clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Five Nights at Freddy's creator talks about life after Dollar General, the stress of success

Three days after releasing the latest game in the Five Nights at Freddy's series, the series creator posted an open letter of sorts discussing how he's struggled in the past to succeed and now seems to be struggling with the amount of hate he feels has been directed at him lately.

"It's true that there has been a lot of hate toward me lately; on the forums, on YouTube, etc," he writes. "And I'll be honest, it's difficult. It's difficult when people seem to dislike you only because you've found success with something."

Five Nights at Freddy's creator Scott Cawthon spent his early game development career working on Christian video games in relative obscurity. It wasn't until the release of the original Five Night at Freddy's in 2014, that he began to see a greater level of success.

"Did you know that last year I was working at Dollar General?"

In the games, the fourth of which was released on July 23, players try to survive a night of animatronic characters intent on killing the player in different ways. The new, minimalistic approach to survival horror found initial fans with Let's Play streamers, which helped spread the word of the game.

In April, Warner Bros. Pictures announced it had obtained the rights to turn the game series into a film.

In the days following the release of Five Nights at Freddy's 4, Cawthon mentioned several times in the discussions found on the Steam page for his game that he has been stressed out.

Tuesday, he decided to discuss why.

"I wanted to thank the community in general for the huge outpouring of support through emails and in the forums," he wrote. "I know a lot of you are concerned about me or think that I'm stressed out. It's true that I'm stressed a little; but it's OK because the result was good. I've worked very hard this year, almost non-stop, to produce good games for this series. Even though there may be some debate as to how 'good' the games are, I did my best to provide some good scares and a good story. All I can do is judge from the Steam reviews that I've been mostly successful; so I'm very happy about that."

Cawthon went on to write that he thinks some people believe that since the success of his game he spends his days enjoying the money and "cranking out games with no effort." But that's not true, he writes, and his recent successes are his first.

Five Nights at Freddy's 4 tall image

"Did you know that last year I was working at Dollar General?" he wrote."I worked as a cashier. I had three bosses who were all still in high school. Before that I worked at Target in the backroom freezer, unloading frozen foods. I haven't had a successful life; and now that God has blessed me with some success, I'm doing my best to be responsible with that success. I don't party on weekends, I don't get drunk or sip martinis. I spend my evenings playing Mega Man 3, Buster only, with my kids.

"And I try to [do] good with what's been given to me."

That includes, most recently, donating $250,000 to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital during a March fundraising drive.

Instead of deriding the people who have been attacking him, Cawthon said that those people should work to be successful too.

"Being good at something is something to strive for, not something to demonize," he wrote. "Criticisms of my games are fine, and a lot of times the criticism is valid. But there are a lot of people out there who will hate anything that becomes popular, just because it's popular, and hate anyone who becomes successful, just because they are successful. 'Haters gonna hate' as they say, but I want you to know that focusing on someone else's failure or success is the wrong way to live. People who make videos bashing other people are like people who run into a public square and scream into a pillow. They'll get attention, but they won't change anything. If you strive to be like them, then you'll spend your life screaming into a pillow as well, and your life won't mean anything.

"People who hate success will never be successful."

Cawthon wrapped up his letter by reminding people that one day he'll retire and that he hopes when he does he'll be playing games made by some of the people who used to play his games.

"I'm getting too old for this," he wrote. "And when I retire someday, I'm going to want to sit down at a computer and play YOUR games, read YOUR stories, and watch YOUR videos. Don't fall in with the people who have already given up on themselves. You are tomorrow's next big thing. :)"

We've reached out to Cawthon for further comment and will update this story when he responds. You can read the full, unedited letter right here.

Five Nights at Freddy's 4 Overview

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Patch Notes

A weekly roundup of the best things from Polygon