FNaF World Pulled From Sale, Will Return Free

Five Nights at Freddy’s creator Scott Cawthon has pulled his newly-released RPG spin-off FNaF World [official site] from sale and plans to refund all buyers, then re-release the game later for free. He’s unhappy with its reception, he says, and wants to do better. He had released it a month earlier than planned and, apparently, that hasn’t quite worked out.

“Even though the game had a “Very Positive” rating with 87%, I was not satisfied with the reviews and ratings it was getting,” Cawthon explained in a post on Steam.

“For that reason, I’ve decided to remove the game from Steam. I’ve also asked Valve to make it so that the game can be refunded regardless of the amount of the time it has been owned, meaning that anyone can get a refund at any time. It may take them a while to set that up, but it will be in place soon.”

That’s… an uncommon response. Heck, few folks would do that even if they’d made a game everyone loathed.

“I’m still going to work on FNaF World and polish it up. I’m busy creating a fully 3D overworld for the game,” he explains. “When I’m ready to update the game, I will replace the demo currently on GameJolt with the full game. From this point forward, the game will always be free.”

And that’s near-unheard-of.

FNaF World is Cawthon’s first not-jumpscare-y game since making his name with the Five Nights games. I wondered aloud before whether making an RPG with Five Nights characters was an attempt to get back to making other sorts of games while luring Five Nights fans along for the ride. His response to the reviews has made me a bit of a fan, though I now want to pat this stranger on the back. Don’t worry, pal. It’s the Internet: it’s always awful.

49 Comments

  1. sub-program 32 says:

    *Now* can people on this site stop accusing Scott of roducing lazy cash grabs? Because this is the polar opposite of that response: valuing his fanbase (iffy though some of them may be) over any money he earns. True, he may only be able to afford this thanks to the sucess of previous games, but hey it’s still an amazingly unusual thing for any dev to do.

    • Shuck says:

      It is an unusual thing to do – but, to be fair, it’s also very unusual that a dev makes enough money from their games that they’re set for life like he is. (I think it was also clear that the games weren’t just lazy cash grabs.)

    • tomimt says:

      Don’t you know that all game devs are inherently evil and only after peoples money and/or soul?

      • Yglorba says:

        I don’t get why gamers are so eager to accuse developers of lazy cash-grabs. For most of the major talents required, videogames are one of the least-profitable industries there is — a competent programmer, graphics designer, or composer can make far more almost anywhere else. (This is especially true for programmers, who generally take a 50% pay cut simply to work on games vs. working basically anywhere else.)

        In my experience, even the people coding absolutely terrible, generic mobile games aren’t in it for the money. They’re in it because they genuinely want to make games, even if they screwed up somewhere along the line. There are a lot of problems in the industry, but “full of greedy people purely in it for the money” isn’t one of them.

        It’s just that making games is extremely expensive (even at the bottom rate everyone involved is paid for their talents) and extremely unpredictable, even more than most other software projects — it involves combining the efforts of a huge number of people along different tracks, with the whole thing threatened by a problem anywhere along each of them and no guarantee that the final product will gel into something remotely fun unless it’s a near carbon copy of something that already exists. (Because, at heart, what makes games “tick” is imperfectly understood even by the best in the industry.) These things force companies involved in games to be extremely cautious financially and lead to really explosive catastrophes now and then, and yeah, some of this is caused by incompetence.

        But very little of it, I think, is caused by people who are just greedy for your $$$$. If they were greedy for money, they wouldn’t be working on games in the first place, they’d be working for a financial institution or someplace similar.

    • Deveman says:

      Will I have to delete the game when the full one cones out?

      • ace888281 says:

        Idk I think you just keep it in your steam library and scott will update it later

  2. Merus says:

    I always figured he was a decent guy who had some amazing luck. It’s nice to see he doesn’t take this luck for granted. Good on him. Hope it keeps working out for him.

  3. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    *starts to clap… very slowly*

    • eldoran89 says:

      *clap……………………………………..clap……………………………………………………………………………………………………………clap*

      that’s an unheard thing to do. salute.

