Okay, so there’s this series of scary games called Five Nights At Freddy’s. Have you heard of it? It’s pretty popular, with all three games in the series scoring major hits on every platform they’ve released on, and a fourth on the way. When described in terms of pure gameplay, it’s not much more than a frantic take on the old Red Light/Green Light children’s game, but the atmosphere, story, and ever-mysterious lore have earned the series a ton of dedicated fans. They meet in various places on the Internet to share theories and predictions and discuss the meaning of the many vague hints the creator has left in each game. From the outside looking in, it’s all a bit impenetrable, which is why we decided to put together a plot guide in the spirit of our Infinity Blade guide from a couple of years ago. If you are new to the series and don’t really get what’s going on with the story, this guide has pretty much everything you’ll need to know and then some.
It might be hard to see the appeal of the series if you’re not a fan of it, but after spending a lot of time with all of the games, I can see why they’re so popular. The gameplay is very simple to learn, but actually surviving presents a serious challenge that ends up being a little different every time you play. More importantly, the creator of the series quickly realized fans were into the setting and has jam-packed each installment after the first with mysteries, lore, and all kind of interesting loose threads to think about and discuss with other players. There’s just the right balance of questions answered and things left to the imagination to keep fans coming back. As far as the horror elements go, the Five Nights At Freddy’s series makes excellent use of both the subtle, unnerving kind of fear and heart-pounding jump scares. It’s not hard to understand why people wait anxiously for each new chapter.
Since I wrote the reviews for all three of the games here, I volunteered to write this plot guide. If I’ve missed something, by all means, mention it in the comments. The stories of these games are meant to be discussed, after all. The way I’m going to present this is to first list the important characters and a little info about them. Then for each game, I’ll give an overview of the story, list any revealed background information, and go over some of the unsolved mysteries. I’ll end each game’s section by summarizing our review of the game. Some of this stuff can be pretty vague, I’ll admit, but it’s at least interesting to speculate on. Oh, and fair warning: this article is spoiler central for the first three games. Don’t read it unless you want to know how they all end, and fair warning: this is a long one.
Mike Schmidt: The protagonist of the first Five Nights At Freddy’s ($2.99). Not much is known about him, but he manages to survive his encounter with the terrifying animatronics. He loses his job at the end of the first game.
Phone Guy: The security guard who worked the night shift before Mike. He calls Mike to give advice and fill out the back story, but is apparently killed on the fourth night by one of the animatronics. He seems to know there’s a serious danger present, but also tries to smooth it over. Hard to say why. During the second game, which takes place before the events of the first, he seems less aware of the deadly threat the animatronics present. He likes Foxy, strongly dislikes The Puppet, and may or may not be Purple Guy.
Freddy Fazbear: The main mascot of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, he’s a large friendly bear who is occasionally accompanied by a jingle. He likes to stick to dark places, and is more active at night than the others. There are a couple of human hand prints on his face. He appears in all three games in some form.
Bonnie: Bonnie is a big, purple rabbit. He plays guitar in the band, and he really likes to play head games with you, coming and going from the office frequently. Along with Chica, Bonnie makes some awful human-like sounds that indicate there’s more going on here than faulty wiring. Bonnie appears in all three games so far in one form or another.
Chica: A giant chick wearing a bib, when Chica comes to the office, she’ll usually hang around for a while. As with Bonnie, Chica makes a really creepy groaning noise that points to the animatronics being more than just machines. Chica has a tendency to twitch when she gets near her prey. She appears in all three games in some form, and her appearance in the second one is dramatically different from the others.
Foxy: Foxy lives in the Pirate Cove and tends to stay there as long as he is watched. Naturally, he looks like a fox. He has a hook on his right arm and an eye patch, fitting the pirate theme. He moves very, very quickly. By the first game, he’s been retired from active use, with the Pirate’s Cove out of order. Foxy appears in all three games in some form.
