Why Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 is Not the Final Chapter

Judging by the subtitle of the fourth FNaF game, it clearly implies that it will be the last game in the series.However, many horror franchises have had subtitles that made it sound as if they are the final installment, but then the series continued. The specific thing that makes me think that a FNaF 5 will be a thing at some point is the wording of the description of Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 on Steam which states, “In this last chapter of the Five Nights at Freddy’s original story…”

The phrasing of “original story” seems very deliberate. What I take this as is that after the DLC on Halloween, which I believe will be an extra gameplay mode and nothing story related, a new game storyline will be used for a new series of FNaF games. The 4 games to be released in the series thus far seem to be surrounded by the Bite of ’87 event. In the potential upcoming games, they will most likely expand upon the lore and center around a different horrible event that occurred within the Fazbear restaurants.

Even if I’m wrong, and Scott Cawthon never makes another sequel, there is still a movie being made that is currently being written. The director of the movie, Gil Kenan, has been very open about his process on twitter and has slowly revealed some tidbits about the movie. He has been hinting that the movie will not be a straight adaption of any one of the games in the series. Instead, the movie will be a separate event in the series that will be cannon within the universe of the games. Kenan seems to be loving what he’s doing on the movie and also seems to be just as excited as us fans are about the future of the franchise.

With the movie on the way, the franchise is far from over. Personally, I believe a fifth game will also be released at some point within the next year. Until then, we can always look forward to MatPat’s next Game Theory on the franchise.

How to Make a Successful Five Nights at Freddy’s Movie

With the recent announcement of both Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 coming out this August and a movie in the works, it is a great time to discuss this rapidly growing series. It seems as if every couple of months, creator Scott Cawthon has been releasing these short, stressful games appeasing fans and theorists alike. While these roughly two hour long experiences work as games, is it possible for it to translate well to a film?

According to history, the answer is “no” for the simple fact that there hasn’t been a good video game to movie adaption yet. However, this game has such an interesting lore and simplicity to it that it could be the first good video game movie.

So, how can it be good? Well, here are some ideas:

  1. Make it a Straight Horror Movie but with Comedic Elements
  2. Set it in the Early 90’s
  3. Shoot it in an Abandoned Chuck E. Cheese
  4. Follow the Source Material, but Interpret it in Your Own Way
  5. Keep the Budget Low and Fast Track the Film

The set up of Five Nights at Freddy’s is very simple, which is part of what makes it so good and what will make or break this franchise as a movie. A key to making this work as a movie, is to make the tone a serious horror movie but with comedic elements sprinkled throughout the flick. The set up of haunted animatronics is so silly, it would be weird for there to be absolutely no humor in the movie. However, most of my friends (including me) were scared of the Chuck E. Cheese animatronics growing up, so the humor should be used sporadically in order to keep a consistent tone. To bring the authenticity of the horror, the movie should also be shot in an abandoned Chuck E. Cheese and have the movie be set in the early 1990’s, much like the first game was. That may sound difficult, but from a production standpoint  it’s actually not. Shooting in an old Chuck E. Cheese would actually save the production some money since they wouldn’t have to build a set. Even now, productions use abandoned or closing establishments to save money. In fact, recently filmmaker Kevin Smith made a deal to shoot his latest movie, Mallbrats, the sequel to Mallrats, inside a mall that is about to close. Timing is everything when it comes to this, so the hardest part of shooting in an abandoned or closing Chuck E. Cheese is actually finding one.

The last two points I made kind of go hand-in-hand considering these steps would have to be taken care of in pre-production. The writer of the movie should definitely follow some of the main stories and themes that were presented in the series of games. However, as anyone who actually played the games will tell you, the lore of the series runs deep and is highly up to the players interpretation. Because of this, the writer should play through the first game and interpret it his or her own way to form the story. To be honest, I’ll be disappointed if the movie turns out to be using mostly fan theories, and if that’s the way it is done, the movie viewers and fans of the games will find the movie to be too predictable. Another danger writing-wise is that the series’ creator, Scott Cawthon, is involved with the production. The writer should listen to what he has to say about the story but also remember that Cawthon is a genius game developer, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a great storyteller or writer. It will be a very dangerous line to walk when scripting this flick.

