Five Nights at Freddy's is a series of Survival Horror indie games created by Scott Cawthon. The first game centers around the infamous Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria and its main attraction: The restaurant's four animatronic mascots: Freddy Fazbear and his friends Bonnie the Bunny, Chica the Chicken, and Foxy the Pirate Fox. Kid-friendly place during the day, its tone changes drastically whenever the restaurant is closed for the night... because this is when the animatronics start wandering around the whole place. You play the role of the night guard, who must sit in the security office and make sure the animatronics don't get in — or else they'll kill you. (The restaurant doesn't like that.)
The game's surprise success led to five sequels: Five Nights At Freddy's 2 (November 2014), Five Nights At Freddy's 3 (released in March 2015), Five Nights At Freddy's 4 (July 2015), Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location (October 2016), and Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulatornote (December 2017).
The first four games follows the same basic gameplay template, but each one has its own specific twist. In each game, you have to deal with a number of animatronics that will kill you if they get their hands on you. You're given something to defend yourself (security doors; a mask and flashlight; a sound file and vent doors; and ordinary doors, respectively), you're handicapped by something that prevents you from abusing your defense (a power meter; animatronics too smart to fool and poor battery life; computer errors; and multiple areas of entrance, respectively), and you have to face a threat that doesn't appear in the trailer (Foxy; The Marionette; The Phantoms; Nightmare Fredbear and Nightmare; Ennard and Minireena; and all of the animatronics, respectively).
Sister Location, though, mixes things up a lot. Each night does different things for your shift. Night 2, for instance, needs you to hold a door shut as a Bidybab tries to pull it open, then play a sound-based game of Red Light Green Light with Ballora, and then you have to worry about Funtime Freddy, who is right beside you while balancing restarting systems (which pisses it off), and playing a sound file (which calms it down).
Another shake-up occurs in the final game, Pizzeria Simulator and is somewhat a compromise between the previous ones. All nights share the same core gameplay; however, instead of statically biding your time until 6 AM while preventing the animatronics from reaching you, you need to do tasks through a monitor until you're given the option to leave, which means that the nights might go on forever if your focus is only to fend off the animatronics. A new addition is a tycoon minigame, which plays out before each night. Here, you'll play as the manager responsible for decorating your own Freddy Fazbear's Pizza location. While you can skip this, your actions — including how many ads you buy, how you manage your funds, how you settle lawsuits, and how many old animatronics you salvage — influence the playthrough.
Warner Bros. picked up the rights to make a film based on the games in April 2015. Monster House director Gil Kenan will direct the film, and the animatronics will be built by the Jim Henson's Creature Shop.
Scott released a spin-off to the main series, Five Nights at Freddy's World, in January 2016. It is, on its face, a Lighter and Softer RPG where you can choose to play as any of the animatronics and go on a fun adventure through a fantasy world. It reveals a slightly less "lighter and softer" side as it goes on, and several updates have only helped in that regard.
Shortly after the Halloween update to Freddy's 4, Scott Cawthon vanished from the internet. He returned in December 2015 to announce Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes, a spinoff novel that expands upon the lore; the book was released on the 17th of December. In June 2016, Scott announced a book deal with Scholastic for three YA novels, the first of which came out in October 2016.
On the 9th of May, 2016, Scott Cawthon confirmed via the Steam forums that the original main series games will be remade for consoles.
Entries in the main series:
- Five Nights at Freddy's
- Five Nights at Freddy's 2
- Five Nights at Freddy's 3
- Five Nights at Freddy's 4
- Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location
- Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator
- Five Nights at Freddy's (The Movie)
- Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes
- Five Nights at Freddy's: The Twisted Ones
- Five Nights at Freddy's: The Fourth Closet
- Five Nights at Freddy's: The Freddy Files (guidebook)
- Five Nights at Freddy's: Survival Logbook (guidebook)
Examples found in the entire franchise of FNAF:
- Adult Fear:
- Those slightly off-putting animatronics have been disturbing parents for years, but kids still come to the pizzeria and have parties. The fact that at least five were murdered - and seemingly stuffed into the animatronic suits - on restaurant grounds, and the animatronics subsequently developed a foul smell and became stained with "blood and mucus," doesn't help matters.