Golden Freddy: A gold-colored variant on Freddy Fazbear that only appears under certain conditions. No one is sure if he’s real or a hallucination, and if he is real, whether he’s a ghost or something else. A really mysterious character.
Jeremy Fitzgerald: The protagonist of Five Nights At Freddy’s 2 ($2.99). He works the night shift at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza for six days before being moved to the day shift. Unfortunately, a terrible incident occurs on that day, and Jeremy’s ultimate fate is left unknown.
Fritz Smith: He works the seventh night of Five Nights At Freddy’s 2. He is fired at the completion of his first and only shift, presumably surviving his ordeal.
The Toy Mascots: Toy Freddy, Toy Bonnie, and Toy Chica are redesigns of the main mascot characters. They appear in the second game, and while they might look cuter and cleaner, they are no less deadly than the original animatronics.
The Mangle: Mangle was meant to be the Toy Foxy, but quickly became a favorite of toddlers who would pull him apart piece by piece. The staff would put him back together each day, but they soon grew tired of this and decided to simply leave him as a pull-apart toy for the kids. They dubbed him “The Mangle". Currently theorized by fans to be the animatronic behind The Bite Of ’87, Mangle appears in the second game.
BB (Balloon Boy): BB is an animatronic that looks like a plump kid wearing striped clothes and a propeller beanie. He carries a balloon in one hand and a sign in the other. He climbs through the vents and although he can’t kill the player, he can cause the lights to malfunction. He speaks and laughs frequently, making him a creepy addition to the second game’s cast.
The Puppet: With a long, dark body and a big, white clown mask for a face, The Puppet is the stuff of nightmares. Phone Guy particularly dislikes this animatronic. The only defense against him is to keep the music box wound, which keeps him from roaming around. He appears to have some unexplained abilities that separate him from the rest of the bunch. He first appears in the second game.
Purple Guy: Appearing only in the mini-games that sometimes show up in the second and third games, Purple Guy is assumed to be the man behind the disappearance of the children which kicked off this whole mess. He seems to always have a smile on his face, even as he commits heinous acts, and in one of his sprites he’s wearing a badge and holding an object. He apparently meets his end in one of the mini-games when the ghosts of the children corner him. Purple Guy tries to hide by climbing into the Springtrap suit when the spring mechanism in the costume goes off and grinds him to pieces.
Springtrap: The main enemy in Five Nights At Freddy’s 3 ($2.99), Springtrap is one of two special hybrid suits/animatronics created for the restaurant. A person can wear the suit by using spring locks to hold the animatronic pieces tightly against the outer layer. Unfortunately, if the locks get moist or the person wearing the suit makes sudden movements, the mechanics will snap back into place, injuring or killing whoever is wearing it. The suit is in a severe state of disrepair, and there appears to be human remains inside of it. It is the only complete animatronic that was able to be found for the Fazbear’s Fright attraction. Springtrap’s behavior is more cunning and human-like than the other animatronics.
Phone Dude: Phone Guy’s replacement in the third game. He’s a pretty laid-back guy who is clearly a fan of the whole mystique surrounding the restaurants. He’ll only talk to you on a couple of nights before giving way to recordings from the original Phone Guy.
The Phantoms: These are hallucinations of the various animatronics that have appeared in the series. Appearing in the third game, they look like burned and damaged versions of the regular animatronics. Since they are just hallucinations, they can’t hurt you, but they can distract you long enough for Springtrap to do what he needs to.
Five Nights At Freddy’s
Mike Schmidt has taken a night security job at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. The once-popular restaurant has fallen on hard times due to a number of incidents, and recent complaints to the Health Department have resulted in a shutdown order. Because business has been bad, the restaurant is on a strict power budget to save money. As the restaurant isn’t open at night, Mike’s main job is to keep an eye on the expensive and cherished animatronic robot mascots. Following an incident where one of the robots attacked someone, they are no longer allowed to roam about freely during the day. To avoid their servometers getting locked up, they instead wander about at night. Unfortunately, they have a deadly design flaw. When the restaurant is closed, they don’t expect to encounter any humans. If they see a human during this time, they will assume it is an endoskeleton wandering about without a costume, and to maintain the illusion for the children, they will stuff that “endoskeleton" into a costume. The problem is, the costumes aren’t meant to be worn by a human, and stuffing one in there will kill them.
