The Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise has captivated a vast and dedicated fan base since its inception in 2014. Initially drawing attention for its deceptively simple gameplay, the series has evolved over the years, becoming more intricate in both gameplay mechanics and narrative.
One of the most compelling aspects of the current state of Five Nights at Freddy’s is the extensive and engaging lore that surrounds its events and characters. Spanning across numerous mainline games and various spin-offs, the lore of FNAF is rich and may be overwhelming for newcomers to the franchise.
The Original Five Nights at Freddy’s
The first release of Five Nights at Freddy’s in 2014 quickly rose to the forefront of the survival horror genre due to its intense and sinister gameplay. Players assume the role of a nightshift security guard at the abandoned Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, rumored to be haunted by reanimated animatronics that roam the facility at night.
The pizzeria bears a grim history, involving the kidnapping and likely murder of five children by a man named William Afton. It’s believed that the victims’ bodies were hidden within the animatronic mascots of the pizzeria, namely Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy. This led to a widespread boycott and the eventual closure of the business.
As the player monitors the animatronics through security cameras, it becomes evident that the rumors are true, with the mascots gradually approaching with hostile intent. The player’s survival hinges on managing the power supply to doors and lights, preventing the possessed animatronics from causing harm.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 2
Released in close succession to the first game in 2014, Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 serves as a prequel to the events of the original. Set in a different location of the same restaurant chain, the game introduces both familiar and new animatronics, including the more passive Balloon Boy.
The original animatronics from the first game are initially stored as backup suits but once again roam the facility at night alongside their newer counterparts. The game delves deeper into the murder of five children, revealing the identity of the perpetrator, often referred to as Purple Guy. The game concludes with the decommissioning of the newer animatronics in favor of the classic characters from the first game.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 3
Taking place 30 years after the original game, Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 is set in Fazbear’s Fright, a horror attraction capitalizing on the sinister legends surrounding the restaurant chain. Players once again assume the role of a nightshift worker, encountering deadly paranormal encounters.
The introduction of Springtrap, a new animatronic, is central to the lore of FNAF 3. It is revealed through mini-games that Springtrap is formed from the remains of William Afton, or Purple Guy, hiding inside an empty rabbit animatronic suit. With the suit malfunctioning and trapping Afton inside, his spirit appears to linger on.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 4
Set within a child’s bedroom, Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 breaks from the norm of a security office setting. Players control the child who harbors an intense fear of the animatronics at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, indicating that the game precedes the events of the first game.
The game delves into the infamous “Bite of ’83”, recounting a tragic accident involving an animatronic at the facility. The protagonist of the game is revealed to be the victim of this event, subjected to relentless bullying over his fear of the pizzeria’s characters. During a birthday party, his head is forced into an animatronic’s mouth, resulting in his tragic demise.
Subsequent Releases in the FNAF Universe
Numerous titles have been released within the FNAF universe following FNAF 4, expanding on the lore without necessarily following a sequential numbering system. For example, Sister Location provides insights into the creation of the animatronics and introduces Circus Baby, while Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria Simulator follows the story of William Afton’s son, Michael, revealing the survival of Springtrap.
The most recent release, Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach, introduces free-roaming gameplay and offers an updated chapter in the franchise’s story. The game introduces an expansive mall under the Freddy Fazbear franchise, with players navigating animatronics under the guidance of a non-hostile Freddy. The conclusion of the game brings players back to the original pizzeria’s ruins, unveiling Afton’s spirit in an even more grotesque form known as “Burntrap,” signaling that the story of the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise continues.