My last point is that this movie shouldn’t cost too much to make. The franchise name will be marketable enough, so no big-named actors really need to be put in this movie from a marketing perspective. The budget of this movie could easily be made for around 5 million dollars with an additional 1-3 million for marketing. As long as a good chunk of the budget goes to building the animatronics, this movie will have money to spare by the end of production. Oren Peli would make a great director for this project considering he knows how to make a low budget horror movie into one of the biggest franchises in the world, like what he did with Paranormal Activity back in 2009. Regardless of what you think about Paranormal Activity, it’s hard to argue that the first movie, which was the only one directed by Peli, is a well-shot and well-paced movie that was made on an insanely small budget and was an astounding success.

With the budget being low, this movie should also be fast tracked. The movie should come out when the game is still popular and in the zeitgeist of pop culture. With the fourth game in the series coming out this August and supposedly being the last game in the series, the movie is getting closer to not being able to strike while the iron’s hot. For maximum profit, this movie should be released anytime between April and October 2016 before people stop caring about Five Nights at Freddy’s as a series.

This movie has the potential to be the first good video game to movie adaption, it’s now just a matter of if the filmmakers care enough to ensure quality rather than making this a simple cash grab.

6 Game Characters that had Unexpected Reactions

Game

Sometimes, you just can’t predict how people are going to react to something.  Game developers create a character with the expectation that players will have one reaction only for them to go the opposite route.  For example, look at Teemo from League of Legends (pictured above).  He was obviously designed to serve as an adorable mascot character for the game.  While he’s had his share of success with that, many know him better as the single most frustrating assassin character in the game and has garnered the apt nickname of “The Devil Himself”.  This list will be looking at six characters that had similar reactions that must have caught their designers by surprise and looking into why they received the responses they did.

great fairy

6) The Great Fairy (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time)

With her long hair, heavy makeup, and distinctly un-Nintendo attire, there is only one thing that comes to mind when thinking of the Great Fairy: NIGHTMARE FUEL!  Early 3D games were a time where the uncanny valley ran rampant and character models would often just look off.  I’m guessing the reason that survival horror games had such a renaissance during this period is because it was the best time to make something look disturbing.  Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask generally used this to their advantage with truly horrifying models and animations for their enemies.  However, when the team tried to design a character with the opposite intent, the result was the most unsettling monstrosity in the entirety of either games.  Not helping matters is the fact that she lets out a blood-chilling banshee wail every time she appears.  Hyrule Warriors recently tried to update her appearance (pictured above), but the damage has already been done for many and she shall always remain a living nightmare.

silver_the_hedgehog

5) Silver the Hedgehog (Sonic ’06)

I honestly feel bad for Silver.  In any other circumstances, his telekinetic powers could have been revolutionary and he might have warranted his own spin-off series.  Instead, he made his debut in one of the most infamous games in the Sonic franchise and became the poster-boy for most of the game’s problems.  His post-apocalyptic time-travel backstory remains one of the greatest examples of a narrative trying far too hard and yet not nearly hard enough.  What truly sealed his fate as one of the most hated characters in the series was how much Sonic ’06 failed to deliver on the concept of his telekinetic powers.  This resulted in some of the worst controls in a game already built off of terrible controls.  Well, the telekinetic powers do get a chance to shine, but it’s at the worst possible time with the incredibly cheap boss fights you have against Silver.  Sega has kept him around and has tried to make him a mainstay of the cast, but the damage has already been done and IT’S NO USE!