The only human contact Mike has during the week is with the previous night security guard, known only as Phone Guy. Each of the first four nights, Mike receives a message from Phone Guy, initially explaining game mechanics, and later filling out the story. On the fourth night, Phone Guy appears to be killed by one of the animatronics while recording his message, and on the fifth night, the voice on the message is a demonic sound string of apparent nonsense. Canonically, Mike seems to survive his week at the restaurant. He receives a small paycheque at the end of the fifth day, gets a slight raise on the sixth, and is then fired after the seventh, supposedly for tampering with the robots, behaving unprofessionally, and having bad body odor. But hey, he at least makes it out alive.
Background Information Revealed:
The animatronics are not allowed to roam around during the day because one of them bit a somebody in 1987, resulting in the loss of the person’s frontal lobe. This incident is referred to in the game by Phone Guy as The Bite Of ’87.
In the East Hall Corner of the restaurant, newspaper clippings will sometimes appear. These clippings concern the Missing Children Incident which is central to the overall series plot. There are four of these clippings in total. One describes a case of two children vanishing after being lured into a backroom of the pizzeria. A security camera identified the man responsible, and he was captured the next morning. The children were never found and no bodies were recovered. The man was believed to have dressed like one of the mascot characters to lure the children in. Another clipping tells us the total number of missing children has climbed to five. It says the suspect has been charged, but none of the bodies have been found. This clipping also mentions the declining business at the restaurant that has come about as a result of the incident.
A third clipping concerns the Health Department complaints. The complaints that require the restaurant to be shuttered are about the animatronics. They have begun to smell terrible and are stained with blood and mucous around the mouth and eyes. One customer compares them to reanimated carcasses, which is pretty normal behavior for animatronics if you ask me. But you didn’t, so let’s move on. The last clipping states that after a year-long unsuccessful search to find a buyer, the restaurant will close by the end of the year. It clearly links the decline in business to the tragedy that took place at the restaurant years ago.
We don’t know for sure which animatronic was involved in The Bite Of ’87, and for a while fans assumed it was Foxy. The reasons for this include Foxy’s sharp, broken teeth, and the fact that Foxy and his section of the restaurant appear to have fallen into disuse. A sign in front of Foxy’s Pirate Cove says that the attraction is out of order, and Foxy is easily the most heavily damaged of the robot lot. Unfortunately, Foxy’s name appears to be cleared by the second game, so the mystery remains: Who helped themselves to some poor soul’s frontal lobe? Current theories point to Mangle, but nothing is confirmed.
What’s the deal with Golden Freddy? If he’s just Mike’s hallucination, why does he reappear in later games? He seems to be able to kill the player in this game, which would be pretty strange if he’s not real. Maybe, like the Phantoms in the third game, he simply distracts Mike while an unseen assailant finishes the job? Golden Freddy is one of the last big mysteries of the series that is yet to be even remotely cleared up.
Who killed Phone Guy? Freddy’s jingle plays on the phone message just before Phone Guy apparently dies, but that simply places Freddy at the scene. The sound we hear just before the message ends sounds like either Bonnie or Chica. We can also hear banging on the door during the call, a behavior typically seen from Foxy. Also open to speculation is what happens to Phone Guy’s body. If the animatronics killed him, they would have done so by stuffing him into a Freddy Fazbear costume. Golden Freddy, perhaps?