- For that matter, the murders themselves. A psycho dressing up as a kid-friendly character, luring a child into a back room, and brutally murdering them is practically lifted from parents' nightmares.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: If something's mechanical and moving in this series, then there's a 9 out of 10 chance that it's out for your blood. Though when you bring ghosts into the equation, then there's a high chance that they aren't naturally psychopathic.
- Alone with the Psycho: In every game, the player is essentially trapped in one place, unable to leave until 6:00 A.M. lest they be flanked and killed by the murderous animatronics. 3 plays it the most straight, as you're stuck alone with one animatronic, who most certainly is depraved.
- Ambiguous Time Period: This franchise does not want to give out its time-period freely. However, with a bit of deduction, the player can usually figure out what year it might be in:
- The first game has the date 19XX. However, seeing how it's set after 1987, and judging by the minimum wage, it most likely takes place in 1992/1993.
- The second game subverts this: you get your paycheck on November 12th, 1987.
- The third game's description says it takes place 30 years after the pizzeria shuts down, again leaving it in in either 2022 or 2023.
- The fourth game gets a little complicated, since as a child, you're obviously not given a paycheck at the end of the week. However, judging by a screen found in the night between minigames and that entering this number in the Private Room in Sister Location brings up the Child's house, it might just be 1983.
- Sister Location states that Circus Baby's Pizza World was set up after the "unfortunate" closing of Freddy Fazbear's pizzeria, presumably the one taking place after the first game. If so, then Sister Location could be between the 1992-2022 period, before the urban legends of the Fazbears pizzeria became widely known. And then the ending pops up, making it uncertain as to whether the game takes place during or in-between 1 and 2, immediately after 4, shortly before or after 3, or before any of the other games at all.
- The sixth game is unambiguously set after the events of the third game due to it revolving around Springtrap surviving the fire of Fazbear's Fright, with elements in the game imply that it's in 2023. Quite fitting, since it's also the last game in the series.
- And I Must Scream: The children that are trapped inside the animatronics are still partially alive and unable to control themselves.
- Antagonist Title: Freddy's the default Big Bad of the first game. He's also in the title for all of the games, as well as most of their cover art. At least some version of Freddy (be it the original, or his Toy, Phantom, Nightmare, Funtime, or Molten counterparts) also appears in all the games.
- Anyone Can Die: The mortality rate of the series, both for the human characters and the animatronics, is extremely high. By the end of the sixth game, all surviving animatronics spectacularly burn down in a fire, while the only humans who still have reasonable chance to survive are the night guards of the first three games (Mike Schmidt, Jeremy Fitzgerald, Fritz Smith, and the unnamed protagonist of the third game), Phone Dude, and the fourth game's Kid's Brother and his three friends. That's not accounting the Kudzu Plot-maker that is Michael Afton, who's hinted to be the Kid's Brother assuming the identities of dead people/night guards (Jeremy and Fritz are the names of two of the Missing Children, after all). If that's the case, then only the Phone Dude and Michael's three friends definitely make it.
- Arc Words:
- "It's me." It shows up ludicrously often in the first two games - being a random hallucination in 1 and a recurring message from the Puppet in 2.note It doesn't show up in 3 or 4, but makes another appearance as a Wham Line at the end of Sister Location and shows up one last time in Pizzeria Simulator as a Leaning on the Fourth Wall quote.
- Also, "put back together." The final line of Five Nights at Freddy's 4, also used by Michael Afton when talking about his sister, in one of the last lines of Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location. What exactly the phrase means or implies is unclear.
- Artistic License – Engineering: In reality, animatronics are very fragile pieces of machinery that will fairly easily break if even a small amount of force beyond their design specs is applied. In many cases, this is actually intentional to prevent injury. And no, you can't really chalk it up to them being possessed by the ghosts of the murdered children, because they're expected to move around at night.note In The Silver Eyes, Freddy and Friends are described as smashing and tossing arcade machines around, and sound more like Terminators than actual animatronics, taking this Up to Eleven.