    • zaphod42 says:

      Why are you clapping? Why is everybody acting like this was the right thing to do? This is bizzare as hell and I have no idea what is going on. There’s no reason for Cawthorn to issue full refunds and make the game totally free. I feel really bad for the guy, something really wrong has happened. Like he obsessed over the steam reviews and lost his mind or something. Its not good.

      • Kitsunin says:

        So the thing to realize is that he probably has way more money than he knows what to do with. Seeing that this has disappointed some people, he probably wanted to find the best possible way to undo that mistake, and if money isn’t that important (I’m assuming) this is a really smart way to buy a ton of goodwill. I wouldn’t be surprised if people were happier with this move than they would have been had he decided to release the game for free in the first place.

        Well, I can only speculate as to why he felt this was the best move, but after FNaF 1-4 it almost definitely doesn’t hurt him financially.

      • RabbitIslandHermit says:

        I’ll admit to not playing it but from what I’ve seen it was a terrible and inexplicable JRPG circa 1997. The art style wasn’t even consistent, jumping between a Commodore 64 style primitive overworld map and a Nintendo 64-esque battle view.

        • Premium User Badge

          DelrueOfDetroit says:

          The Commodore style sections were also in the last three games. There were mini-game in between each night. This is where the majority of the story and all the hidden bits were found.

          • RabbitIslandHermit says:

            I realize that but while it added to the creepy atmosphere in the main games it just seemed out of place in a game that was otherwise going for a different retro aesthetic and AFAIK is a JRPG played fairly straight instead of a horror game. I could be wrong on that last point, admittedly.

  4. Bull0 says:

    This is a story of someone screwing something up (albeit fairly gracefully) right? Why is this being praised?

    • Senethro says:

      Grow up.

    • Viral Frog says:

      1. He’s fixing his mistake.
      2. He’s not punishing the people who paid for the game because of his mistakes.
      3. He’s fixing his mistake.

      • Bull0 says:

        I understand what’s happening, but since when did screwing up AND wow, fixing it, become praiseworthy game development? Is the bar THAT low?

        • Stellar Duck says:

          Yes?

        • LionsPhil says:

          Yes.

          Gods yes.

        • PseudoKnight says:

          Screwing up is normal. It’s life. I know a lot of people get really upset over bugs, for example, but I’m far more interested in how they handle themselves after they screw up. In this case, he isn’t just fixing his mistake. He’s giving the game away.

    • Menshai2013 says:

      Its a story of someone screwing up, admitting that they screwed up, offering everyone unconditional refunds as reperations for aforementioned screw-up and, going even further for the sake of reparations (I would argue to far but that’s just my opinion), offering everyone else on the planet the game for free.

      I confess, I do not understand the viewpoint that that should *not* be praised? Isn’t it exactly what we want to happen? For people to admit their mistakes and make right by them? Shouldn’t we praise people for behaving in a manner that demonstrates their appreciation and respect for the community? Or is there something else about this that I’m missing?

      • Bull0 says:

        We want developers to release working games with their complete featuresets and not have to refund everybody?

        • Bull0 says:

          Wouldn’t releasing something satisfactory demonstrate a lot MORE respect for the community than releasing something dodgy and refunding them? (Hint: yes it would)

          • Menshai2013 says:

            So we’re only allowed to reward developers who are perfect? Any one who is less than perfect should leave the room now?

            Yes yes, I know, I’m extrapolating your argument into an unrealistic zone in order to discredit it. Clearly we should be rewarding people for releasing excellent, well-designed and well polished-games (thanks for the hint on that one Captain Sarcasm, wouldn’t have got there without you!)

            I also believe that we should be realistic. People make mistakes. Either knowingly or unknowingly, people screw things up and release unsatisfactory or, at worse, fundamentally broken games. People are not perfect. In such a situation, when someone behaves in a manner that shows their respect for the community in acknowledging their mistakes, I strongly advocate that that should praised. Because that is what we want right? We want perfect games or games to be acknowledged as being imperfect and subsequently reparations be paid for that lack of perfection. Either way, the gamer wins—I get my perfect game or I get my money back…

            Forgive me again for taking your argument to the extreme, but in your scenairo developers are damned if the do something wrong and then damned if they do anything positive about it. How does that encourage anything other than further negativity?

