Scott Cawthon is retiring from the Five Nights at Freddies series. You can read the full details over on his site right now, but since it will change, we’ll include the full announcement at the bottom of this post. For FNAF fans this is kind of big news, but in reality with where the franchise is now, I’m not sure that is exactly is for the reasons I’ll outline below.
Scott has sort of long moved more into a visionary role than an actual core programmer of everything. The original FNAF games were mostly developed by him (I’m not exactly sure the exact percentages of his development vs. outside help for each game). They were simple and easy to develop. Streamers and YouTube gamers made the series popular with their reaction to the game’s relentless jumpscares and, in later games, the increased difficulty modes where precision button mashing was required to survive the night.
Now, in the modern FNAF world, the games are actually developed by a studio (Steel Wool Games). This started with FNAF VR game, Help Wanted and continues into the upcoming FNAF: Security Breach. Development isn’t just Scott anymore, so Security Breach will still be finished and released and it will still maintain Scott’s full vision (which I’m sure is long baked into the game now).
In a similar vein, the FNAF dodecology (12 books) has likely already been finished and written, so that’s already in the can. That series will end with its story complete and wrapped up.
That’s all the pending “deliverables” from Scott right now and they all seem to be wrapping up nicely, even if he were to completely step back. So the franchise, as it is planned now, will likely continue on course at least until the finish of the anthology series and security breach (plus likely the movie). So everything up until now looks to be good to go.
That leaves the question of the future and any speculation at this point will likely depend on the success of Security Breach. We could just see a few DLCs and a wrap-up of the story with Scott driving off into the sunset never to be seen again. We could see:
- The series being sold to a larger company and taken over by a new set of people who take it into whatever direction that will be.
- Scott pranking everyone and making his retirement somehow part of the story (entirely possible in the canon of FNAF).
- The contents of the box never being revealed and Scott riding off into the sunset.
- Security Breach being a financial flop and the inevitable end of the series anyway, either because of gameplay or because of the recent drama surrounding Scott or both.
- More books, it just becomes the next Goosebumps.
- Nothing different with the series, Scott just taking a smaller part in developing it while directing the narrative and maybe having fewer or no more ARGs.
- Game Theory buying the franchise so that they will have content for the next decade.
- Scott making more bad RPGs about things that aren’t FNAF. It somehow becomes extremely popular, back to square one.
- Any myriad of possible options, including Scott having a for real time traveling ball pit and wanting to focus his time there.
Obviously, the future of the series is up to the fans and the purchases on Security Breach. If it succeeds then there will likely be a future, someway and somehow. Considering Scott has long been distancing himself from the development of the games, it will be likely be little to no change to what would have happened anyway. So with that said, I think my answer is: nothing at all will change for FNAF.
To conserve the context of this post, below is the retirement notice from Scott. I checked the site’s HTML to see if there were any gotchas, the only note was that the image was called “flipside.”