Five Nights at Freddy’s, or FNAF as coined by fans, is a beloved game franchise created by indie game developer Scott Cawthon. Over the past eight years, several successful games were released: the original FNAF game, Sister Location, and Help Wanted. This year, a new FNAF game hit the scene, Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach. This game saw most previous ideas turned upside down. In all previous games, Freddy, the titular bear animatronic, and his group of animatronic buddies: Bonnie, Chica, Foxy, Ballora, Baby, and many others were the main antagonists. But now, Freddy is your… friend? Many fans were perplexed by this decision after seeing the trailers. Actually, the game looked almost nothing like it did in the trailers. So, what happened?
On June 16th, 2021, Cawthon resigned from his position and handed off game production and design to a new studio. Cawthon claimed he “wished to retire in order to spend more time with his children”, however, most fans knew why he was retiring. After many months of disappointing tweets and many calls-to-action of getting Cawthon removed from his position, fans realized he was stepping down due to past beliefs and actions. During the Trump 2020 campaign, Cawthon donated to many organizations and campaign funds that supported Trump. Most of these donations were made to places that were anti-LGBTQ+, and many fans were outraged. The basis of the fandom was heavily LGBTQ+, and this was a line that fans could not forgive Cawthon for crossing, causing him to step down.
The new game was given to the developing studio Steel Wool Studios. As Steel Wool worked on the game, fans started to get excited about the new game. They were given new characters and a new idea for the series. It was suddenly an open map, allowing players to explore the “Mega Pizza Plex”, as it was named by the team, rather than just being held relatively stationary in one space as the previous games had been. The new characters were also a big pull for the new game. There had been many new characters over the years, and lore was a massive part of the community. Where did these characters fit in?
The release of Security Breach was met with extremely mixed reviews, but one complaint that almost everyone had was that the game was definitively not finished. Steel Wool had been so pressured to get the game out on time that they left it riddled with bugs. Things ranged from jump scares that didn’t make sense to clipping through walls and even malfunctioning animatronic models. Many fans said that they would’ve gladly waited longer if it meant the game was not broken. Even those on YouTube who played it had difficult times enjoying the game. Ethan from Crankgameplays had an extremely difficult time enjoying and even just finishing the game. It was obvious from Ethan’s videos that he felt like he had to play the game, but was just so frustrated with it that he was not having a good time. Other popular YouTubers like Jacksepticeye just could not get behind the concept of the game. It strayed too far from the original ideas and didn’t really feel like an FNAF game. Even the “King of FNAF” Markiplier admitted that the game was a mess, although he did seem to have a better time playing it than Ethan.
In my opinion, I liked the idea of the new game. It felt like a new way to deliver scares to a new generation of FNAF fans, but it was terribly and hastily created. If Steel Wool had released a finished game, it could’ve been something better. There were too many janky and lackluster game mechanics, and the story didn’t make sense. Most people who played the game only ended up defeating two of the three animatronics before the night ended, usually leaving them to go back to defeat Monty without being allowed save points. Seeing people who love FNAF not have fun with this game was an extreme letdown, and even though it rekindled many people’s interest in FNAF games again, it didn’t seem worth it.