VillagerSSB

4) Villager (Super Smash Bros for Wii U)

The Villager from Animal Crossing was originally considered to be playable in Super Smash Bros Brawl, but he was dropped early on because the idea of seeing such a cheerful and carefree character getting involved in a fight just seemed too ridiculous.  Cue his inclusion in the latest installments on Wii U and 3DS and everyone immediately labels him as a crazed axe-murderer.  People took one look into his lifeless, doll-like eyes and saw nothing but the soul of a bloodthirsty monster.  Maybe he just wasn’t included in Brawl because the developers feared the unholy terror that they were bound to unleash.

aliensoneal

3) O’Neal (Aliens: Colonial Marines)

Everyone hates escort missions.  We can accept when we fail due to our own mistakes, but failing a level simply because the friendly AI that you’re stuck baby-sitting did something stupid is the worst punch in the gut that a game can give you.  Everything from Daikatana to Epic Mickey 2 has been largely undone by the inclusion of these digital parasites that call themselves your friends.  I could have filled this list with frustrating computer companions that only prove to be a greater threat than any actual enemy, but I’ve decided to focus specifically on O’Neal from Aliens: Colonial Marines.

O’Neal is your typical giant teddy bear-type of character; he’s big and gruff, but has a heart of gold underneath.  He’s supposed to be the best friend you could ask for when facing done ravenous xenomorphs.  There’s just one problem: he’s in Aliens: Colonial Marines, a game so historically awful that Sega and Gearbox were actually taken to court for daring to release it on the unsuspecting masses.  O’Neal follows suit with being horrible at everything he does.  Worse aim than a Star Wars stormtrooper?  Check.  Standing in narrow hallways for no reason other than to block your path from critical objectives?  Check.  The worst part is that you can’t even turn him off by having a second player like in most other games that stick you with an AI partner.  Even in co-op, O’Neal will still insist on being the third-wheel and getting in the way of both players.  Don’t you ever wish you could turn on friendly fire and knock the stupid out of these guys?  Well…

dinobaby

2) Dino Baby (Conker’s Bad Fur Day)

While escort missions are notoriously hard to get right, good ones aren’t entirely unheard of.  For example, look at the section of Conker’s Bad Fur Day that has you escorting an adorable newborn dinosaur.  Not only is he invulnerable to damage, but he’s actually more capable in a fight than the character you’re playing as.  While Conker’s frying pan has a long wind-up and only stuns enemies, the dino baby can easily gobble up anything that comes near it.  Yeah, he gets stuck on corners every now and then and generally slows you down, but that’s a small price to pay for essentially playing on godmode.  If anything, he’s escorting you.  Actually, can we just ditch the drunken squirrel and play as this champion instead?

Alas, it seems Rareware underestimated their own abilities and expected people to react to the dino baby the same way they do to most escort characters.  At the end of the level, you are forced to lead your superior onto a sacrificial alter and watch him meet a gruesome end in order for you to progress.  It’s the one point where the game’s dark sense of humor actually goes too far.  Whenever I think of the cruel choice that this game forced me to make, I feel a little less bad about the fact that Rareware is now doomed to make Kinect minigames for the rest of eternity and license out their IPs to more capable developers (like the people who made the Battleship shooter).

foxy

1) Foxy (Five Nights at Freddy’s)

You can never truly anticipate how people will respond to fear.  Some flee while others fight, and others still merely embrace their fate.  And then you have the truly bizarre reactions that can best be described as an extreme form of denial.  Nothing may be a better showcase for this than the Five Nights at Freddy’s series.  Foxy from Five Nights at Freddy’s is your biggest threat in the game as he’s the only  one that doesn’t rely on catching you off-guard in order to get you.  He can charge directly into your office and attack faster than you can react.  The only way to keep him at bay is to constantly check your cameras and make sure he stays behind his curtain, which makes you vulnerable to all of the other haunted animatronics.  If it wasn’t for this one threat, each night wouldn’t nearly be as difficult as they are.

Strangely enough, Foxy has become one of the most popular, if not the most popular, characters in the series.  Several fans of the series, rather than recognize Foxy as the menace that he truly is, have crafted theories that Foxy is actually a good guy whose just checking in on you if you don’t check in on him for too long and that you just die from shock rather than him attacking you.  There is also a plethora of fan art out there that I dare not link you to nor attempt to describe.  To each their own, but you’d think people wouldn’t be drawn toward a screeching serial killer en masse.

What other characters had public responses that surprised you?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.  Depending on the response we get, your suggestions may be featured on a follow-up article in the future.  Until then, keep your eyes peeled for that Villager.  I don’t trust that guy.

