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How Steel Wool Studios Brought Five Nights At Freddy's To Life In VR

Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted was an immediate success on Oculus Quest reaching an unprecedented number of user reviews (mostly positive) on the Quest store within mere hours of release. We loved it too, for what it’s worth.

The game’s success on Quest this year follows its previous success on PSVR and PC VR headsets as well. Now basically anyone with a major VR headset can play it.

We recently got the chance to conduct an email Q&A with Andrew Dayton, CEO of Steel Wool Studios, to chat about the game’s development, bringing the franchise to VR, and what’s in store next for the furry denizens of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza.

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UploadVR: Five Nights at Freddy’s VR on Quest seems to be doing very well. Can you speak at all to sales numbers? 

Andrew Dayton, Steel Wool Studios CEO: FNAF VR Help Wanted has done amazingly well! We can’t speak specific numbers but we are free to share that we broke Oculus Quest’s 1-Day sales record as well as its 1-Week sales record. 

 

UploadVR: Can you speak at all to how it is performing on Quest relative to other VR platforms?

Dayton: FNAF VR Help Wanted has performed exceptionally well on all the VR platforms. I can’t really compare them as they are all different ecosystems really. Between the PC-based VR, Sony’s PSVR and Oculus’ stand-alone Quest, there is an option for almost everyone who is interested in Virtual Reality and the user base is just getting larger.

 

UplaodVR: Steel Wool isn’t the original developer of FNAF, so what was it like working with an existing game studio’s non-VR IP?

Dayton: It has been a great experience. My co-founder and Creative Director Jason Topolski and I met while we worked at Pixar so we have experience working with larger than life IPs. What people who are not well versed in the FNAF universe may not know is that the IP and series of games are created by one person, Scott Cawthon. We were introduced to Scott through Lionsgate Games and Striker Entertainment.  Since then, we’ve work directly with Scott when pitching ideas and having reviews. There is no filtered layers of communication, if we need to discuss something with Scott we can simply just jump on a call. He is very collaborative, creative, and supportive. His greatest trait is that he genuinely cares about his fans above all else. You really cannot ask for a better partner. We would be happy to work with him forever!

 

UploadVR: Was it difficult to adapt for VR or did it seem like a natural fit?

Dayton: It was a natural fit. Scott’s creative and aesthetic style lines up very well with ours. His games are scary to begin with. VR enhances that sense of tension and fear. What you get in VR that you cannot necessarily get in a 2D game is scale and spatial tension. You can “feel” something is behind you in VR. In FNAF, there may very well be! 

 

UploadVR: The Five Nights at Freddy’s VR fan-base is extremely rabid and passionate. Was that surprising to be on the receiving end of?

Dayton: Surprising? Yes and no. My fellow co-founders, Jason, Stewart and I have kids and we knew well before we started working with Scott how passionate the fans are. What we didn’t know was how we would be welcomed into the community. The fans have been incredible. They are so energized and have been so supportive of us and we are so grateful to them. We get so many great messages and emails from fans. We have fan art kids have sent us hanging up in the studio. It is humbling and makes us feel a part of something special. 

 

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UploadVR: What aspect of Five Nights at Freddy’s VR development, specifically on Quest, was most challenging?

Dayton: Optimization! We worked with Oculus and an incredible team at The Forge to get FNAF Help Wanted on to the Quest. The result is an amazing version that shows off what can be accomplished on the Oculus Quest. Wolfgang Engel and his team at the Forge really helped do most of the heavy lifting and were incredible to work with.  

 

UploadVR: What is the timeframe for bringing Curse of the Dreadbear DLC for Five Nights at Freddy’s VR to Quest?

Dayton: It is in the works but we can’t share any timelines yet.

 

UploadVR: Are there plans for additional DLC releases for Five Nights at Freddy’s VR?

Dayton: Unfortunately, we can’t speak to future plans.  

 

UploadVR: Do you plan to continue supporting the non-Quest versions of FNAF VR?

We will continue supporting all versions of Help Wanted.

 

UploadVR: What was your favorite part of working on FNAF VR?

Dayton: My favorite part working in the FNAF world is seeing how much fun players have immersed in the universe. I truly understood what FNAF was capable of one day at the office during production. We don’t have offices, we all sit together in an open space with the offices converted into demo or art rooms. There was an art team from one of the hardware companies visiting the studio. The team was demoing an early version of Help Wanted and there was about 7 of them crowded in the demo room next to my desk. I was working and I kept hearing screams followed by hysterical laughter. The art team was having so much fun playing the game and watching their co-workers getting jump scared. Scott created this world where there was humor, horror and a deep underlying storyline. 

 

 

UploadVR: Can you hint at what you’re working on next after FNAF VR?

Dayton: We are working on the next Five Nights at Freddy’s game. It is an ambitious project and will be the biggest title we have ever worked on. We also have an VR Enterprise division that is working on a VR therapy application with a medical technology company.   

 

Upon receiving the Q&A responses, we reached out for further clarification on the final answer regarding the new Five Nights at Freddy’s game. At this time, a company representative has told us that, “the new game mentioned is not confirmed for VR” at this time. It feels like that was worded very carefully, but as of now we’re treating it as if it is not coming to VR. At least not yet.

For more on Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted, don’t forget to check out our written and video review here. You can also check out a jump scare-filled livestream from the game’s launch day on Quest last month as well.

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