Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted was recently announced during PlayStation’s State of Play presentation and we were invited to San Francisco to check it out, among other games, in person. On hand was Jason Toposlki, the Co-founder of Steel Wool Studios. These are the folks making the game, and his insight into the development process was not only informative, but also entertaining. It sounds like the team had as much fun making the game as I did playing the demo.
FNaF: From Point and Click to VR
Five Nights at Freddy’s started out as a point-and-click survival horror adventure title back in 2014 and was exclusive to the PC. The game played out in a pizza restaurant that looked like a cross between Chuck-E-Cheese and a run down haunted house. Scary and dilapidated animatronic creatures, that may have once entertained children, were now out to kill you and were no longer family friendly. The game was eventually ported over to mobile platforms, and has had numerous sequels, a book, and there’s even a movie in production. It’s a series born to be played in VR, and the demo I played scared the hell out of me more than once.
The demo consisted of three separate levels, each with their own unique gameplay style. The first one I played was your standard FNaF design, where those creepy animatronic creatures are on the loose and are slowly working their way to you. With a door to my left, a door to my right, and a security cam panel and map laid out in front of me, I had to try to follow the creatures as they moved towards me. Only problem was, I had a limited power supply and those damn doors required power to remain closed. If the power level reached zero before I survived 5 minutes the doors would be open and the creatures would come visit me and I would be dead (spoiler alert: I died).
Why Would I Want to Fix This Damn Thing?
The second level I tried out was a repair scenario. All I had to do was follow specific instructions and I could repair the animatronic creature in front of me. Personally I think a sledge hammer would be the better way to go. Why in the hell would I want to repair something as creepy as one of these guys? Regardless of my personal feelings towards these lovely creatures, I was tasked with repairing one, so went about trying to do just that. The instructions are very specific and you better remember your right from left, and realize that the creature’s right and left are flipped from yours. It’s only your life at stake, so no big deal, right?
The third level I played was like a standard escape room, but with a twist. It was called Vent Repair and I was inside the vent system of a building. It was a small square room with three doors. One on the left, one on the right, and one in front of me. Once I pushed a small button below me the door on the left opened to reveal more buttons and levers. Finding the correct sequence with these then opened the door in the middle and it also had more things to interact with. Here’s where the game gets tricky. If you don’t occasionally look back at the door on the left, a creature will come and kill you through it. By the time you get the last door open and start working through that puzzle, you’ll look like a skittish bird and quite possibly get whiplash because you’ll have to keep looking back through the other doors to make sure something isn’t coming to kill you, all while trying to figure out the last puzzle.
It was a Dark and Scary Night
This being a horror title, it’s naturally a dark and haunted looking game. It feels like a game originally designed to be played in VR as it plays incredibly well in an up-close, first person view. The jump scares, of which I don’t normally fall victim too, got me a couple of times, and I’m pretty sure that was caused by being so close to what I was working on. If you’re claustrophobic, the realism of the vent repair scenario might actually prove to be too much for you, as you can sense the tightness of the space as you work through it. The level is designed so well that you’ll feel like you are stuck in a vent and trying to save your own life.
The final version of Five Nights at Freddy’s VR: Help Wanted, set to be released on April 30th, will have 40+ levels of delightfully scary scenarios to play through, with collectibles to be found and unlockables to be earned. There will be a game hub set in an arcade where you’ll be able to see what you have unlocked and turn in tokens you have found to unlock even more stuff. The replay value of the game may be pretty high, and even if you have played through a bunch of Freddy’s stuff before, the developer says there are a bunch of new things created just for the VR game.