Five Nights At Freddy’s 3 Easter Eggs You Probably Missed

Freddy’s

Five Nights At Freddy’s 3 was released last week. If you’ve been following the series, you’ll know developer Scott Cawthorn loves hiding all kinds of hints within the games about the dark past of the Freddy Fazzbear’s Pizza franchise. But who has time to hunt for Easter eggs when you’re flat out just making it through the night alive? Here’s a list of the interesting things you probably missed:

1. Springtrap Boot Images

This might be the creepiest sight Cawthorn has thrown our way so far. Occasionally when you boot the game, one of three images of Springtrap will show up. It seems to be pretty rare, and plenty of players may never get to see them. They appear to show Springtrap removing the head of his suit, revealing what you may assume is the endoskeleton head beneath. But, as we know from the minigames, it’s not an endoskeleton in that suit – it’s the purple man. Which means that head under the suit is actually a decaying corpse. Gross.

2. Random items appearing

Between the fact that the place is haunted and you’re having hallucinations, it’s no surprise the scenery all around you keeps on changing. Some of these include a poster of Springtrap randomly appearing on camera 10, a Shadow Bonnie plush that sometimes appears on your desk, the marionette’s mask in camera 8, Iand a paper plate Bonnie appearing on top of the box of junk. On top of that, although it’s hard to make out because of the static, it looks like Bonnie’s hiding on the left side of camera 6.

3. Shadow Bonnie

You may not remember Shadow Bonnie from FNaF 2, probably because you never actually encountered him. Shadow Bonnie appeared very rarely in your office in the second game, and he’s back again in in the third. He’s hiding out in one of the minigames as a clue for what you have to do to reach the good ending. Which leads us to…

4. The Minigames

There’s actually a LOT to do in the minigames. You probably played through the minigames at the end of each night, but you may not have noticed there’s actually a ton more. They’re all ridiculously difficult to reach because the only hints you’ll have as to how are all hidden in the main minigames. Remember the weird codes that showed up in the hallways, and the shadow bonnie? Those are all clues, and you need to play ALL the minigames to unlock the good ending. Yes, there are multiple endings in this game. Here’s a full guide on getting the good ending.

5. Golden Freddy

Yes, Golden Freddy makes an appearance too. He’s just a hallucination, but he might show up in the left corner of your office. He also occasionally appears in the static of your cameras. Fun fact: you can honk Freddy’s nose on the poster in your office.

6. Mangle

Mangle’s back – also a hallucination. He might appear on your cameras, and if you don’t notice him at first, you will pretty soon as his presence is always followed by loud static noises. He might also poke his little head over the window to your office. Those noises attract Springtrap to your office, so Mangle, as always, is nothing but trouble.

7. Bad Ending Screen

On the bad ending screen, you’ll notice there’s an extra animatronic’s head in the back that doesn’t belong to any of the original characters. It’s not certain who it is, but it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s Springtrap. Interestingly, this head is absent in the good ending screen.

8. The Skull

In the minigames, when you wander to the left you’ll find yourself in the storage room from the original game. You can see a bunch of animatronic parts on the tables, but there’s also what appears to be a human skull. What’s that doing there?

9. The Newspaper

After you beat nightmare mode, a newspaper clip appears showing that the attraction burned down, likely due to faulty wiring. There’s a picture of a Freddy figurine. If you brighten the image, Springtrap appears in the background, indicating he survived the fire. Additionally, the blurred out text on the newspaper is actually Scott Cawthorn telling us about the development of the original game. Here’s what it says:

Looking back on many of my old games, I’ve found that there is almost always a broken-down robot in them. I’m not sure why this seems to be such a recurring theme in my games, but it’s obvious that it’s something haunting me.

Before I began work on FNaF, I had to choose what game to make out of three potential games, knowing it might be my last try before having to start a new career. I was choosing between a sequel to The Desolate Hope, a remake of my first game – Legacy of Flan, or a new idea about animatronics and security cameras.

While working on the first game, I started a crowdfunding campaign for it. I raised exactly zero dollars.

