If you’re a fan of the horror gaming genre, there’s a high chance you are well-acquainted with or at least have come across the name Scott Cawthon and his famous gaming franchise, Five Nights at Freddy’s. He’s had massive success in the gaming space, developing over 70 released games and working on over 10 films, but after his success, he seemed to disappear – leading many to wonder what happened to him.
Who is Scott Cawthon?
Cawthon is a game developer, animator, and writer, and is beloved by many gamers. He began his game journey of design and animation in the 1990s and created his first game when he was just a young child, later developing it into a troll game. His first official game, RPG Max, was released in 2002, right before he joined the Christian animation organization, Hope Company. With the organization, he made Christian-based animations such as The Pilgrims Progress and A Christmas Journey.
Cawton soon moved to develop Chipper and Sons Lumber Co., Sit N’ Survive, and The Desolate Hope after uploading the first part of The Pilgrim’s Progress on his YouTube channel in 2007. He submitted the games to Steam Greenlight, but only The Desolate Hope made it through the selection process. The other two games were heavily criticized for the animatronic movements of some of the game’s characters. Discouraged by the bad news, but determined to use it to his advantage, he focused on developing Five Nights at Freddy’s with the same animatronic-like characters in 2014.
The game became a hit in the gaming community, eventually resulting in the production of eight installments, a movie, and several books.
Criticism and retirement
Cawthon announced that he would be retiring from public game development in a post on his official website in June 2021. Although the reason behind his retirement has not been officially confirmed, many have speculated that Cawthon retired due to the criticism he had received for the donations he had made to the campaigns of former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party. On social media — particularly Twitter — fans were torn by his political involvement and rumors of Cawthon being a homophobe began to circulate, which caused a rather heavy polarizing reception.
He addressed the matter in a lengthy post on Reddit, which he titled, “My response, and maybe last post.” In the post, he expressed his religious views and love for his fans in the LGBTQ+ community.
“I’ve had a blessed, fulfilling, and rich career. I’ve been shown great kindness and I’ve tried to show great kindness in return. All of this is to say that I am retiring. I have been shown tremendous love and support over this last week, a lot has come from the LGBTQ community. The kindness shown to me has been surreal.”
What is Scott Cawthon up to now?
In a screenshot of the retirement announcement Cawthon released on his website, he stated that he would be spending more time with his six children.
“I have SIX kids now and I love them dearly. I want to focus my attention on them, focus on protecting them, and spend my time making things for them. I only ask that my fanbase respect my decision.”
Despite his retirement announced, Cawthon is still involved with the FNAF franchise. He co-wrote the 2023 supernatural horror film based on the games, Five Nights at Freddy’s. The movie is set to star Josh Hutcherson, Matthew Lillard, and Elizabeth Lail and was released on October 27, 2023.