- Artifact Title: The series hasn't really been "at Freddy's" since 2. Even more, Freddy himself has largely been pushed out of the spotlight by other characters, like the Marionette, Springtrap, and Circus Baby. Even the "five nights" portion of the title wasn't so accurate from the beginning, alluding to the first five nights being most relevant to the story, only for such to apply less and less as the installments went on. Somewhat subverted in Pizzeria Simulator, where it actually does take place at a brand new Freddy's...a simulated one.
- Bears Are Bad News: Oh yes they are.
- Big Bad: Though the animatronics themselves aren't usually too plot-important, the series does indeed have one: William Afton, a serial child murderer whose actions directly caused the animatronics to be haunted and whose children — all dead and having come back wrong, of course — may or may not be similarly important to the plot. He's also Springtrap, and thus serves as the Big Bad of 3 and one of the antagonists in Pizzeria Simulator.
- Big Good:
- A complicated example in the Puppet. It's the primary antagonist of one of the games, a recurring villain afterward, and the main force behind the Animatronics... but its actions are all towards the goal of stopping the series' Greater-Scope Villain, its plan is ultimately successful, and it fixes its mess once its plan is finished by releasing the souls trapped in the animatronics.
- Greater-Scope Paragon: The final game introduces the biggest hero in the series: the Casette Man, apparently Henry, William Afton's former associate from the novels. He masterminds the plot to trap Afton and other animatronics in the vents so he can burn all of them down and end the legacy of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria. In fact, Henry is also the father of the kid possessing the Puppet (named Charlotte in the novels) and while he doesn't influence her decision to give the Missing Children closure by putting their souls to rest, he's responsible for giving her closure by trapping her inside Lefty and burning it in the inferno.
- Bittersweet Ending: How the games often end, with it leaning towards more to the "bitter" side most of the time. Whatever it is, the protagonist usually gets the short end of the stick. The fourth and fifth games, however, have straightforward Downer Endings.
- 1 ends with Mike Schmidt being fired from his job, which is honestly the best outcome he can get from his kind of job. But the mysteries of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza remain unsolved, the missing kids remain missing, and no one except Mike will ever know what happened to Phone Guy and other unlucky night guards.
- 2 is somewhat a downer, but Fritz Smith still gets a (quick) firing from the management (although if he's the Phone Guy, then he's worse off in the long run). However, Jeremy Fitzgerald likely suffers from the Bite of '87, either as the victim, perpetrator, or witness. Also, the murders of the Missing Children happen during the events of this game, and due to Foregone Conclusion, it can't be prevented.
- Despite all of that, 3 initially appears to avert this. Springtrap is locked into Fazbear's Fright as it's set ablaze, the souls of the Missing Children are set free, and the protagonist (whatever his name is) leaves none the worse for wear. Then comes Sister Location, which reveals that Springtrap survived the fire. Still, not as bad as usual.
- And Pizzeria Simulator ends the series with a bittersweet end, this time leaning more on the "happy" part. The animatronics are destroyed and Henry and Michael Afton die, sure. But William Afton also dies and the Fazbear's Management is forced to close doors after too many shortcomings, finally putting the nail in the coffin to the Corrupt Corporate Executive. Also, Charlotte, the soul contained within the Puppet, can join the other Missing Children in the afterlife.
- Body Horror:
- The games are (in)famous for their portrayal of mechanical body horror, especially after the first one (though the original was no stranger to it, either; just ask Foxy).
- There's also what they do to you in the first game if they catch you: stuff you inside a Freddy Fazbear suit. With all the wires still inside. Ouch.
- And then there's the bad/real ending of Sister Location. Remember when Phone Guy mused about having a metal endoskeleton shoved inside you under the animatronics' assumption that you're a costume? Ennard happily does so to the protagonist, killing him and using his corpse as a disguise. And then it gradually decays into a rotting, purple husk. And once Ennard evacuates it, the protagonist is somehow still alive.
- Butt-Monkey: If you're a version of Foxy, then expect your animatronic life to suck even worse then that of your peers.
- Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The "animatronics" that the series revolves around are really just robots. Real-life animatronics are far stiffer than them. And more fragile.
- Color Motif: All of the games have their respective color motifs: The first game mostly uses dark grays and blues, the second game uses red in place of the latter, the third game uses yellow and green, and the fourth game uses purple and yellow for its minigames, while utilizing blue and red for the gameplay and everything else. The fifth one uses deep blue and some purples, and the sixth uses pastel colors for its tycoon element, uses elements of orange in the salvaging gameplay, and uses dark grays and blues in the main gameplay. Besides that, however, purple is used a lot throughout the series as well, which is almost always associated with the series's antagonist: William Afton, commonly referred to as the Purple Man. This serves as Foreshadowing for Sister Location's plot; William Afton built the animatronics of that game, and he built them to kill.
- Crapsaccharine World: The pizzerias can be considered miniature versions of these. On the surface, they're meant to be places where children can eat pizza and have fun. Behind locked doors, however, lies a history of murder, cover ups, and unsafe working conditions.
- Crapsack World: Fazbear's Fright completely drops all pretense and shows the former business for what it really was.
- Dead to Begin With: Every antagonist is possessed by a murdered child (subverted by the 3rd game). The two reasons for this is William Aftonnote who killed the children in the first place and The Puppet/Leftynote who gave the murdered children life by stuffing them and their souls into the second location's animatronic mascots, allowing their remnants to possess the suits. Golden Freddy/Fredbear was also given life by The Puppet.
- Downer Ending: The fourth and fifth games. Specifically, both of their protagonists die at the end, and "Eggs Benedict" is revealed to not only be William Afton's son, but to have also possessed his own rotten corpse.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In regards to the first game, the lore of the franchise is almost nonexistent. The most you can get out of it are brief flashes of short newspaper articles talking about the murders and the soon closing of the pizzeria. The first game is also the only one not have the Atari-style 8-bit minigame, which has since become a staple of the series.
- Exposition Fairy: Phone Guy and his successors, all of whom dispense valuable information on the gameplay and provide the first readily-available glimpse of the series' plot. Though they're all invariably unreliable narrators.
- Featureless Protagonist: Due to being set exclusively in first-person view, no protagonist in the series can be identified in physical terms (though the first game's Mike Schmidt is implied to have blue eyes if the game over screen is anything to go by). Except for the kid from 4, as we do see how he looks like, but only in 8-bit.
- Greater-Scope Villain: This franchise actually has a few of them, believe it or not. There's...
- William Afton, who murdered at least five children while wearing a company suit. He's also the Big Bad of the third game, Springtrap, but that's after he's been killed. He's also revealed the have built the animatronics of Sister Location, specifically to help murder/kidnap children.
- Then there's the Puppet, who, while also trying to help avenge the children (and being possessed by child also), is also targeting innocent night guards. It serves as the Final Boss of the series in the form of Lefty.
- Finally, there's the management of Freddy Fazbear's themselves, whose disturbing lack of security, safety, or common sense causes all these accidents and murders to happen. Well, most of them. In Sister Location, Afton is the management.
- Harder Than Hard:
- The first game has "4-20 Mode"/"20-20-20-20 Mode", the result of tinkering with the four animatronics' AI (which you can do at the start of the Custom Night) and setting it to the highest level possible.
- The second game has "10-20 Mode", which is the equivalent of the above, but with 10 animatronics instead of 4.
- The third game has the "Aggressive Nightmare Mode", the combination of Nightmare Mode (Night 6) and the Aggressive cheat (which makes Springtrap more, well, aggressive).
- The fourth game has an additional Nightmare night unlocked after beating Night 6, and a hidden Night 8 that uses the "4-20" Mode by default (you have to type "20202020" on your keyboard to unlock it). And then you get the option to do it blind...
- The fifth game had Night 4, in which you are trapped inside a springlock suit and have to keep the springlocks wound while avoiding death by Minireena. Wiggling to shake off the Minireenas undoes the winding on the springlocks, which led to Scott patching the game to make it easier after numerous complaints about its difficulty. Then there's the Night 5 alternate ending, where it's a combination of all the previous games mechanics: the first game's doors, the second game's three entryways, the third game's one animatronic who'll kill you, and the fourth game's sound detection system. Oh, and it's on the diffculty of 4/20 mode. Have fun!
