Five Nights at Freddy's is a franchise of Survival Horror indie games created by Scott Cawthon. The first game, released on August 8, 2014, 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 on their own. 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. (Management doesn't like that.)
The game's surprise success led to five sequels: Five Nights at Freddy's 2 (November 11, 2014), Five Nights at Freddy's 3 (March 2, 2015), Five Nights at Freddy's 4 (July 23, 2015)note , Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location (October 7, 2016), and Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulatornote (December 4, 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 survive from midnight to 6 AM while dealing 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 him off), and playing a sound file (which calms him down).
Another shake-up occurs in the sixth 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 accept, how you manage your funds, how you settle lawsuits, and how many old animatronics you salvage — influence the playthrough. Pizzeria Simulator was supposed to receive a Custom Night DLC that would include nearly every character in the series. However, Scott decided that the DLC was too big and instead released it as a separate game simply titled Ultimate Custom Night, released on June 27, 2018.
The year 2019 saw the release of two entries in different genres and created in collaboration with other companies. The first, Five Nights At Freddys VR Help Wanted, is a virtual reality game developed by Steel Wool Studios and released on May 28, 2019. It recreates elements from the main series while adding some of its own. It received several DLC, notably Curse of Dreadbear, released to commemorate Halloween 2019. The second, Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special Delivery, is an Augmented Reality game developed by Illumix and released on November 25, 2019. Steel Wool later collaborated with Scott again to create Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach, which, in addition to PlayStation 4 and PC, was released for the PlayStation 5, making it the first FNaF game to be released for a ninth-generation console. After several delays pertaining to difficulties posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the game was released on December 16, 2021. Following its release, Steel Wool announced a DLC for the game called Ruin, which was released on July 25, 2023, plus a full sequel to their VR game, Five Nights at Freddys: Help Wanted 2, to be released later that year.
Scott released the series' first spin-off, 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. Three standalone sequels followed this spin-off: Freddy in Space 2 (December 3, 2019), Security Breach: Fury's Rage (April 28, 2021), and Freddy in Space 3: Chica in Space (October 18, 2023).
A film adaptation of the series entered development in April 2015, when Warner Bros. first picked up the rights. However, by 2017, Warner Bros. had declared a turnaround, with rights to produce the film switching to Blumhouse Productions. The film was released on October 25, 2023, with Emma Tammi (The Wind) serving as director, Scott and Seth Cuddeback serving as co-writers alongside Tammi, Jim Henson's Creature Shop constructing the animatronics, and Josh Hutcherson, Matthew Lillard, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Elizabeth Lail among the leading roles.
Shortly after the Halloween update to Freddy's 4, Scott vanished from the internet. He returned two months later to announce Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes, a spin-off novel co-written by Kira-Breed Wrisley and taking place in an alternate universe; the book was released on December 17, 2015. Two sequels followed in the next three years: The Twisted Ones on June 27, 2017 and The Fourth Closet on June 26, 2018. The three have been confirmed to be adapted as graphic novels, as well, released between 2019 and 2021.
Following the conclusion of the book trilogy, Scott collaborated to create a YA novel anthology series, Fazbear Frights. The series was announced in May 2019 and co-written by Elley Cooper, Andrea Waggener, Carly Anne West, and Kelly Parra. It consists of twelve books, released sequentially from 2019 to 2022. Select stories of Fazbear Frights are also adapted as graphic novels, released from 2022 to 2024. Fazbear Frights was followed by Tales from the Pizzaplex, which consists of nine books, released from 2023 to 2024.
Other than those, there are also four companion books directly authored by Scott (The Freddy Files, Survival Logbook, The Ultimate Guide, and Security Breach Files), as well as a myriad of supplementary materials including three coloring books, a sticker album, a how-to-draw book, an encyclopedia, and even a cookbook. The 2023 live-action film got a novelization as well as a production book that details its behind-the-scenes.
