Five Nights at Freddy's is a series of indie horror point-and-click video games created and designed by Scott Cawthon.

Four games have been released in the franchise. The first three games revolve around the player working as a night guard at a pizzeria (a horror attraction in the third game), in which they must utilize several in-game mechanics, most notably checking security cameras, to survive against animatronic characters, which become mobile and homicidal after-hours. The fourth game, which is drastically different than its predecessors, takes place in the house of a child who must defend against "nightmare" versions of the animatronics by shutting doors and checking locations by moving around. A spin-off game to the franchise, titled FNAF World is currently in development and is expecting a 2016 release.

A film adaptation is in development at Warner Bros. Pictures.

Gameplay Edit

The Five Nights at Freddy's series consists of horror-themed video games, in which the player takes the role of an overnight security guard at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, a children's-oriented restaurant and game arcade similar to ShowBiz Pizza Place and Chuck E. Cheese's. The restaurant uses life-size animatronic characters that sing and dance for children's parties. These animatronics wander the restaurant at night, and the guard is instructed to keep watch on these, as the restaurants have had incidents of previous guards being attacked and killed by these characters.

To survive each night, the player remains in the security office but has the ability to use a laptop-based security system to observe the positions of the characters through several locations in the restaurant, though can only view one location at a time. They have the ability to light up the hallways next to the security room which will scare away animatronics outside, and in some games, use doors to secure the security room. However, these all use some power from a limited power supply, so the player must use these tools judiciously throughout the night. Some animatronic characters have various movement patterns that can be deduced by watching the characters or listening to verbal clues that are given by the guard's supervisor that instructs the player at the start of each night. For example, one character will not move from their spot as long as they are watched on camera regularly. Should an animatronic make it to the unsecured office, the game is over as the animatronic attacks the player-character. Each game requires the player to survive five nights, each night with added difficulty being introduced. There is an unlockable 6th night present in all games, with additional nights varying between games: the first two games feature a customizable 7th night which allows the player to customize the activity level of each animatronic, the third game does not feature any night after the 6th, and the fourth game includes a 7th and 8th night, neither of which are customizable.

Main series Edit

Five Nights at Freddy's Edit

Main article: Five Nights at Freddy's

The main character, whose name is later revealed to be Mike Schmidt, has started a job working as a night watch security guard at the restaurant Freddy Fazbear's Pizza (a pastiche of restaurants like ShowBiz Pizza Place and Chuck E. Cheese's). A voicemail message left by Mike's predecessor explains that the animatronic characters used at the restaurant, Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie, Chica, and the disused Foxy, are able to roam freely around it at night, because if they were left off for too long, their servo motors would lock up. He adds that the animatronics were no longer allowed to roam freely during the day following an incident referred to as the "Bite of '87", which apparently involved the loss of someone's frontal lobe. The employee warns Mike that if one of the robots encounters a human, they will automatically assume that it is an endoskeleton that is not in costume yet, and "forcefully stuff them" into a spare mechanical Freddy Fazbear costume, killing the person in the process. Newspaper clippings in the background of one of the scenes reveal that the restaurant was site to the disappearances of five children whose bodies were never found, after a man dressed as one of the animatronics lured them into a back room and reportedly murdered them. Later, the restaurant received complaints that the animatronics began to smell foul and became stained with blood and mucus around the eyes and mouth, with one customer comparing them to "reanimated carcasses". After these events, the restaurant was shut down for health violations, as also mentioned in the clippings.

Five Nights at Freddy's 2 Edit

Main article: Five Nights at Freddy's 2

The player character, whose name is later revealed to be Jeremy Fitzgerald, has started working as a night watch security guard at the improved Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. As he did in the previous game, a specific Freddy Fazbear's Pizza employee calls Jeremy on the phone in the office at the beginning of each night to explain both gameplay and the story. He explains that the "new" (at the time) animatronics, which have special facial recognition software to protect the children from potential harm, were not programmed with a proper night mode, so when they do not hear any noise, their programming tells them that they are in the wrong room and they seek out the nearest source of noise to find people to entertain, which happens to be in the office. As in the previous game, the animatronics' programming tells them that there should not be people in the restaurant after hours, so when they encounter Jeremy, they believe he is an animatronic endoskeleton without a costume and stuff him into a spare Freddy Fazbear suit, killing him in the process. The man on the phone explains that this restaurant has an unlimited power source at night, unlike the previous location, but there are no doors blocking access to the office, requiring the player to use a spare Freddy Fazbear mask to trick most animatronics into thinking he is not an endoskeleton. The player will be informed to keep a music box wound up to keep an additional animatronic from leaving its box and attacking the player.

The player is also informed their flashlight will cause certain animatronics to reboot and leave the room. As more enemy characters appear as the player advances through the game, the man on the phone informs Jeremy of the characters' presence, their movement patterns, and some background information on their presence in the sequel. For example, the man on the phone explains that the older animatronics are in the new restaurant, and have been retrofitted with the new technology, but as they did not work properly they are kept for spare parts.