- Hate Sink: It's kind of hard to hate the animatronics. However, this series has a few humans who you can hate:
- The management in the first two games, who allow the animatronics to remain in the restaurant instead of replacing them, give you a life threatening job without warning you of the danger, refuse to pay restitution if you are injured, hide your corpse and cover it up with a missing person report if you get killed, don't even pay you well, and eventually fire you while insulting your odor.
- The series's actual antagonist, William Afton, is easily the easiest to hate out of the entire roster. The man murders children, for crying out loud.
- The fourth game has the older brother. The Nightmare animatronics in that game are just figments of the child's imagination, so he is the only one you truly have to hate in that game.
- Haunted Technology: It's initially very heavily hinted - and then outright stated, later on - that the animatronics are being haunted by the ghosts of children that were murdered in the restaurant. Springtrap is also hinted to be possessed by the man who murdered the them. However, not every animatronic falls under this: the Toys are simply malfunctioning, the Nightmares are merely hallucinations, and the Circus Baby gang (save for Baby herself) are acting out on their accord.
- Hostile Animatronics: One of the most known modern examples.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Despite being centered around homicidal robots, this trope seems to be a major theme throughout the series:
- William Afton himself. He murdered anywhere from five to eleven innocent children with no remorse. He's the whole reason the animatronics are after you as they (being haunted by the aforementioned children) believe you to be him. Granted, he's no longer human by the time the third game happens. But unlike the other animatronics, who are more tragic than they are evil, he's more of a Chucky expy by this point.
- Throughout the events of the fourth game, the protagonist (a little boy who is always crying) constantly gets bullied by his older brother. The jerk keeps jumping out of nowhere to frighten his brother, dragging him to Fazbear's Pizzeria even though the boy is scared of the animatronics, and even locking him in a closet with animatronic parts strewn around for fun. Then at the end of the game, the boy is forced to have his birthday party at Fazbear's, with only his older brother and his friends attending. This group of bullies thinks it is a good idea to pick up the boy and push his head into the moving, mechanical jaws of Fredbear. The boy gets his head chomped on, and it is strongly implied he died from this Bite of '83.
- Overlapping with Kids Are Cruel, the Security Puppet minigame from Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator provides more insight on an incident that was first seen in Five Nights at Freddy's 2. When you playtest the Security Puppet, your objective is to ensure that your “assigned child”, who is wearing a green security bracelet, does not reach the exit. Everything goes smoothly until you reach the fourth playtest. The puppet cannot get out of its box because the other children placed another box on its lid. They are gathered at the exit, looking at a little girl with a green bracelet who has been locked out of the pizzeria and is jumping at the window. The children leave, the girl vanishes, and the events of the “SAVE HIM” note minigame happens off-screen. By the time you get outside to find her, her body has been left near the trash bins, with only the Puppet’s now-damaged frame to hold her. Thus, we now know the Puppet’s origin story.
- Instant-Win Condition: The first five games share the goal of surviving from midnight to dawn and once the clock strikes 6AM, you're home free and it doesn't seem to matter if you're literally surrounded by killer animatronics once that hour hits—all active threats apparently let you waltz out of the establishment once your shift is over. The trope still applies for the sixth game, as once you click that "log off" button, the night is instantly won.
- Jump Scare: The first few games had these exclusively as the lose condition, with the animatronics shrieking in your face before cutting to the Game Over screen. FNAF 3 introduced hallucinatory jump scares which impede you but otherwise allow you to keep going.
- Kudzu Plot:
- Although the first game has by no means a simple plot, it's still perfectly understandable (five children were murdered by a serial killer, but their bodies were never found. Later, their souls possessed the animatronics now haunting the restaurant at night. The pizzeria closes by the end of the week due to various scandals. There's also a footnote concerning someone whose frontal lobe was bitten, but he/she survived somehow). The second tries to move forward but ends up introducing a whole lot of lore that aren't explained, such as how the Toy animatronics and the Puppet haunt you when they're apparently not possessed. Granted, they're (sort of) capable to be sorted out (the Puppet is a killed child too, and it stuffed the Missing Childrens' souls to the animatronics. The Toy animatronics, meanwhile, are just because A.I. Is a Crapshoot), but the line, "Forget [...]about the previous location" combined with the game's infamous Tomato Surprise just raises even more questions.