On May 9, 2016, Scott confirmed via the game's Steam forums that the original main series games would be remade for consoles. The first four main games were released for the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on November 29, 2019. Sister Location and Pizzeria Simulator were released in 2020, while Ultimate Custom Night was released in April 2021.
In August 2020, Scott announced the "Fazbear Fanverse Initiative", a program in which he would sponsor various fangame creators, encouraging them to make new games (and remake or update old ones) in exchange for being allowed to create merchandise of their games, as well as release ports on consoles and mobile devices. For information on those games, see the Fan Works page.
On June 16, 2021, Scott Cawthon announced that he was retiring from the FNAF series, but that the franchise would continue. As of right now, Steel Wool Studios seems to have been entrusted to carry on the franchise. However, Scott is still involved with the series, writing books and providing creative input for the 2023 film adaptation. Freddy in Space 3: Chica in Space marked the first FNaF-related game released by Scott since his retirement.
Five Nights at Freddy's media:
- 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
- Ultimate Custom Night
- Five Nights At Freddys VR Help Wanted
- Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special Delivery
- Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach
- Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes (novel)
- Five Nights at Freddy's: The Twisted Ones (novel)
- Five Nights at Freddy's: The Fourth Closet (novel)
- Five Nights at Freddy's: The Freddy Files (guidebook)
- Five Nights at Freddy's: Survival Logbook (guidebook)
- Five Nights at Freddy's: The Ultimate Guide (guidebook)
- Security Breach Files (guidebook)
- Five Nights at Freddy's: Fazbear Frights (anthology novels)
- Tales from the Pizzaplex (anthology novels)
- Five Nights at Freddy's Jumpscare Game (2017)
- Five Nights at Freddy's: Survive 'Til 6AM (2020)
- Five Nights at Freddy's - Night of Frights Game (2022)
- Five Nights at Freddy's (2023)
- Five Nights at Freddy's: Help Wanted 2 (ETA: December 2023)
- The Official Five Nights at Freddy's Glow-in-the-Dark Coloring Book (ETA: August 6, 2024)
- Untitled mainstream gamenote (ETA: Unknown)
- Five Nights at Freddy's: Into Madnessnote (ETA: Unknown)
- Two untitled Five Nights at Freddy's film sequelsnote (ETA: Unknown)
The Five Nights at Freddy's franchise provides examples of:
- Achievement Mockery: Every game with an achievement system has an achievement which requires you to get Jumpscared, and these have the lowest Xbox score across the board, with 2's "You Failed" achievement having a paltry 15 points, with the second lowest, "One Night at Freddy's" having 60 points.
- 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.
- Played straight with the Mimic due to its AI learning from behavior it observes. While it was originally meant to entertain the son of its creator beforehe was killed in an accident, it was violently beaten by said creator and abandoned until it violently started killing people due to learning to be violent. Later, the Mimic is reprogrammed to tear off the limbs of animatronic endoskeletons and starts doing the same thing to humans as well.
- 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, as it killed several children and is (un)coincedentally the Big Bad.
- 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:
- 1 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.
- 2 subverts this: you get your paycheck on November 12th, 1987.
- 3's description says it takes place 30 years after the pizzeria shuts down, again leaving it in in either 2022 or 2023.
- 4 gets a little complicated, since as a child, you're obviously not given a paycheck at the end of the week. However, a screen found in the night between minigames, entering this year in the Private Room in Sister Location (which brings up the Child's house) and Word of God all confirm the year to 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 1. If so, then Sister Location could be between the 1992-2022 period, before the urban legends of the Fazbear's 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.
- Further complicated by the fact that Circus Baby has technically had two businesses: Circus Baby's Pizza World (mentioned in a teaser, coming after "Chica's Party World") and "Circus Baby's Entertainment and Rentals" (the actual location of the Sister Location action, as given in the Extras menu).
- Simulator is unambiguously set after the events of 3 due to it revolving around Springtrap surviving the fire of Fazbear's Fright, with elements in the game implying that it's in 2023.
