Maybe you've noticed Scott Cawthon's shtick around release dates. It goes like this: Cawthon says he'll release an upcoming game around a certain time frame. Then, he "surprises" everyone by actually releasing the game earlier than that.
Usually, this approach works in his favour. Fans like getting stuff that they want sooner than they originally expect it, so in the case of the main Five Nights at Freddy's games, Cawthon's approach to game releases acted as an effective marketing stunt. Things didn't work out that way this time around, however.
As you may already know, the Five Nights at Freddy's horror games now have a spin-off called FNAF World, where players can take the animatronic gang from the original games on a new RPG adventure. Unexpectedly, Scott Cawthon launched the game yesterday on Steam.
I tried playing it, and unfortunately couldn't get past the first 20 minutes — the game feels like garbage. In particular, I was annoyed by the constant random encounters, as well as the extremely grating peppy music that plays throughout the game.
And while the basic, sometimes Atari-esque graphics worked fine for Five Nights at Freddy's, in this case, the visual style for FNAF World doesn't really add anything to the game, which in turn makes the entire visual style look phoned in.
It seems that some users on Steam feel similarly. Although the game as a whole has a "very positive" rating on the service, all of the top reviews are rather negative. Players cite everything from obtuse, under-explained game mechanics, to glitches, and even a worrying number of loading screens on a game that really shouldn't require it:
In response to this backlash against FNAF World, Scott Cawthon actually released an apology on the Steam forums for the game:
This isn't exactly an announcement that I'm enjoying writing, but it's one that I feel I owe to the community.
You know, I've been accused of rushing my games ever since FNaF 1, but I've never felt that I'd released a game too early… until now.
There are a lot of features that this game should have had before release, features that I was told about, but ignored and didn't implement. Features such as being able to see what abilities do during battle, or being able to see a stats page for your characters. These are features that any good RPG would have.
I got too eager to show the things that were finished, that I neglected to pay attention to the things that weren't.
I'm going to fix this, and I'll be updated the game with these features in the coming weeks.
So I say this to a community that I've enjoyed and respected for over a year and a half now- I'm sorry. I will continue to add features to the game and make it right.
It will be interesting to see if Cawthon can actually fix what's wrong with FNAF World, but cynically, I think perhaps the fad around Five Nights at Freddy's may actually just be over. We'll see what happens. For now, it's good to see that he's taking responsibility for the state of the game, at least.