Five Nights at Freddy's, $2.99 TouchArcade Review: “It’s a very straightforward game that essentially pits you against your own paranoia and curiosity. That electricity percentage is basically measuring how much you can afford to indulge your irrational fears, and if you listen to your imagination too much, you will certainly lose. It’s enormously clever in its simplicity, almost like a magic trick played on your emotions. You’ll very rarely catch any of the robots moving, but in flicking between cameras, you’ll catch glimpses of them. More importantly, you can hear them, and without any background music or similar distractions, the sounds of their clanking around gets the main stage in the audio." (3.5 stars)
Five Nights At Freddy’s 2
A prequel to the first game, this one follows the story of new security guard Jeremy Fitzgerald. His first week of employment apparently leads up to the infamous Bite Of ’87. Phone Guy once again calls each night to support you. He’s younger and obviously more naive in this game, clearly not realizing the threat the animatronics could pose. Phone Guy explains that the animatronics haven’t been programmed with a proper night mode, so if they don’t hear any noise, they assume they are in the wrong room and will roam around searching for noise (indicating children). That wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that they are programmed to know that nobody is supposed to be in the restaurant after-hours, and (as in the first) if they spot anyone they will assume they are an animatronic out of costume. That’s against the rules, so they’ll stuff the person into a Freddy Fazbear suit that is unfortunately already filled with sharp bits.
The animatronics seen in the first game appear here, but they are in terrible shape due to not being used for quite some time. New versions have been built. The staff attempted to retrofit the old ones with the enhancements of the new models, but it didn’t work, so for the time being they’ve just left them in a state of disrepair. As the restaurant has yet to fall on hard times, Jeremy’s office has unlimited power, but the modern design of the space means there are no doors. All he has to protect himself is a music box, a flashlight, and a Freddy Fazbear head. Nevertheless, he manages to survive six nights on the job.
Things aren’t going quite so well on the day shift, however. On the third night, Phone Guy mentions some unsavory rumors going around about the restaurant. The next night he refers to an on-going investigation that may see the restaurant close for a few days as a precaution. He also states that someone may have tampered with the animatronics’s facial recognition, and that while they’ve been fine around children, they’ve been behaving aggressively towards adults. On the fifth night, Phone Guy states that the building is on lock-down and hints that it may have something to do with a previous employee. He says a day shift position has just become available, and they may move you to it. He also mentions that they are trying to reach the owner of the original restaurant that the animatronics were purchased from, Fredbear’s Family Diner, but so far to no avail. On Jeremy’s final night, Phone Guy is surprised to find him working since the place is supposed to be closed down for a while. Someone used a spare yellow suit in the back and now none of them are working right. He tells Jeremy that he’ll be working the day shift the following day for a birthday party, and that Phone Guy himself would be taking over the night shift when the restaurant reopens.
It’s strongly implied that this birthday party is where the Bite Of ’87 incident takes place. The victim is unknown, but it’s not out of the question that it was Jeremy who lost his frontal lobe. A newspaper shown at the end says the restaurant will temporarily close down, the new animatronics will be scrapped, and the old ones will be repaired for when the restaurant reopens. The seventh night’s canonicity is disputed, but assuming it did happen, a man named Fritz Smith works security for a single night before being fired for tampering with the animatronics and having bad body odor.
Background Information Revealed:
Most of the hints at the greater lore in this game come in the form of the Death Minigames, which are special 8-bit games that you can sometimes play after you die. There are four in total, with each one revealing a bit more about the incident involving the missing children. SAVETHEM is the first. You control Freddy Fazbear, following The Puppet. As you do, you’ll hear someone calling out letters spelling “SAVE THEM". Occasionally, Purple Guy will appear and home in on Freddy. If he touches them, blue static appears along with the words “You can’t".
The next minigame is called Give Gifts, Give Life. You control The Puppet this time, and your instructions are simply to give gifts. You do this by touching four figures that appear to be dead children. After you’ve done that, your instructions change to “give life". Go around and touch them again, and each of the four figures will don one of the animatronics’s masks. Hmm. As in the last minigame, a voice calls out letters here, this time spelling “HELP THEM". When you finish this one, Golden Freddy will jumpscare you, and you might see a fifth child’s body in the middle.