- 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 any of his counterparts) also appears in all the games.
- Anyone Can Die: The mortality rate of the entire franchise, both for the human characters and the animatronics, is extremely high. By the end of Simulator, 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 3), Phone Dude, and 4's protagonist's brother and his three friends. Then in the case of the books, most protagonists from the stories are also killed in brutal and horrifying ways. That's not accounting the Kudzu Plot-maker that is Michael Afton, who's hinted to be the aforementioned 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. The true ending of Security Breach, however, reveals that Springtrap and Molten Freddy survived the fire, only to get caught in another fire as Gregory (the protagonist of Security Breach) and Glamrock Freddy (the first good guy animatronic) escape.
- 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 Simulator as a Leaning on the Fourth Wall quote.
- Also, "put back together." The final line of 4, also used by Michael Afton when talking about his sister, in one of the last lines of Sister Location. What exactly the phrase means or implies is unclear.
- Arrange Mode: The Custom Night is a staple of the series, and allows you to play through a night with customizable animatronic difficulties from 0-20. It even has its own dedicated game in Ultimate Custom Night, which has over 50 animatronics in total! Good luck with X/20 mode...
- 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.
- The Artifact: Clickteam Fusion, the engine used to make several games in the series, has an AI system with numbers going as high as 20, and as such, it was applied to the first game and utilized best with the Custom Night. Animatronics in the various Custom Nights that follow it always have difficulties that go to 20 even when they are not actually programmed with an AI value that high, purely because 1 could, and it’s 4/20 mode was so iconic. For example, 2‘s 10/20 mode doesn’t actually have anyone hit AI level 20 note and 4’s 4/20 mode only has Freddy hit AI level 6.
- 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 Puppet, 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 to the point that Security Breach has only one night. Somewhat rectified in Pizzeria Simulator, where it actually does take place at a brand new Freddy's...a simulated one.
- Behind the Black: The series as a whole depends on this very trope in terms of the animatronics moving from place to place. Rarely are they ever depicted actually moving between rooms and only do so when you're not observing them. In fact, some games play the trope a bit more literally, such as the third installment where you can see the animatronic right in front of you, but won't actually move in for the kill until you either look away or begin to black out from a lack of oxygen.
- 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.
- Simulator introduces the biggest hero in the series: The Cassette 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 tragic 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 this 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 or a witness. Also, another set of murders 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 unnamed protagonist leaves none the worse for wear. Except that brightening the photograph of the Fazbear's Fright fire depicted in the game's end screen reveals that Springtrap survived the fire. Still, not as bad as usual.
- In Simulator, 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.
- In Security Breach, Gregory and Glamrock Freddy defeat William (who survived again) and escape the burning building, making them the few protagonists to get an okay ending, but leaving Vanessa under William's control.
- Black Eyes of Evil: A signature within the series is its overwhelming use of pitch black eyes to represent the characters' amorality. Classic Freddy, Classic Bonnie, Toy Freddy, Toy Chica, the Puppet, the Phantoms, Nightmarionne, Music Man and his counterparts, the Shadows, and many others all feature these when hostile, or as a normal feature like Music Man.
- Body Horror:
- The games are infamous 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 mechanisms 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 then using his corpse as a disguise. And then it gradually decays into a rotting, purple husk. And after Ennard evacuates it, the protagonist later returns to life.
- Butt-Monkey: If a version of Foxy is present in one of the games, then expect their animatronic life to suck even worse than that of their 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.
- Characteristic Trope: The franchise has become synonymous with Hostile Animatronics and Suck E. Cheese's-related incidents, and so it's impossible for works to reference either of these tropes without being compared to Five Nights at Freddy's.
- 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, elements of orange in the salvaging gameplay, and 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 Guy. 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.