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            DuncUK says:

            A developer releasing a game in a broken state and then taking ages to fix it is, sadly, commonplace.

            A developer releasing a game in a broken state, taking ages to fix it and offering refunds in the meantime is becoming more common thanks to Steam’s refund policy forcing the issue.

            A developer releasing a game in a broken state, issuing blanket refunds and deciding to withdraw it from sale permanently is pretty rare. I seem to remember a terrible cricket game went through this process recently.

            A developer releasing a game in a broken state, issuing blanket refunds, deciding to withdraw it from sale permanently AND committing to releasing it for free in a fixed up sate is almost utterly unprecedented. This guy did that.

            If that doesn’t make it clear enough for you as to why his actions could be considered worthy of praise… well you must be new to video games or something because I don’t know what else to say.

          • Bull0 says:

            Well, there’s a gulf between simply not praising something and outwardly condemning it. We’ve got people saying that this will “buy loads of goodwill”, and “this has made a fan of me”, etc. Really? Releasing something not so great and backpedalling on it is how you win fans now. Come on. Sure, acknowledge someone for dealing with their mess gracefully (exactly like I said in the original comment), but excitedly praising them for it? Weird.

          • Menshai2013 says:

            I imagine there’s a gulf between the number fans you earn from “releasing something not so great and backpedalling” and the number you earn from releasing an excellent product in the first place…

    • zaphod42 says:

      What exactly did he even do wrong? Can you answer that?

      Plenty of terrible games have been released and charged tons of money in a broken, unfinished state. (Arkham Knight on PC, Destiny, etc.) but FNAF World didn’t look that bad?

      • Viral Frog says:

        As far as I could tell from the negative Steam reviews, it seems like there were tons of basic features that are sort of “staples” in the JRPG genre that he didn’t include. I don’t know exactly what, but I think there were some menu systems missing, abilities don’t explain what they do during battle, etc.

        Really, it sounds like a bunch of people complaining about not having all the quality of life systems that they think they’re entitled to. Not many of the negative reviews I read actually knocked the game for it’s gameplay.

      • Bull0 says:

        Only a vague idea, apparently some of the final product didn’t match the sales pitch and it lacked polish. Whatever went wrong, it was obviously significant enough to warrant refunds.

        • Bokuha says:

          That it wasn’t significant enough to warrant refunds is exactly why so many are confused by the reaction. There were no major problems with the game, at least from a pure gameplay standpoint. Owning the game myself, I can say it plays from start to finish with no bugs or glitches that I could see, and certainly enough content to warrant the price tag (the roster is huge, the maps are of ample size, and there’s even multiple endings). It’s not an epic-scale RPG by any means, but it’s also 1/6 of the modern RPG price, so that doesn’t seem like a failing against it.

          The main problem I could see from all the negative Steam reviews was that it wasn’t what they were expecting. They wanted a fully 3D overworld (which supposedly was promised in the trailer, but I didn’t see that promise anywhere when I watched it), a tutorial, and the staple RPG mechanics (namely stat menus and attack/item descriptions). When they didn’t get those things, they railed against the game and accused it of being broken trash when it really wasn’t. Not that many of them would know this, as another common feature of the reviews was that they hadn’t gone through even half of the game before criticizing it.

          No, there was no tutorial. But when has there ever been a tutorial in the FNaF games? Or even an explanation of how the mechanics work? The games just drop you into a scenario and expect you to figure out how to survive, and this is what FNaF World tries to do as well. Expecting otherwise seems more a symptom of what has become the norm for RPGs nowadays than a sign of a bad game.

          As for the absence of menus and item/skill descriptions, while not at all necessary to play or enjoy the game, they’re still things Scott said he had every intention of adding in. And within two days of the game’s release, an update had been done that did in fact add descriptions for every attack and item. I imagine that menus would have come soon enough had this route not been taken instead.

