I’ve written two articles for this blog about the indie game sensation “Five Nights at Freddy’s.” My first review was a critical analysis of why I think this series was one of the greatest examples of horror games in history, redefining what a game needs to be scary and turning the genre on its heads by playing with the idea that less is more.
My second article, however, was just about the fifth game, which I considered to be the worst game in the entire series and even a sign that creator Scott Cawthon should stop making games for the FNaF franchise. Full of glitches and teeming with a lack of understand of the RPG genre as a whole, “Five Nights at Freddy’s World” was, in my opinion, a sign that FNaF is over and Cawthon should move on to other projects.
It’s no surprise, however, that Cawthon announced a new installment of the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” series, dubbed “Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location.” What is surprising to me, however, is how good this game looks.
This was a series I considered to be a fallen giant; a series so important and game changing that it reinvented the horror genre of video games only to be slain by games being pushed out too quickly with not enough thought put behind them, however, “Sister Location” looks like it’s going to be a step in the right direction.
The trailer for “Sister Location” dropped in May 2016, and the most recent addition to Cawthon’s website, as of this writing, confirming a release date of October 7th. Knowing Scott, he probably will release it earlier than that, but this is a big enough gap between games that it implies Cawthon has taken the criticism of “World” to heart and is making sure the game is perfect before it comes out, which is the main reason “Sister Location” looks like it could be the next great installment of the series.
The long gap between games is of course promising, but other factors evident in the trailer have got fans excited for this release.
First of all, the entire premise, which can be seen even in the title: this is set in the ‘sister location’ to the original Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, meaning this is a whole new set of characters, a while new story and a new timeline.
“Five Nights at Freddy’s 4” was a pretty okay game, not as great as 1 or 2 but still scary, but my biggest complaint about the game is that it messed up the timeline of the series completely.
If you play FNaF all the way to the end you see that the child you play as, who gets his head bitten by one of the animatronics in night 5, is actually living in 1982, not 1987. It’s meant to be a twist, but you’re telling me there not only was a “Bite of ‘87” (as referenced in FNaF 1) but also another one in 1982? Why would that happen twice? What’s the point of there being 2 incidents of children being injured at the restaurants? Just when you think the game is all wrapped up and doesn’t have any more mysteries, this attempt at hooking the player into the mystery just raises more questions and comes off at Cawthon forgetting his own story.
This is why “Sister Location” being a totally new story is so beneficial to the series, there’s no timeline to mess up any more.
Cawthon has said on Steam that “Sister Location is very different from the other games and is very story-driven.” This is going to be a whole new story, with new mysteries for us to solve and, most importantly, makes it seem like Cawthon is going to put Freddy Fazbear to rest. The story doesn’t need to be added onto anymore, it’s time for something new and fresh, and by the looks of things, “Sister Location” will provide a blank slate to start the series over on.
The game looks radically different as far as layout as well, the trailer implying the player is actually moving around rather than being in one room. This allows the possibility of new gameplay mechanics that may end up being equally as terrifying as the feeling of dread present in games 1 through 3 of just sitting waiting to die. Could “Sister Location” be playing off the fear of “you can run, but you can’t hide?” Cawthon has implied this game is so radically different from the others in the series that old game mechanics won’t work here. When asked about the custom night modes from the previous installments, Cawthon responded “…[H]aving a custom night wouldn’t really worked with Sister Location [because] it’s a very different experience than other games.” I’m hopefully optimistic about the prospect of the game being radically different, since it made game 2 and 3 so good, but that’s also what happened with World, so let’s just hope for the best.
I like the designs of the new animatronics, and yes, I love the fact that it’s an all girl ensemble this time. Their designs may be a little too complicated, but on the whole I like the circus theme he’s going for and have to commend Cawthon’s animating skills on getting better and better. The animatronics being fully voice acted I’m also going to remain cautiously optimistic about, hopefully Cawthon can make that just as scary as silent, dead eyes staring the player down.
And that’s the phrase that sums up my whole view on “Sister Location;” cautiously optimistic. I think that Cawthon has listened to the community and is going to try extremely hard to make this game as great as the originals, but only time will tell if all this work will pay off. If we’re lucky, “Sister Location” will give us a chance to redefine the horror game genre yet again like its predecessors, if we are brave enough to survive five nights yet again.