- Creepy Mascot Suit: Although some of the actual suits themselves aren't creepy (such as the first ones), many of them attempt to play up this trope (although usually unintentionally) as their suits have Withered away, or are just... failing to look cute. This is intentionally played straight in Five Nights At Freddys VR Help Wanted and in Fazbear's Fright, though, in which they were made scary in order to attract people. As well as in the books, in which they're given the scary designs in order to instill fear into victims.
- Dead to Begin With: Every antagonist is possessed by a murdered child (subverted in 3). The two reasons for this is William Aftonnote who killed the children in the first place and the Puppetnote 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: 4 and Sister Location. 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 have his own rotten corpse possessed.
- 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.
- Every Pizza Is Pepperoni: Due to most of the Five Nights at Freddy's games taking place at one of a line of children's pizzerias, we see a fair amount of pizza illustrations and occasional actual pizza. Most of the time, such as the pizza-themed wall hangings in the first game, they are, of course, pepperoni. However, the Bait-and-Switch intro of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator does allow you to add all sorts of toppings to your pizza, not just pepperoni. Additionally, the "Pizza Party" level of Five Nights At Freddys VR Help Wanted has a segment where the game asks if the player would prefer cheese or pepperoni pizza. Which pizza appears at the end of the level depends on the player's choice. Not like you'd be able to enjoy it for too long, though.
- Excuse Plot: The first few games all have you play as a security guard trying to ward off the robots until the end of your shift. Now, this premise raises several questions; firstly, why the hell would anyone keep coming back to a minimum wage job at a kid's pizza place when they have a probability of being murdered each night? Secondly, it's odd a security guard would even be needed, as you'd think the homicidal animatronics would take care of any intruders themselves. You can keep coming up with many more points... but all in all, it's irrelevant. No one is playing these games for the complex character of the Night Guard. You playing as a security guard is just an excuse to experience a strategic game of protecting yourself against killer robots, along with uncovering the deeper lore regarding the actual story of these games.
- 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 Mike Schmidt in 1 is implied to have blue eyes if the game over screen is anything to go by). Averted with the kid from 4, as we do see how he looks like, but only in 8-bit. Fully Averted in Security Breach which gives us Gregory, who's even shown in the game's poster.
- Females Are More Innocent: Zig-Zagged. While sympathetic male characters do exist, female antagonists tend to be portrayed more sympathetically than male ones. To wit:
- Most of the Funtime animatronics from Sister Location are female, and all of them were created by William Afton to kill children. Most of them, however, don't want to kill children, and aspire to escape into the outside world, which they eventually do after fusing together to become Ennard. We say "most" because Funtime Freddy (the only confirmed male) enjoys killing people, and eventually replaces Circus Baby as the head of Ennard, becoming Molten Freddy.
- Though Baby is something of a Zig-Zagged case; in her first appearance, it was ambiguous as to whether she was possessed by Elizabeth Afton, the girl she unwillingly murdered, with her dialogue largely implying she was just a sapient AI that didn't want to kill. Come her next appearance, however, and it's confirmed that yes, she's possessed by Elizabeth, who is now willing to kill people in order to please her father, William.
- Played straight with Vanny/Vanessa; she's only a killer because she was brainwashed and/or possessed by William. One of the endings in Security Breach has the player free her from his control, and she allows the player to escape. However, this is not the True Ending.
- In addition to the above, Vanny is also implied to have grown up with an abusive father (possibly William himself), who apparently forced her to lie during her parents' divorce, which may have led to the suicide of her presumably innocent mother. However, this backstory may have been fabricated.
- The Glamrock animatronics from Security Breach normally aren't dangerous to humans; they're only attacking the player due to being Brainwashed and Crazy. Of the three who are chasing you, there are two females (Glamrock Chica and Roxanne Wolf) and one male (Montgomery Gator). No points for guessing which one of them is implied to have murdered Glamrock Bonnie in order to replace him before being brainwashed, and is also implied to be plotting the same for Glamrock Freddy.