Fun fact: The names Freddy, Bonnie, Chica and Foxy were just nicknames while I worked on the characters. I was planning on giving them official names later but had grown very fond of them by the time the game was done.

In the original game, Freddy was never originally meant to move around the diner and was only meant to “get you” if your time ran out. This was changed before release.

In real life I tend to have waking-nightmares, meaning that I walk in my sleep, etc. One night I dreamt that Bonnie was in the hall outside my door, so I jumped out of bed and rushed to hold the door shut. I discovered that the door was locked and it filled me with dread. In FNaF 1, when the doors don’t work, it means something is already in your office! So when I felt that the door was locked, I felt like bonnie was in my bedroom and was about to get me! Thankfully, I woke up.

I actually modeled the Foxy character on my laptop while riding on a 24hr drive to visit my in-laws over the summer of 2014. It’s very difficult to model a 3D character on a bumpy car ride. Maybe this is why Foxy looks so torn up!

While we were there visiting, my kids got to experience Foxy’s jump-scare for the first time!

Five Nights at Freddy’s and Difficulty in Horror Games

Horror

Survival horror is one of the hardest video game genres to really get right.  These games live and die by their atmosphere and anything that pulls the player out of the experience can instantly sour the entire game.  There are plenty of obvious points that immediately come to mind, like an imposing design for enemies and areas.  However, there is one element of horror design that I never see discussed despite being one of its most vital aspects and that is finding just the right level of difficulty.

For a horror game designer, the first instinct might be to stack on the threats, expecting the overwhelming challenges to terrify the player.  In practice, this is one of the fastest ways to pull the player out of the experience with far more frustration than fear.  Now matter how challenging a horror game can be, the simply fact remains that the player is never in any real danger.  The player needs enough time to become invested in their ingame survival on their own.  The more the player dies, the less he or she values survival in the game.  In that sense, a horror game actually needs to be fairly easy so that the player doesn’t become frustrated.  A proper horror game needs to know when not to kill the player.  At the same time, a horror game still needs to provide something for the player to be afraid of.  Striking that right balance is the grand challenge of building a proper horror game.  It has to deliver a constant sensation of vulnerability while having little actual threat.

The game that got me thinking about this was the recent indie hit Five Nights at Freddy’s.  For the titular five nights, the game is fairly easy with the haunted animatronics only being so aggressive, even on the final night, and giving the player a good amount of reaction time when they do reach your doorstep.  Even on the secret sixth night, it will usually only take a few attempts to beat it.  To offset the forgiving AI, the series has always been cryptic with its tutorials.  The player is given just enough information to understand the basics of play, but is still left to figure out the underlying mechanics on their own.

The sequel increases the difficulty with more animatronics and unique ways to keep each of them at bay, but offsets potential frustration by including hidden minigames that appear after a certain number of deaths.  Just when a player is at risk of rage-quitting, they are brought back in with an intriguing glimpse into the dark past surrounding the restaurant.  The latest game, Five Nights at Freddy’s 3, leans more towards the first game with a new set of rules for dealing with only a single animatronic and the most cryptic set of rules yet.  There are no post-death minigames, but they aren’t necessary in this title as the player isn’t as likely to be overwhelmed as in the second game.  Each game in the series demonstrates a fascinating approach to presenting the player to a panic-inducing challenge that doesn’t wear out its welcome.

Well, for the most part.  There is one point where the games ultimately fatigues its horror and that is with its custom night challenges.  These are included to give the games more replayability, but beating the game at maximum difficulty demands nothing less than absolute perfection.  While it does add more value to the title, playing either the first or second game to completion permanently  takes away all sense of terror.  Once you’ve played a game enough to see the lines of code at work behind the scenes, it’s hard to feel scared by it.  Fortunately, the third game avoids this by forsaking custom mode and instead adding replayability via multiple endings and easter eggs.  The series has been an intriguing new take on the survival horror genre with plenty of ups and downs to learn from.  With everything that creator Scott Cawthon has innovated on with these games, I think his take on creating a challenge in a horror game is the one most worth examining.