          This isn’t an example of a game developer releasing a “dodgy” game and subsequently owning up to his failure to meet obligations. It’s a developer who, in his excitement to get his newest product out to the public, released a game that didn’t quite suit everyone’s tastes and upon being rebuked by the vocal minority, recoiled and promised to do better. Whether this deserves praise or concern, that’s up to individual view. But derision seems out of place.

          • Kitsunin says:

            There’s a brief moment in the trailer in which a 3D Freddy is walking in an overworld. I think that’s pretty much a promise in the context of a trailer.

    • Shuck says:

      First of all, releasing a game that’s criticized isn’t “screwing up” – that is, well, simply releasing a game. Although I think the criticism of the game was largely valid, he didn’t owe anyone anything – he made a game, if people didn’t like it, they could not buy it/return it (because its flaws are immediately obvious). But despite its flaws, it was probably selling quite well and would have continued to sell quite well. He’s giving up substantial income and giving away his labor for free. That’s absolutely not anything that anyone should expect.

  5. C0llic says:

    Good on him, but I don’t like that now he feels he to offer this for free. I think enabling refunds and maybe charging a nominal price would be enough. If us who play games are so toxic a person wants to just give it away for free to garner goodwill, I’m not happy about it. He should be able to charge something.

    I don’t really like his games I should point out, I’m just not really cheering about devs swinging this far in the other direction.

    • Viral Frog says:

      I’ve never played FNaF, so no opinion there. I’m not too happy with his decision to put it up for free, either. Pull it from sale, fix it, sell it again. I would pay for this game just to support him after seeing this. I’m thinking about picking up the FNaF series now.

    • zaphod42 says:

      Yeah I completely agree 100%. Unless the game is completely broken and unplayable, (and most of the reviews do not give that impression) then he’s massively overreacting. I’m really worried about the guy that he was getting death threats or something and he lost it. Something bad happened here and everybody’s overlooking it.

      • Shuck says:

        I think it’s more of a case that he’s made so much money from his previous games, he doesn’t need to charge for this. It was more a labor of love than of commerce and he wanted people to feel the love, as it were.

      • vegeta1998 says:

        I’m impressed. If I had that luxury I’d like to think I’d do the same thing.

        I would not like to have my name and legacy associated with a garbage product I wasn’t proud of. Now the guy is getting real world experience designing and releasing games in a non-puerile genre and positioning himself to either join a large studio or learning how to build an empire.

  6. anHorse says:

    Well it does look like absolute shit

    • Viral Frog says:

      They remind me of the old SNES days. I see the aesthetic being a pretty large complaint amongst the community, but I can’t understand why from looking at screenshots.

  7. Geewhizbatman says:

    It’s certainly the best move to do. From a PR standpoint and for his own self-worth. So yay!

    I agree with other sentiments that turning it into a free game seems a little strange. Not that I think free games aren’t wonderful and that the move to do so isn’t also, to be cynical, a great way to capture more praise.

    I’ll see everyone’s “he’s more money than knows what to do with” and raise you “turn future sales into a scholarship fund for developing game designers.” Not only does it have a certain beautiful irony in that he pulled the game due to what some people viewed as poor polish, but it turns that cash that at least his fans would be willing to spend twice over into something that would brighten the gaming world.

    And so I have thrown my thought into the internet void. LET IT BE DONE! x3

  8. alms says:

    Don’t worry, pal. It’s the Internet: it’s always awful.

    Oh c’mon Alice, not you too.

    • Unclepauly says:

      No you’re right, he should die an unfulfilled failure who regrets everything he has ever done.

      • Unclepauly says:

        JK lol, but seriously nothing wrong with making someone feel better at the internets expense. The internet would toss you under the bus at 1st chance.

  9. HERP DERP NANOMACHINES says:

    This is why artists need to get a night of sleep before releasing their work on the internet like an excited dog. What the hell was he smoking to think releasing an RPG with no descriptions of the attacks was a good idea? That’s simply too hilarious to interpret anyway other than trolling or incompetence, maybe if this were more artsy that would be a bold decision.

    Anyway I’m actually kind of excited to see the 2.0 version, I love weird RPGs and this is one of the most uncanny.