As the game progresses, it is hinted that something is going on during the day, as the man on the phone mentions that rumors are going around and, later, that a police investigation is going on. Exactly what is happening is not specified, but the man informs them that someone had apparently entered the restaurant and "used one of the animatronic suits" for unknown intentions. On the game's fifth night, Jeremy is informed by the man on the phone that the restaurant has been put on lockdown due to an event that he will not describe but which is in place to make sure no employees, present or former, can come in or go out. The man also mentions that the position of the restaurant's day shift security has a vacancy and Jeremy may be promoted to it, and that the owner of the older restaurant named "Fredbear's Family Diner" will be contacted for more information on the animatronics.

On the sixth night, the man on the phone informs Jeremy that the restaurant has been closed for undescribed reasons, but he does mention that someone used a "spare yellow suit" for the animatronics and now none of them work properly. He also tells Jeremy that he will be taking over as night shift security guard when the restaurant reopens. If Jeremy is successful in surviving the sixth night, he is promoted to day shift to cover a birthday party on the next day to make sure the animatronics do not cause any problems. A newspaper that is shown in the winning screen of the sixth night says that the restaurant will close down and the newer animatronics will be scrapped, but the older ones saved for when the restaurant reopens, hinting at the events of the first game.

In the custom night level, Jeremy is replaced by a new player character named Fritz Smith due to Jeremy's promotion. If the player manages to win the custom night, they discover Fritz has been fired for "tampering with the animatronics" and "odor", a call back to the previous game's custom level message.

Five Nights at Freddy's 3 Edit

Main article: Five Nights at Freddy's 3

Five Nights at Freddy's 3 is set thirty years after the events of the original game. The player assumes the role of a newly hired employee at Fazbear's Fright, a horror-themed attraction based on the unsolved mysteries of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, constructed using paraphernalia salvaged from the original restaurants. During the week before the attraction is scheduled to open to the public, the player must watch over the facility from the security office during the night shift (12:00 am to 6:00 am game time), using a network of surveillance cameras placed in the rooms and air vents. In addition, the player must monitor the status of three operating systems - cameras, audio, and ventilation - and reboot them whenever they begin to malfunction. Camera problems cause the video feeds, already poorly lit and distorted, to become totally obscured by static. If the ventilation fails, the player begins to hallucinate and to see phantoms of animatronics from the previous games, which may cause additional malfunctions. After the first night, the staff at Fazbear Fright uncover a deteriorated, rabbit-like animatronic, which they refer to as Springtrap. The player must now prevent it from entering the office and attacking; if this happens, the game ends. The player can seal off the air vents at certain points to block its progress, but cannot seal the door or air vent that lead directly into the office. The audio system can be used to play sound effects that draw it away from the office.

As the nights progress, the player hears a series of instructional cassette tapes, similar to the telephone calls from the first two games, that instruct employees how to operate the Springtrap suit, which can be worn by both humans and animatronic endoskeletons. However, later tapes discourage usage of the suit by employees due to a series of fatal accidents involving the failure of the suit's spring-lock mechanism. Low-resolution minigames between nights hint at the restaurant's troubled past, with the first four nights' minigames depicting the original animatronics following a dark purple animatronic before being violently disassembled by a purple-coloured man, previously seen in the minigames of Five Nights at Freddy's 2 as the man responsible for the various murders that occurred throughout the franchise's fictional history. In the fifth night's minigame, the ghosts of the five children who inhabited the animatronics corner the purple man, who attempts to protect himself by hiding in the Springtrap suit. However, the suit's faulty spring-lock mechanism fails, and the purple man is crushed as the children fade away, leaving their killer to bleed to death.

Unlike the previous entries, Five Nights at Freddy's 3 contains two endings, depending on whether the player has found and completed all of the hidden minigames within the main game. Some of these are only available on specific nights, while others can be accessed during any night. The "bad ending" is attained from completing the game without completing all the hidden minigames, and shows a screen depicting the heads of the five animatronics from the first game with lit-up eyes. Completing all the hidden minigames before completing the game earns the "good ending", which is the same screen as described previously but with the animatronics' heads turned off.

Completing all five nights unlocks a bonus night, "Nightmare", which boosts the game's difficulty, similar to "Night 6" in the previous titles. While playing the mode, an archived recording states that all Freddy Fazbear Pizza locations' safe rooms, an additional emergency room not recorded in the animatronics' AI or security systems, will be permanently sealed, instructing employees to tell no one of their existence. When this night is completed, a newspaper clipping reveals that Fazbear's Fright is destroyed in a fire shortly after the events of the game, and that any salvageable pieces from the attraction are to be auctioned off. However, brightening the image reveals Springtrap in the background, which suggests he somehow survived, leaving his fate unknown.