- Most of the Funtime animatronics from Sister Location are female, and all of them were created by William Afton to kill children. Most of them, however, don't want to kill children, and aspire to escape into the outside world, which they eventually do after fusing together to become Ennard. We say "most" because Funtime Freddy (the only confirmed male) enjoys killing people, and eventually replaces Circus Baby as the head of Ennard, becoming Molten Freddy.
- Fooled by the Sound:
- Five Nights at Freddy's 3: To fool Springtrap into moving somewhere else, you have to play a soundbite of Balloon Boy's laugh via the audio devices. Considering the type of person who's inside the suit, it makes perfect sense why he'd go after it, thinking it's children he could target.
- In Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator, to keep the animatronics hunting you away, you need to lure them to other places using pre-recorded noises of children. They think it's a new, easy target for them to catch, while in reality it was designed just right to bring them specifically in.
- Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach: Two examples in the Ruin DLC. Firstly, various sections require you to use a replication of either Gregory or Cassidy's voice to lure hostile animatronics away from key locations. Secondly, you can find Candy Cadet in the depths beneath the Pizzaplex, who will tell you a story if you find enough tokens scattered around the area. He tells the story of a mother and son who lived in a cabin in the woods, hunted by a monster before the mother captured the monster and locked it up in the basement. The boy was afraid of the noises the monster made each night, but the mother would soothe the boy by singing him a lullaby. Eventually, the monster listens and learns to replicate the lullaby, singing it to the boy when the mother is away in order to lure him into setting them free, and... that's where the story ends. Both examples serve to foreshadow the true identity of the "Gregory" trapped beneath the Pizzaplex.
- Greater-Scope Villain: This franchise actually has a few of them, believe it or not:
- William Afton, who murdered at least five children while wearing a company suit. He's the Big Bad of 3, 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 Big Bad of 2 and essentially the Final Boss of Pizzeria Simulator in the form of Lefty.
- Next is the management of Freddy Fazbear's themselves, whose disturbing lack of security, safety, or common sense causes all these accidents and murders to happen in the first place. Well, most of them. In Sister Location, Afton is the management.
- Next, if the Fazbear Frights books are a continuation of Pizzeria Simulator, it's revealed that there's a fourth one on the rise in the form of Elanor who appears to want to create more Agony. Eventually, she ends up as the Big Bad of the book series as a whole and is defeated in the final epilogue when she's trapped in one of her own memories and seemingly dies. However, the fact that Detective Everette Larson could hear a voice in the heart-shaped pendant after her defeat may hint that she might not really be gone.
- Finally, in the Tales From the Pizzaplex books, the epilogues and a few stories tell the story of The Mimic, an Endoskeleton with an AI that causes it to learn from experience originally created by a technician hired by Fazbear Entertainment named Edwin Murray to entertain his son while he worked until his son was killed in an accident. After the Mimic tried imitating Edwin's son, he took his anger out on it by beating it up and tearing it to pieces, eventually abandoning it and accidentally teaching it violence in the process. When the endoskeleton was later found, it began it's killing spree and somehow was transported to the Pizzeria Simulator location when the Mega Pizzaplex was being built where a technician programmed it to tear the limbs off the animatronic endoskeletons before doing the same to the people that entered the location and was sealed in the area. Cassie, the main protagonist of Security Breach's Ruin DLC, is tricked by the Mimic into freeing it as it serves as the Big Bad of the DLC.
- Harder Than Hard:
- 1 has "4/20 Mode", or "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.
- 2 has "10/20 Mode", which is the equivalent of the above, but with 10 animatronics instead of 4.
- 3 has "Aggressive Nightmare Mode", the combination of Nightmare Mode (Night 6) and the Aggressive cheat (which makes Springtrap more, well, aggressive).
- 4 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....
- Sister Location 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: 1's doors, 2's three entryways, 3's single animatronic to defend against, and 4's reliance on audio cues. Oh, and it's on the difficulty 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.