In the third minigame, you play as Freddy again. This one is called Take Cake To The children. There are two children in the restaurant, and you need to bring cake to them by walking over to them. When you do, they’ll turn green. If you ignore them too long, they’ll turn red. A third child stands outside the restaurant, crying. Eventually a purple car comes, and the Purple Guy gets out and kills the third child, who begins crying even harder. The child then turns gray, and Freddy will move slower and slower until it becomes almost impossible to keep the other two kids happy. When they both turn red, you get a jump scare and the minigame ends. The voice this time calls out the letters to spell “SAVE HIM".
The last minigame puts you in control of Foxy. You have to jump out of the Pirate Cove to entertain a group of three children. Two of the three look happy, while the third looks upset. You then need to go back into the Cove and come out again. The third time you do this, the Purple Guy will appear, and the children will be dead. Cue a jump scare and you’re out.
Who exactly is Purple Guy? We can be pretty sure he killed the children, but we don’t know who he is or what his motives were. He seems to be wearing a badge and carrying an object in the SAVETHEM minigame. Is he the day security guard? Phone Guy? What is his relationship with the sad child?
While it seems like the dead children were resurrected into the animatronics by The Puppet, that doesn’t explain how or why The Puppet can do such a thing. In general, The Puppet seems to be different from the other animatronics, so what’s his deal?
Who is the victim of the Bite Of ’87? Does Jeremy live or die? And if he’s not the victim, who is, and what happened to Jeremy? Chalk that one up as another mystery surrounding this pivotal event in the Five Nights canon.
Five Nights at Freddy's 2, $2.99 TouchArcade Review: “With their increased numbers and more advanced AI, the animatronics are more dangerous than they were in the first game by leaps and bounds. Without the ability to seal off the room as in the first game, you are always vulnerable, as you’ll quickly learn after the first couple of nights. You have to make use of every trick in the book to make it through the game, and if you relax for even a moment, it’s often enough for the whole thing to come unglued. Mechanically, I’m much more satisfied with this game than I was with the first, though it does lose something by playing less at your anxiety in favor of a more direct threat. It’s a very tough game, perhaps too tough, but with how brief it really is, I think it’s quite acceptable to ask the player to make many attempts on the road to success." (3.5 stars)
Five Nights At Freddy’s 3
It’s been 30 years since Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza was closed down for good. The horrifying incidents that took place there have fallen into the realm of rumors and urban legend, with many people having an odd, almost nostalgic fixation on the mystique surrounding the establishment. Where’s there’s nostalgia, there’s a business person waiting to capitalize, so everyone welcome Fazbear’s Fright: The Horror Attraction to the scene. It’s a humble little museum to all things Fazbear, with whatever bits and paraphenilia that could be found on display. The attraction is set to open up in one week, and you play as a nameless new hire in charge of watching over things at night. Everything would be okay except for one thing: a single complete animatronic has been recovered, and no one has any clue as to the danger it poses. Springtrap is its name, and what it lacks in numbers, it makes up for in cleverness.
Springtrap is a special hybrid animatronic that was designed to double as a costume and an independent machine. A flaw in its design causes the springs that hold the machinery in place to come undone, mutilating whatever poor soul is wearing the costume. Because of this, Springtrap was taken out of active use and placed in a back room that ended up being sealed off from the rest of the restaurant. This may explain how the Fazbear’s Fright people were able to find it intact. Springtrap is different from most of the previous animatronics. He is speedy, clever, and likes to toy around with the guard. His murderous intent is clear, and there are no weasel-words about it being a robot that doesn’t recognize you as human. The only concession made to his animatronic roots is that he is distracted by sound.
