The success of the Five Nights at Freddy's series has to be one of the most unpredictable gaming events in recent years. The franchise, created by solo developer Scott Cawthon, gained popularity after the first Five Nights at Freddy's title became a word of mouth sensation. YouTube users in particular became attached to the game, with its memorable animatronic enemies and jump scares, making it a perfect title for horror-focused Let's Players.
At first, many dismissed Five Nights at Freddy's as a one-off, citing the game's pop-up scares and stationary player character as gimmicks that would grow tiresome all too quickly. Cawthon, however, had other ideas. With an impressive turnaround of less than four months, the developer released Five Nights at Freddy's 2. The prequel kept the core mechanics of the first Freddy's game, but added additional gameplay elements and developed the cult hit's lore considerably.
That, too, would not be the end of the Five Nights at Freddy's story. Cawthon released a teaser image for Five Nights at Freddy's 3 this January, following it up with a full trailer later on that month. Now, Five Nights at Freddy's 3 is available for download, with the game appearing on Steam yesterday.
It's not the first Five Nights at Freddy's title to see a surprise release, as Five Nights at Freddy's 2 was also unleashed unexpectedly. Fans were initially told to expect a playable demo to launch on November 11, but players were instead treated to the full game. Cawthon's work ethic is certainly commendable, and his swift release turnaround will no doubt help his series. He is one of several independent horror developers working without the budget afforded to larger studios, so keeping Five Nights at Freddy's in the gaming community's vernacular through the release of regular content may work to his favor.
Five Nights at Freddy's 3 takes a slightly different route to previous games in the franchise. Whilst the first two Five Nights at Freddy's games were set in restaurants, Five Nights at Freddy's 3 takes place thirty years after the closure of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria. Entrepreneurs have opened a horror attraction based on the tragedies of Five Nights at Freddy's, which are now nothing more than an urban legend. However, the attraction owners have recently been able to salvage one of the animatronics.
It looks as though there are a few interesting changes from the last title. With the number of animatronics downplayed from the second game, players should watch out for an intense survival horror experience. Meanwhile, the use of security cameras has returned as an important gameplay dynamic. It's promising so far, with some changes coinciding with our Five Nights at Freddy's 3 wish list. Intrepid gamers can now get hold of the horror title themselves - or take to YouTube, where Let's Players have already started uploading their footage.
Five Nights At Freddy's 3 is out now for PC and Mac.