- The third game apparently wraps up the series nicely (Fazbear's Fright burns down, taking all animatronics with it. The Missing Children also manage to pass on to the afterlife after relishing in their revenge against their killer), even if The Stinger (Springtrap survives) kinda messes it up. The fourth is a prequel, so even if it has a complicated plot on its own, you can safely place it in the timeline and still have a neat storyline. Then the fifth game comes... everything becomes a huge mess. Highlight kudzus include: revealing that another of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria line still exists, blurring the truth about the fourth game's All Just a Dream premise, and a certain event that happens to the protagonist implying major retcons to the series' lore... which actually don't exist.
- Luckily, the sixth (and final) game ultimately ties up most loose ends. The remaining animatronics burn down, Lefty/the Puppet/Charlotte enters the pearly gates, the villains get their asses kicked, and Fazbear Entertainment closes its doors for good. Although some little tidbits remain (like the Shadows and the Bite of '87), to quote the fourth game: "Perhaps some things are best left forgotten, for now".
- Later Installment Weirdness: Sister Location, excepting one level, moves away from the progression-based survival horror setup of previous games in favor of a series of minigames with differing objectives for each one. Meanwhile, World is a straight-up RPG.
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The first four games have straightforward titles. Then come Five Nights At Freddys World, Five Nights At Freddys Sister Location, and Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator. The first can be forgiven due to its spin-off status, but the other two, not really.
- Officially Shortened Title:
- The third game's title is just put as "FNAF 3" on the main menu.
- FNAF World was the name the game was advertised under.
- Purple Is Powerful: If something has even a hint of purple on them, you can bet that they're extremely important and/or extremely deadly. Case in point: the Purple Man, whose actions drive the plot. By the end of Sister Location, there's also Michael Afton, who's out to remedy his dad's crimes.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: The voice acting for the various phone people. It's full of "um's", repetitions, and various other mess-ups. Done intentionally, considering how in Five Nights at Freddy's 3 the Phone Guy's recordings about the hybrid suits are much more professionally done than the recordings of the previous games, probably since he was reading from a script.
- Suck E. Cheese's:
- The titular Freddy Fazbear's Pizza itself. We don't know much about their food and games, but they've got their creepy animatronics down to a tee. And then there's the matter of the Bite of '87 and the murders that happened in there...
- We know even less about Fredbear's Family Diner, the restaurant that preceded Freddy's, but the protagonist of 4 certainly hates going there. It doesn't help that it appears to be where the dangerous springlock suits used at Freddy's came from, nor does the child getting a head bite from Fredbear as a birthday present.
- Suddenly Voiced: It seems every character is getting a voice in the Ultimate Custom Night update for Pizzeria Simulator.
- Freddy Fazbear himself is getting a voice too!
- Supporting Protagonist:
- The protagonists of the series can only be called as such because the player is playing as them, as they otherwise don't have anything to do with the lore of the series (though again, the kid from 4 is an exception). Instead, the animatronics are the real stars of the story.
- This is actually generally potentially averted, depending on what you believe; Jeremy Fitzgerald may have been the victim of the Bite of '87 (or, failing that, may have taken the fall for William Afton's crimes), Fritz Smith may actually be Phone Guy, the guard of 3 may be directly responsible for the Missing Children being set free, the Child may actually be Golden Freddy (or possibly even the Puppet), and Eggs Benedict is William Afton's son, who may also be every protagonist (barring the on from 4) via applying to Freddy's under numerous aliases. It's not too clear.
- Pizzeria Simulator averts this. Not only is you're the manager of the pizzeria, you indirectly design the place to end the animatronics and the Fazbear's Management, alongside the Casette Man (although you don't realize his involvement until the very end).