Five Nights at Freddy's (video game)

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Five Nights at Freddy's
Steam storefront header
Developer(s)Scott Cawthon
Publisher(s)Scott Cawthon
Designer(s)Scott Cawthon
SeriesFive Nights at Freddy's
EngineClickteam Fusion 2.5
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Nintendo Switch
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
  • WW: August 8, 2014
  • WW: August 27, 2014
  • WW: September 11, 2014
PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
  • WW: November 29, 2019
Genre(s)Survival horror, point-and-click

Five Nights at Freddy's (often abbreviated to FNaF) is a point-and-click survival horror video game developed and published by Scott Cawthon. It is the first installment in the Five Nights at Freddy's series. The game centers around a fictional pizza restaurant called "Freddy Fazbear's Pizza" (a pastiche of Chuck E. Cheese's and the now-defunct ShowBiz Pizza Place), where the player must act as a night security guard by defending themselves from the malfunctioning, homicidal and haunted animatronic characters by tracking their movement through the facility using security cameras.

Cawthon conceived the idea of the game following criticism of his previous game, Chipper & Sons Lumber Co., for its unintentionally frightening characters who moved like animatronics. Five Nights at Freddy's was developed in six months using the Clickteam Fusion 2.5 game engine. The game was first released in August 2014 on Desura and Steam. Mobile ports were later released for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One ports, alongside its first three sequels, was released on November 29, 2019.[1]

Five Nights at Freddy's received critical acclaim, being praised for its originality and atmosphere, and quickly gained a cult following. The game was the top-selling game on Desura for the week ending August 18, 2014, and the game became the subject of numerous popular "Let's Play" YouTube videos. The game's success led to the launch of an expanded series, including six sequels, three spin-offs, and five books (three novel adaptations, a children's activity color book, and a strategy/lore guide), with a film adaptation in production.[2]


Gameplay screenshot inside the protagonist's office, showing the power level, current power usage, and time and night on the HUD. Players must use these informations with strategy to survive from the animatronics; in this case, Chica the Chicken.

Five Nights at Freddy's is a survival horror video game with point-and-click elements. Players act as a security guard at the restaurant Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, where they must survive their shift that lasts from midnight to 6:00 a.m. (approximately 8 minutes and 36 seconds of real time, 4 minutes and 30 seconds on the mobile and tablet editions)[3] without being jumpscared by the five animatronic animals that inhabit the facility, Freddy the Bear, Bonnie the Bunny, Chica the Chicken, Foxy the Fox and Golden Freddy.

The player sits alone in an office and is given access to a network of security cameras throughout the facility to track the movement of the animatronics. Each animatronic character roams the restaurant and has distinct movement patterns, and most of the characters' movements take place off-screen. The camera feeds are barely lit and distorted; and the kitchen only contains an audio feed. The cameras do not cover certain areas of the building, most notably the two hallways directly to the left and right of the player. The player cannot leave the office, but can close doors for self-defense and briefly turn on the lights in the hallways to check for animatronics.[3][4] Use of these actions consume the player's limited electrical power; if all the power is exhausted, the cameras become inoperable, the doors open and the lights go out.[3] Once these things happen, Freddy will appear in the left doorway with flashing lights in his eyes while a music box rendition of "Toreador March" plays. After a random amount of time, the office will go pitch black and Freddy will jumpscare the player, resulting in a game over, unless the player makes it to 6 a.m. before this occurs. If the player is jumpscared by any of the animatronics, they must restart from the beginning of the night.

The game has five levels comprising five "nights" in the game (hence the game's title), each increasing in difficulty. Completion of the main game awards the player a star in the main menu and unlocks an even more difficult 6th "night", and completion of this level awards another star and opens up a "Custom Night" during which the player can adjust the AI difficulty of each individual character except for Golden Freddy.[5] Completion of the game's most difficult challenge in which all robots are set to the highest level of 20 (often referred to as 20/20/20/20 mode or 4/20 mode) awards the player a third star.