- 4 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 them. However, not every animatronic falls under this: the Nightmares are merely hallucinations, and the Glamrocks are Ridiculously Human Robots who were hacked by Vanny.
- Homage: Aside from being a horror survival game, the series is also essentially a nostalgic tribute to the real-life American pizza restaurants featuring animatronic mascots, Showbiz Pizza and Chuck E. Cheese's.
- Hostile Animatronics: Probably the Trope Codifier of the mid-to-late 2010s, the series is among the most known modern examples of this trope.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Despite being centered around homicidal robots, this trope is 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 events of 3 happen. 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 4, 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 Fredbear's Family Diner 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 Fredbear'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, horrifying the bullies, and it is strongly implied he died from it.
- Overlapping with Kids Are Cruel, the Security Puppet minigame from Simulator provides more insight on an incident that was first seen in 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.
- In Sister Location, all the animatronics wanted to do was entertain children. Unfortunately, William Afton secretly programmed them to murder children, which Baby did when Elizabeth was left alone with her. They are then put in a underground facility where they are repeatedly shocked and ripped apart. It's understandable why they would be bitter.
- 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 Simulator, as once you click that "log off" button, the night is instantly won. This isn't the case in Security Breach, as you must fulfill certain conditions to progress the night before the doors open, and you'll need to exit the doors to "win."
- Invincible Boogeymen: The eponymous character and his friends. You can't fight them and you can't escape until 6 AM, so all you can do is lock the doors if any of them get too close and hope that power doesn't run out.
- 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. 3 introduced hallucinatory jumpscares, 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 they survived somehow). 2 tries to move forward but ends up introducing a whole lot of lore that isn'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 tied the Missing Childrens' souls to the animatronics). The Toy animatronics' intentions, meanwhile, are left ambiguous, and the line, "Forget [...]about the previous location" combined with the game's infamous Tomato Surprise just raises even more questions.
- 3 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.
- 4 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 Sister Location comes along... and everything becomes a huge mess. Highlight kudzus include: revealing that another pizzeria chain of Fazbear Entertainment still exists, destroying the idea of 4's All Just a Dream premise, and a certain event that happens to the protagonist implying major retcons to the series' lore.
- Luckily, Simulator ultimately ties up most loose ends. The remaining animatronics burn down, the Puppet/Charlotte/Lefty 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 4: "Perhaps some things are best left forgotten, for now".
- With Help Wanted, the Kudzu Plot goes on. Fazbear Entertainment is still around. They've hired an in-universe game designer to create games based on the rumors surrounding them so anybody who tried too hard to look into them could be dismissed as an overzealous fan. Then they made the VR game partially to complete the cover-up, and partially so the scanned circuit boards taken from Springtrap can possess those who play it.
- Later-Installment Weirdness: Sister Location, with the exception of 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, justified as it's (probably) not canon.
- Mixed Animal Species Team: The series typically features a cast of animal character animatronics of different kinds/generations, usually including a bear, a chicken, a bunny, and a fox.
- Never Trust a Title: Believe it or not, every single game in the series has the term "Five Nights at Freddy's" be misleading in some way; the vast majority of them either have more than five nights (with Help Wanted and Special Delivery dropping the night counting mechanic entirely), don't take place at Freddy's (such as Sister Location taking place at Circus Baby's Entertainment and Rental), or both. The only game that actually has only five nights and takes place at a Freddy's location (albeit a fake one) is Simulator... which also happens to be the only main series game not to have "Five Nights at Freddy's" as part of its title.
- Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: The first four games have straightforward titles. Then comes Five Nights at Freddy's World, Five Nights at Freddy's: 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.
- One-Steve Limit: Averted, as the franchise enjoys repeating names.
- Jeremy: Jeremy Fitzgerald, the night guard for nights 1-6 in the second game, Jeremy, one of the dead children shown at the end of Pizzeria Simulator, and Jeremy, one of the in-universe beta testers for FNAF VR.
