same month, Blum tweeted that the film had a planned release window of 2020. 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.

Public image

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 MatPat, who would play the game with fellow YouTubers Dawko and Markiplier on a live stream. 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 $500,000 was available to find, but warned that it was difficult and that he doubted they'd 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 live stream; however, Markiplier continued playing after the stream had ended and managed to find a final hidden $100,000 that raised the total donation figure to $451,200. Cawthon went on to donate the full $500,000 to St. Jude's.

On June 10, 2021, Cawthon trended on Twitter when his publicly available political donations were shared on Twitter. Barring a donation to Democratic representative Tulsi Gabbard, all the donations were to Republican candidates and organizations. Cawthon subsequently confirmed in a statement posted on Reddit that he is a Republican and that he has made significant financial donations in support of conservative political candidates, while also describing himself as pro-life. He also claimed that after the donations were uncovered, he had been doxed and had received threats of violence and home invasion. While the reaction to Cawthon's Reddit post was positive, reaction was mixed on social media sites like Twitter, where some members of the LGBTQ+ community reacted negatively. Days after the donations were discovered, Cawthon announced that he was retiring from professional game development, with plans to choose someone to oversee the Five Nights at Freddy's series after his retirement.

Timeline

June 4, 1978
Scott Cawthon was born in Houston County.

Patents

Further Resources

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News

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Kris Holt
September 13, 2019
Engadget
The Five Nights At Freddy's franchise shows few signs of slowing down after a virtual reality spinoff arrived earlier this year. Next up is an augmented reality...
Kris Holt
September 13, 2019
Engadget
The Five Nights At Freddy's franchise shows few signs of slowing down after a virtual reality spinoff arrived earlier this year. Next up is an augmented reality...
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