Phone Guy is obviously long-deceased by this point, so he has a replacement that fans have dubbed Phone Dude. He’s a big fan of the legend surrounding Fazbear, and after a couple of nights, he enthusiastically offers up some training tapes they recovered. Those tapes are from the original Phone Guy, who more or less explains the features and defects of the Springtrap suits. We never find out what happens to Phone Dude. The third game has three possible endings. The best ending shows the heads of the four main mascots with their eyes unlit, perhaps indicating the restless spirits have moved on to the afterlife. The neutral ending shows a newspaper clipping about a fire that broke out at the Fazbear’s Fright attraction soon after the game ends. A photo shows that Springtrap may have escaped. The bad ending resembles the good ending, but with the eyes all lit up and a fifth head on the table, perhaps belonging to Golden Freddy. Given the fourth game is on the way, this seems to be the canonical ending, but I guess we’ll have to see! The fate of this game’s security guard is left open.
Background Information Revealed:
The minigames return once again, and this time they pretty much spill most of the beans. You need to earn the cake in each one to unlock each child for the Happiest Day mini-game, as that’s where the action happens. In the first set of mini-games, Purple Guy will appear and dismantle one of the animatronics. In the final one, the ghosts of the children corner Purple Guy in the restaurant’s secret room. He hides in the Springtrap suit to trick them. The ruse initially works, and he jumps to his feet and starts laughing. Just then, the springs release and the suit’s machinery crushes and kills Purple Guy. The ghosts of the children fade away, and his remains are presumably still inside the suit during the events of the game.
Phone Guy mentions that there is a second suit created similar to Springtrap. It’s never followed up on, but it seems ripe for speculation. It could be Golden Freddy, or something else.
On the surface, the Phantom characters seem to be hallucinations, but is there something more to them? At least one of the endings seems to indicate the animatronics live on, but in what form? They couldn’t even salvage enough pieces to put together a whole one, apart from Springtrap. Are they simply ghosts now?
Golden Freddy is notably absent from the picture in the good ending. That seems to indicate that no matter which ending is canon, Golden Freddy’s spirit will not rest. What separates Golden Freddy from the others?
Assuming the reason for the murderous behavior of the animatronics is that they are occupied by restless spirits, why do the other animatronics in the second game act in a similar fashion? Did Purple Guy have more victims than the ones we know about?
The cover story for the fire at Fazbear’s Fright is that the wiring was faulty, but could there have been another cause for the blaze? Also, why do the Phantoms appear burnt, well before the fire happens? Does the protagonist have something to do with the final fate of Fazbear’s Fright?
And of course, the big question concerns Springtrap. What does he want? Why is he trying to kill the player? Assuming he escaped, and the game seems to indicate that he did, what is his next play?
Five Nights at Freddy's 3, $2.99 TouchArcade Review: “It’s just you and Springtrap this time around, and you’d think that would make things easier, but it doesn’t quite work out that way. He’s fast, he’s deadly, and if you so much as close your eyes for a second, he’ll finish you off. The former restaurant has extensive duct work, and Springtrap knows how to make the most of it. Your job is as it always is. You need to survive a working week at your job, a task that gets more difficult with each passing night. Unfortunately, even with all of those ducts, the ventilation system in the place is prone to failure. When it stops working, you’ll start hallucinating all kinds of jumpscary things, and while they can’t kill you, Springtrap isn’t above taking advantage of the situation. You don’t have to worry about the lights or conserving power this time around, luckily. Instead, you need to make sure your three lifelines continue to function." (4 stars)
With any luck, some of those outstanding mysteries will be resolved in Five Nights At Freddy’s 4, but it’s also sure to throw a few of its own into the works. The developer knows quite well how popular this world and its characters are with the players, and a lot of that can be chalked up to how fun and interesting it is to try to guess where things are going or the significance of seemingly unimportant things. Long read though it may be, I hope this guide can help get people up to speed on the series in preparation for the latest game. It should be interesting to see where things go from here.