Digital Media Concepts/Five Nights at Freddy's

Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNaF) is an Indie horror game developed by Scott Cawthon and released in late 2014. The game’s unique gameplay, environment, and ease of play allowed it to boom quickly in popularity[1]. The game’s popularity and reach was expanded by large Youtube content creators covering the game[2] by recording their own playthroughs or by creating theories about the story and characters. The game’s success would see the creation of several other games in the series.

Development edit

Scott Cawthon had received criticism of one of his previous games that the characters were two robotic and animatronic like, [3] and while that initially dissuaded him from wanting to develop more games, he decided to instead use that element of his character designing and play into the creepiness factor of the setting. It took Scott 6 months to develop FNaF using the Clickteam Fusion 2.5 engine, and he created and animated the models in Autodesk 3d Max.[4]

Setting/Story edit

FNaF takes place in a run down children’s entertainment venue named Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria with the player taking control of Mike Schmidt, a part time 0 security guard.[5] The player upon loading the first night is introduced to a character referred to as Phone Guy, who tasks the player with keeping an eye on four animatronic characters, Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy. The player is also warned about how the animatronics will roam around the building and how they are hostile to those not in a character suit. Each night Phone Guy gives the player more information about the world,[6] such as a mysterious “Bite of ‘87”. On night 4 Phone Guy talks to the player in a rushed and panicked voice about how he was glad to have left the messages before the call plays the same music that is heard when the player runs out of power, the next night the player receives a call of garbled noise vaguely resembling speech. On completion of the 5th night the player is shown a screen of a paycheck to Mike Schmidt with a total of $120. When the player completes the challenge level night 6 a new check is shown with a total of $120.50 with a comment of “earned some overtime!” The completion of the custom night give the player a notification of termination with the reason being “tampering with the animatronics” in reference to the player’s ability to change the difficulty of each animatronics' ai.[7]

Gameplay edit

FNaF’s main gameplay loop involves using the camera, pulled up from the bottom of the screen by hovering the mouse over it, to check the locations of the animatronics. Outside of the camera the player also has two doors on either side of them, the player is able to turn on a light and close/open the doors on either side. All of these different actions use up the player’s allotted power with having multiple active at once draining the power quicker.[8] The challenge placed onto the player is to manage the 4 animatronics while keeping their power from running out. Each night lasts 8:55[9] with each hour, other than the first one at 90 seconds, lasting 89 seconds. The player can fail by either letting an animatronic into the security office or by having the power run out, though if the player is close enough to 6am it is still possible for them to complete the level before they are killed. With each passing night the animatronics' AI gets more aggressive, requiring the player to use more power in defending against attacks with the 6th night placing a true test on the player’s skills and understanding of the game’s mechanics.[10] Once the player completes night 6 they are able to play night 7, which allows for the player to adjust each animatronics' AI on a scale of 0-20 with 0 disabling the AI, and 20 having the AI always attempting to attack the player at a given chance. By setting each animatronic to level 20 creates the game’s ultimate challenge requiring the player to play perfectly if they want to survive the night.[11]

Each of the 4 animatronics interact differently. Bonnie and Chica will be the most active throughout the night. They both work their ways down the hallways with Chica taking the right, and Bonnie taking the left. The ways you defend against these two is to wait until they are at your door and to close it until they leave, which you can check with your light. Freddy’s AI is similar but he is overall less active since when you look at him through the camera he doesn’t like to move. Some strategies for harder nights take advantage of this to keep Freddy on stage. Foxy is the most unique animatronic as he doesn’t wander the building. Foxy has stages of leaving his Pirate’s Cove and if you see that he isn’t there the player has a few seconds to close their left side door before Foxy sprints to the office. The player can keep Foxy in pirates cove by checking in on him every now and again with the camera. [12]

Media Influence edit

Five Nights at Freddy’s was very popular on the video streaming site Youtube. The main way that FNAF was shown was through people’s live recordings of gameplay, with one of the more popular players being Markiplier who recorded multiple videos of him making his way through the game.[13][14] Another style of content was created by the Youtube channel The Game Theorists, by creating theories about the game’s story and characters.[15][16]

References edit