Artist’s rendition of me consuming FNAF lore. I will never be the same. Illustration by Alyson Sutherland.

I have never once consumed any content related to the video game series “Five Nights At Freddy’s.” For this portion of the piece, that remains true. This introductory paragraph will act as a control, to see what I already know, so here goes.

The name Freddy Fazbear comes to mind, absorbed mostly through the internet. While I could not definitively place this name to a character, I would guess (based on the presence of the word “bear” in his name) that he is the animatronic(?) humanoid teddy bear with the bowler hat. Also from the internet, I know the name Vanessa, mostly from TikToks that have been reuploaded to Instagram Reels. Vanessa seems to be Freddy’s handler of some kind, based on the context given in the audio of the TikToks. Now to the content of the games themselves. I know they’re technically horror games, and I think they take place in a supermarket of some kind? I don’t know how many games there are, or when they came out, or anything else about them. 

My research will be done on the modern day equivalent to the Library of Alexandria, YouTube. I don’t really know how long it will take to fully understand and immerse myself in the rich history of this game franchise, but I can only hope that this great quest leaves me enough time to make my deadline, because Kirsch has been on a rampage lately, and I really would like to remain Editor-In-Chief. If you are reading this, you can assume that I met the deadline, or at least was close enough. Any writing done after this will be as a changed man, perhaps even an evolved one, one who can now recite the lore of “Five Nights At Freddy’s” with machine-like accuracy and speed.

Alright. This is the most insane lore I have ever consumed. By far. There are levels to this. Firstly, the “Five Nights At Freddy’s” series is not just videogames, but is also made up of books, the main games, and several spinoff games. In the interest of simplicity, and my sanity, we will be keeping this summary to facts confirmed by canon, “main-timeline” games. There are seven of them, and release order is not the same as timeline order (it never is), so we will be working this in timeline order. In we go.

The first game in the timeline is “Five Nights at Freddy’s 4.” This game sets up some of the early lore, which includes the first child death at the hands of a poorly crafted animatronic in 1983. This incident starts the main series of events, and causes the closure of Fredbear’s Family Diner, the first venue to host the various murderous animatronics.

The next game in the timeline is largely agreed to be “Five Nights At Freddy’s: Sister Location,” the fifth game released. This game has you play as Michael Afton, the son of William Afton who you may know from making the killer animatronics referenced in the last paragraph. This game is where things get weird. Michael Afton is exploring a storage space which contains various animatronics that are now being used as part of an animatronics rental service, the surplus of which come from a sister location (get it?) of Fredbears Pizza. Through the course of the game, one of the animatronics lures Michael Afton to his death, but his corpse is repurposed by the skeleton of ANOTHER animatronic and is used as a sort of Trojan horse to allow the animatronics to leave the storage unit. Dear lord.

Now we arrive at the second game released, and the third in the timeline, “Five Nights At Freddy’s 2.” This one occurs in the Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, the second iteration of Fredbear’s Family Diner, and surely one that will have no child murders. You play as a security guard for the restaurant, and the checks you receive at the end of the game confirm the year as 1987. Thanks to a mysterious voice on the phone, you learn that there is an ongoing police investigation surrounding this restaurant, meaning that there are likely more child murders. This game also introduces the “Purple Man,” who is most likely William Afton (animatronic John Kramer), and who seems to have been killing children (we almost had no child murders) in Freddy Fazbears Pizza. 

The next game in the timeline is the original “Five Nights At Freddy’s.” Common consensus is that this game takes place in 1993, and also in Freddy Fazbears Pizza. This game corroborates a lot of the lore discussed in the above paragraph. It also adds that some animatronics have been stuffing people inside themselves, and then those people die. This is corroborated by the fact that some animatronics have been smelling and oozing. I am a different man now. 

If you’ve stuck around long enough, I hope that you’re a fan, or that you are okay. On to the final three. The fifth game in the timeline is “Five Nights At Freddy’s 3.” This game jumps in time to approximately 2023. You play as a security guard at a horror venue. You learn how to hop inside the suits and operate them, but are later discouraged from doing that after being shown, get ready for it, the ghosts of dead children (still with me?) cornering their murderer, presumably the John Kramer of animatronics, and forcing him to hop into one of the animatronic suits to defend himself. The suit then snaps closed, killing him. I wonder who wrote this game. I want to meet them. I hope they’re getting whatever help they might need.

Almost there. The next game (sixth in the timeline) is “Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria Simulator.” Wouldn’t it be nice if this was a nice cooking simulator game like “Overcooked?” Wouldn’t that be a nice breath of fresh air? But we don’t get nice things here. Instead we get “Five Nights At Freddy’s” lore. This game has you outfitting a new location for Fazbear Entertainment, under the guise of a big party at the end of the week. After the last night, you are told that you were part of a plan to lure all of the existing animatronics to a central location and burn them. Then the whole building burns down. I’m out of breath.

Last one. Also the shortest one, because I don’t want to do this anymore. I feel like a protagonist in one of these games I have never played. This final game is the most recent one, “Five Nights At Freddy’s: Security Breach.” This game has you playing as a child trapped in a new location, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza Megaplex. This game has multiple endings, which as any Zelda fan will tell you, is ever so much fun, and only simplifies any attempt to track lore. I don’t want to spoil anything, because this is the newest game and only came out two months ago. 

This stuff is wild. I think this might be the most I’ve written for this paper, and I don’t know how to feel. I won’t lie, I imagine there are factual inaccuracies, because this is work compiled by someone who hasn’t played any “Five Nights at Freddy’s” games or consumed any other media, but it certainly is my best god dang attempt. I’m gonna go sit on the edge of my bed totally motionless for three to five hours. Have a nice day.