While fan works are often vulnerable to DMCA takedowns from copyright holders (especially when based on Nintendo properties), Five Nights At Freddy's creator Scott Cawthon is choosing to support his fan creators instead. As announced on the FNAF subreddit, the Fazbear Fanverse Initiative will not only provide funding for fangames, it will also support developers in getting their games on consoles and represented with merch.
In the post, which has since become the subreddit's most upvoted ever, Cawthon describes the initiative as a collaboration with the developers of some of the most popular FNAF fan games. The indie horror game became a cult hit in the early days of gaming YouTube, spawning seven main games, a number of spinoffs, novels, and even a film adaptation that is reportedly still in production despite numerous delays.
Cawthon says that, while he has contributed funding to the fan games involved, he has stayed out of the development side, instead preferring to let the creators take the projects where they will. The "initial" lineup includes the following games as described by Cawthon:
- Emil will be bringing you Five Nights at Candy’s 4!
- Nikson will be bringing you The Joy of Creation: Ignited Collection!
- Kane will be bringing you Popgoes Evergreen!
- Jonochrome will be bringing you One Night at Flumpty’s 3!
- And finally, Phisnom will be bringing you a remake/re-imagining of the original FNaF!
While the fangames will be released for free on GameJolt, Cawthon also plans to bring them to consoles and/or mobile platforms in bundles, something almost unheard of in the realm of fangames. While the initial project is framed as a bit of an experiment, its clear Cawthon hopes for the Fanverse Initative to be an ongoing program.
It's rare for fan creators to get so much support from developers, though fan creations and modding often serve as a pathway for developers to break into traditional jobs in the industry.