- Fritz: Fritz Smith from 2's custom night and one of the graves at the end of Pizzeria Simulator.
- Mike/Michael: Mike Schmidt from 1, Mike/Michael Afton from Sister Location, and Mike from the Survival Logbook, and Michael Brooks from The Silver Eyes. It's highly hinted that the first three of these are the same character.
- The Fazbear Frights anthologies also reuse names between seemingly unrelated stories.
- Four Mikes/Michaels (Into the Pit, The Real Jake, Jump for Tickets, You're the Band)
- Three Jacks (Dance with Me, The Puppet Carver, and Friendly Face)
- Two Ambers (Blackbird, Room for One More)
- Two Tylers (Bunny Call, The Cliffs)
- Player Death Is Dramatic: Every game in the series has death be accompanied by a terrifying Jump Scare from the killer animatronics, and in the fifth, sixth, and some animatronics in Ultimate Custom Night, a one-liner from them.
- Pre-Rendered Graphics: Every single frame of the games is pre-rendered. Every bit of movement, whether in scenery or a character, is, in fact, just a large video file.
- 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.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Golden Freddy, the Puppet, Shadow Freddy, Shadow Bonnie, the Phantoms, Plushtrap, Yenndo, Bonnet, and the additional characters in Ultimate Custom Night all serve as miniature additional enemies within their respective games, not being the main focus but being just as deadly. In Security Breach, the Glamrocks all serve as this as well, appearing as a boss depending on the route the player chooses.
- Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Averted by 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 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.
- Robotic Undead: Played with regarding the animatronic characters. They are possessed by spirits and have zombie-like qualities such as smelling bad and dripping blood. The trope is played a bit straighter with robots like Springtrap, a rotten bunny animatronic that lumbers slowly and literally has the carcass of William Afton inside; Ennard, an amalgamation of robotic parts that drags itself across the ground like a zombie; and Dreadbear, a Frankenstein's monster-like bear animatronic that walks with outstretched arms and is detailed to look like a zombie.
- Secondary Character Title: Despite being the mascot of the franchise (both in and out of universe), Freddy only occasionally has a unique role in the games.
- Stopped Numbering Sequels: Five Nights at Freddy's 4 was the last game in the series to date to be numbered; the other five main series games to be released or announced since then have all had various subtitles, including Sister Location, Help Wanted, Special Delivery, and Security Breach (with the middle two also having "VR" and "AR" as part of the main title, sort of taking the place of a number). The only exception is Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator, which drops the "Five Nights at Freddy's" part of the title entirely (although it's still referred to as "FNAF6" in the files).
- Suck E. Cheese's: Played for Horror.
- 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: Most character received voice lines in Ultimate Custom Night.
- Freddy Fazbear himself gets a voice in Special Delivery.
- 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 can be actually 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, and Eggs Benedict is William Afton's son, who may also be every protagonist (barring the one from 4) via applying to Freddy's under numerous aliases. It's not too clear.
- Simulator averts this. Not only are you the manager of the pizzeria, you indirectly designed the place to end the animatronics and the Fazbear's Management, alongside the Cassette Man (although you don't realize his involvement until the very end).
- Trilogy Creep: Despite some hanging plot points, it's clear that 3 was made to be the last chronological game. 4, a prequel, was likewise created to be the last game, even being denoted as "The Final Chapter" in its trailer. However, it was released during the peak of the series' popularity, with a possible film adaptation even being talked about. Several months later, Scott announced the fifth installment, Sister Location, admitting that he had changed his mind regarding his decision to end the series, and the franchise just keeps chugging along with no end in sight.
- Workplace Horror: The majority of the premise of the series is built around the idea of evil animatronics coming to life at night, and the lone security guard who must survive the night.
Tropes with their own pages
- Cruel and Unusual Death
- Hell Is That Noise
- Nothing Is Scarier
- Too Dumb to Live
- Wham Episode
- Wham Line
- Wham Shot
- You Are Already Dead