Five Nights at Freddy's 4 Edit

Main article: Five Nights at Freddy's 4

Since April 27, 2015, Cawthon has been posting images on his website teasing at another game in the series, Five Nights at Freddy's: The Final Chapter. The images, featuring the characters from the series, cryptically teased at a release on Halloween.[1] A trailer was released on July 13, 2015, and hinted that the game took place in the main character's house. The subtitle, The Final Chapter, was also dropped.[2] Initially, the game's release was scheduled for August 8, 2015, to match the original game's release date and celebrate the first anniversary of the series. However, the game was released on Steam without warning on July 23, 2015.[3] The game takes place in a child's bedroom, in which the player must utilize a flashlight to find and avoid nightmarish, twisted versions of the original four animatronics from the first game (Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie, Chica and Foxy), as well as other new, original nightmarish characters. In addition to the main five nights, the game also features three extra nights and a variety of minigames (similar to the ones from the second and third games). An automatic update was confirmed to be released on October 31 by Cawthon, which will include numerous new changes and features.[4]

Spin-offs Edit

FNAF World Edit

In September 2015, Scott Cawthon announced that he was developing a new spin-off game, titled FNAF World.[5] The game will be a non-horror role-playing game, using the various animatronic characters from the other games. Cawthon noted in the announcement that the game is a spin-off, considering the main arc of Five Nights at Freddy's completed with the fourth game. A demo is scheduled to be released sometime before the full game, which is scheduled to be released in 2016.[6]

Reception Edit

Aggregate review scores
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Five Nights at Freddy's (PC) 85.00%[7]

(iOS) 80.00%[8]

(PC) 78[9]
Five Nights at Freddy's 2 (PC) 66.25%[10]

(iOS) 73.33%[11]

(PC) 63[12]
Five Nights at Freddy's 3 (PC) 73.60%[13]

(iOS) 80.00%[14]

(PC) 68[15]
Five Nights at Freddy's 4 (PC) 53.33%[16]

(iOS) 70.00%[17]

(PC) 51[18]

The first game has been praised by critics for its unique take on the survival horror genre. Indie Game Magazine praised the first game's artistic design, commenting that "it's an incredibly terrifying experience to try to save yourself from the single jump scare that ends the game" and that it was a "fantastic example of how cleverness in design and subtlety can be used to make an experience terrifying".[19] PC Gamer, when reviewing the first game, commented on the fact that players will likely experience familiarity with the setting due to restaurants such as Chuck E. Cheese's. They also noted that while "the AI isn't some masterwork of procedural unpredictability, it would [still] head straight to you and eat your face off, or it'll play around like an innocent child before closing in for the kill. Your mind will fill in the rest."[20]

The second game received similarly positive reviews, with PC Gamer commenting that what he had hoped for in the sequel "Was more mind games and more uncertainty. I wanted the plodding animatronic suits to find me and rip my face off in new and interesting ways. I wanted working legs", and that "what I got was a horror game dipping heavily into deception and subtlety". However, he also noted that "enjoying the good parts, though, comes with a cost of a frustratingly steep difficulty".[21] Destructoid also gave the game a positive review, saying that "It's absolutely terrifying to know that you could be attacked at any moment from multiple avenues" and also praised the introduction of new animatronics and mechanics, but also criticizing the jumpscares and called the game "too hard for its own good".[22]

The third game has, however, proven to be slightly less popular among critics. Critics from PC Gamer stated that although they enjoyed the new reworked camera system, the jumpscares from the animatronics "felt a little stale by the third night", to the point of becoming a mere annoyance.[23] Destructoid commented that while Five Nights at Freddy's 3 is "by far the most technically proficient and mechanically satisfying installment yet", he was disappointed that Fazbear's Fright and Springtrap "[lacked] charm of the original cast and locations".[24]

The fourth game has also received mixed reviews from critics. Critics from Metacritic criticized the fourth game for its excessively-loud jumpscares and the breathing mechanic being too difficult and confusing for players.[25] Despite this, it was praised by one reviewer at GameZebo for its intense environment and creepy sounds and graphics, as well as its jumpscares.[26] It was also given a mixed review by PC Gamer, who called it "another rivet in the series’ steel-clad design which immortalized its Let’s Play legacy in a few short months" and "certainly the scariest of the four [games]", but also criticized the gameplay, saying that "the humdrum repetition of the same sequence over and over... is too much of a chore to fully pull me in", as well as criticizing the game's lack of the series's signature camera system.[27]

The Five Nights at Freddy's games have proven popular to be played by video streamers to their audience, as to capture the player's jump scares and other frightened reactions, becoming a common target for Let's Play videos. Popular video streamers such as PewDiePie and Markiplier helped the games to receive additional attention through their playthroughs.[28] In May 2015, YouTube reported that playthroughs of the Five Nights at Freddy's series were the eighth most-watched of all video game series on the service.[29]

Film adaptation Edit

Warner Bros. Pictures announced in April 2015 that it had acquired the rights to adapt the series to film. Roy Lee, David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith are set to produce through their Vertigo Entertainment and KatzSmith Productions companies, respectively. Grahame-Smith stated that they are collaborating with Cawthon "to make an insane, terrifying and weirdly adorable movie".[30] In July 2015, Gil Kenan signed to direct the adaptation and co-write with Tyler Burton Smith.[31] The film will feature an original story set within the same canon as the video game series, with animatronics designed by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.[32]