By: Bijou Kruszka and Julia Yang
*Warning: Spoilers, and depictions of murder are in this article
In 2014, an indie horror game called ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ (FNAF for short) was released. What was initially a small, relatively simple game, quickly snowballed into a massive franchise. Now, the story spans eight games and a book series. However, since the overarching story is given in very cryptic pieces, it can be very hard to follow, so we tried to bring it all together into one story just for you.
In the mid 70s, two men named William Afton and Henry Emily went into business together. They opened up an establishment called “Fredbear’s Family Diner,” a family-friendly restaurant with springlock animatronic mascots, the titular Fredbear and the bunny Bonnie. Everything was going smoothly for the most part: business was booming, and everyone loved Fredbear. The business was so successful that it spawned another location (Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria) and William Afton opened a sister location (Circus Baby’s Pizza World).
However, what most people didn’t know was that Afton had much darker intentions. Afton was a murderer, and these restaurants were nothing more than an extension of his crimes. The animatronics were designed to kill and hide the bodies of the children victims. This was mostly successful for him, until one day, when the Circus Baby animatronic murdered Afton’s very own daughter. Overwhelmed with grief, he shut down Circus Baby’s Pizza World.
Despite the closing of Circus Baby’s, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria was still extremely popular. Children loved the lineup of characters, which was now the lineup most people know: Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie, Chica (a duck), and Foxy (a pirate fox). Afton’s murder spree still continued. Desperate to protect his daughter Charlie, Henry Emily created an animatronic to watch after her, called the Puppet. Unfortunately, one night, Charlie was separated from the Puppet, and was murdered by Afton. Charlie’s soul, however, remained with the Puppet, and she would haunt the Pizzeria for years to come.
In 1983, William Afton’s son (who does not have a name but is constantly depicted as crying, so we’ll refer to him as the “Crying Child” for simplicity’s sake) has a birthday party at Fredbear’s. He absolutely hated the animatronics, and was terrified to be there. His older brother, Michael, was tired of his brother and wanted to prank him. So, at the party, Michael and his friends grabbed the Crying Child, and put his head right inside the mouth of Fredbear. Overwhelmed with fear, the Crying Child starts sobbing uncontrollably. His tears activated the water-sensitive springlock mechanisms in the Fredbear animatronic. In the matter of a single second, the Crying Child was dead, decapitated by the animatronic his father built. Fredbear’s Family Diner was shut down, and suffering from Fredbear’s reputation, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria closed shortly after.
Since the shutdown of Fredbear’s Family Diner, they retired the springlock activated suits. The suits may have been retired, but the Spring Bonnie costume in Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza continued to move. This meant that the incident of the missing children is still ongoing. William had murdered two or more children before he was caught on security cameras installed in the Pizza place. Six children were killed during the incident, including Charlie. Charlie was killed outside, and there was no evidence left that connected Charlie’s death to William. Police were never able to find the bodies of the children, so William was able to spend less time in jail than he should have.
After the first Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza shut down, William Afton decided to transform his underground lab for robotics into an animatronic manufacturer and rental facility. This place would be known as Circus Baby’s Entertainment and Rentals. This place would not entertain children in-house, instead several other Fazbear Entertainment locations would be able to rent the animatronics into their buildings. In addition to renting out the old Circus Baby’s Pizza World animatronics like Ballora, Baby, and Balloon Boy, Circus Baby’s Entertainment and Rentals would introduce new animatronics such as Funtime Foxy, Funtime Freddy, and Funtime Chica.
In 1987, Fazbear Entertainment opened a second Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza location many years after the first had shut down. The animatronics created for this location were a direct inspiration from the Fazbear & Friends toys in an attempt to make the animatronics more kid-friendly. With these new animatronics, came a new face recognition software installed within them that was able to scan and detect for potential criminals. William had also brought along the classic animatronics into this new location, but all of those animatronics were too unsanitary and ugly to perform on stage. All but one: Puppet. The Puppet was placed at the Prize Counter, the others were put in the back and used for parts. The restaurant was mediocrely successful, until another incident known as the “Bite of ‘87” happened, where one of the animatronics bit a security guard. In the same year it opened, the second Freddy Fazbear’s location shut down.
In 1993, Michael Afton decided to go work at Circus Baby’s Entertainment and Rentals after William contacted him and asked him to work. He was hired as a security guard for the night shift. He worked for a few nights, experiencing a lot of strange behavior with the animatronics. Then, one night, he was found and murdered by an amalgamation of all the Circus Baby animatronics, better known as Ennard. Ennard then puppeted his body around for a while, before it started to decay and Ennard escaped it. Replacing Ennard, Michael haunted his own corpse, swearing revenge on his father.
For thirty years, Michael kept a low profile. Then, in 2023, a horror attraction called Fazbear Frights opens. Michael applies to work as a security guard there, and is hired. While he works there, he discovers secret documents from the original Pizzeria, and encounters the violent Spring Bonnie animatronic. He fights the animatronic while he works there, and quickly realizes that it’s being possessed by William Afton himself. In an attempt to finally vanquish his father, Michael burns down Fazbear Frights. However, William survives.
Then, sometime after, Henry Emily opens another Freddy Fazbear location. He hires Michael as a manager. Together, they work to lure William into the restaurant. Henry locks William and all the other animatronics inside and sets the place on fire. While the fire starts, Henry tells William that this is the final end, and how this is all justice for the crimes he committed. The pizzeria burns down. William Afton and Henry Emily are presumed dead. The souls of the children trapped in the animatronics are finally released, to move on to a more peaceful plane.
With that, the ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ lore comes to a conclusion. While it seems like an insane story now, it is given in the games out of order and in small pieces. It’s incredibly difficult to understand initially, but when it is pieced together, it adds a whole extra layer of interest to these otherwise simple horror games.