Creator of Five Nights at Freddy’s responds to the haters

This was so well written and on point I thought it was worth reposting.
Scott Cawthon, creator of the wildly successful ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ series has received a lot of hate from the public. Like most online hate campaigns, this too was driven by cynical people who question the quality of Cawthon’s games and accuse him of rapidly pumping out sequels to try and cash in on the hype.
In Australia we call that ‘tall poppy syndrome’ and sadly it seems to be a growing and far more negative culture online.

Tall Poppy Syndrome: a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, cut down, or criticised because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers. This is similar to begrudgery, the resentment or envy of the success of a peer.

I don’t believe Cawthon is guilty of these claims, but considering how difficult it is to crack into the market and the fickle nature of many consumers these days, I wouldn’t blame him even if he was. I’d be very surprised if his accusers would act any different.

Under stress and probably rather fed up with the constant barrage of insults, Cawthon responded to his critics with nothing but eloquence, gratitude and class.

Hi guys. First of all, I wanted to thank the community in general for the huge outpouring of support through emails and in the forums. 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.

It’s true that there has been a lot of hate toward me lately; on the forums, on youtube, etc. 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. I think some people have this idea that I spend my days swimming in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, cranking out games with no effort, then laughing all the way to the bank. The reality is quite different, and I think that people who hate on me for being successful are misguided.

Did you know that last year I was working at Dollar General? 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 Megaman 3, buster only, with my kids. And I try to good with what’s been given to me.

I guess the reason I’m telling you all of this is to make sure you know that I’m human. I have a lot of flaws, and I’ve made a lot of mistakes. My games aren’t perfect, and they never will be. But something more important that I want to convey to all of you, is that you should never listen to people who criticize success simply because it’s success. Being good at something is something to strive for, not something to demonize. 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.

The best emails I get are from people who have chosen to pursue game development because of the games that I’ve made, or people who have decided to do computer science, or learn programming. Who will be the next game designer? Who will make the next game for Markiplier to play? Make sure that it’s you! People who hate success will never be successful. Focus on your success, and your story. People always ask me what college I recommend, or what programs I recommend. My answer is to just go forward, practice. Just GET to college, study hard, be awesome at what you do. Make sure that you are next year’s big success story. Don’t fall into the pit of people who have given up on making something of themselves, and make sure you make EVERYTHING out of yourself.

I’m getting too old for this. 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. 🙂

Personally I wish Scott all the fortune in the world. Thanks for making a great title to add to my Steam library!


2 replies »

  1. I absolutely agree with Scott. These haters are nothing but frustrated idiots who can’t accept their own incompetence, much less do anything about it, and therefore feel the need to minimize others who work their asses off to do something of their lives, so they can themselves feel superior in their puny little minds. Sadly haters seem to be on the increase: they’re result of generations raised on having everything granted without effort, and without any personal responsibility demanded of them by their parents and their society. When they can’t achieve anything themselves due to their own inbuilt laziness, they attack to those who do. Heck, I moved out of my own country because this envious mentality is pervasive there and it pushes everyone down. I also envy Scott, though in a positive way. He responded with class, whereas I’d likely only throw insults back (the same way I’m doing now, lol). For that, he has my respect. And my money. 😛


  2. I completely agree with you. Scott has had the good fortune to enjoy a little success recently from his Five Nights at Freddy’s series after an initially lacklustre career creating Christian video games. Scott’s success testifies to the merits of hard work, dedication and perseverance. His letter proves what a humble and respectable man he is, not someone who would let all this success increase his ego. I’d like to join you in wishing Scott all the best! Great post!


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