The main character, Mike Schmidt,[6] has started a job working as a night guard at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, a restaurant owned by the fictional "Fazbear Entertainment".[5][7] Mike's predecessor leaves a voicemail message each night and explains different aspects of the history of the restaurant. He explains that the restaurant's four animatronic characters – Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie the Bunny, Chica the Chicken and Foxy the Pirate Fox – come to life at night because their servomotors will lock up if they are left off for too long. The employee warns Mike that if one of the animatronics encounters a human after hours, it will automatically assume that the human is an endoskeleton without its costume and that the animatronic will "forcefully stuff" the person into a spare mechanical Freddy Fazbear costume, killing the person in the process.[8]

Throughout the game, newspaper clippings and stories from the phone caller imply that the restaurant's image and standing with the general public suffered dramatically over time. The man on the phone mentions an incident called "The Bite of '87", which involved an animatronic going haywire and biting off a victim's frontal lobe. Newspaper clippings in the restaurant's east hallway corner reveal that a reported mass murder occurred on site, which supposedly occurred when a mysterious man, later revealed to be William Afton, one of the owners of Fazbear Entertainment, wearing a suit based on one of the characters lured five children into a back room before killing them. Later, the restaurant received complaints that the animatronics began to emit foul odors while blood and mucus leaked from their eyes and mouths, with one customer comparing them to "reanimated carcasses", implying that the children's dead bodies were stuffed inside the animatronics and the children's ghosts are possessing them.[9]

At the start of the fourth night, the phone caller is presumed to have been killed by one of the animatronics. On the fifth night, Mike receives a phone call with a garbling sound on the other end, implied to be one of the animatronics. Once Mike survives the first five nights, he will receive a paycheck. Completing the fifth night will award the player a star on the title screen and unlock an even harder sixth night. Completing the sixth night will result in Mike earning another paycheck and once again, reward the player with a star on the title screen and a customizable seventh night called Custom Night. In this night, players can customize the four animatronic's AI from 0 to 20. The higher the number of A.I., the more difficult the animatronic becomes. If the players manages to beat the seventh night with all the animatronics set to 20 that will be awarded the third and final star on the title screen.[10] After the seventh night is completed, Mike is fired for tampering with the animatronics, unprofessionalism, and odor.


The idea for Five Nights at Freddy's stems from the negative reception towards Scott Cawthon's previous game, the family-friendly Chipper & Sons Lumber Co., as players commented that the main character (a young beaver) as well as the rest of the characters looked like "a scary animatronic animal", with reviewer Jim Sterling calling the game unintentionally "terrifying".[11][12] Although initially discouraged by the poor reception to Chipper & Sons, Cawthon, who had previously mainly developed Christian-oriented games, eventually used it to inspire himself to make something intentionally scarier.[11] In the game, the animatronics themselves are rarely seen moving. This was revealed to be a deliberate choice on Cawthon's part, as he believes that in real life, such robots are scarier this way, telling Indie Gamer Mag "it’s when they are turned off that the veil is lifted, and you realize that they were never alive. They are, and always have been, dead."[11] Cawthon used Clickteam Fusion 2.5 to develop the game and Autodesk 3ds Max to model and render the 3D graphics, and the game took six months to create.[13]


Five Nights at Freddy's was first released via Desura on August 8, 2014. On August 18, 2014, after it was approved by the service's crowdsourcing platform Greenlight, Five Nights at Freddy's was also released via Steam.[7][14] A port for Android was released on August 25, 2014, via Google Play Store.[15] On September 11, 2014, an iOS port was released. A Windows Phone version was published on December 5, 2014,[16] though it was quickly removed from the store on December 10 due to the port's down-scaled graphical appearance.[17]


Aggregate score
Metacritic(PC) 78/100[18]
Review scores
GameRevolution4.5/5 stars[19]
PC Gamer (US)80/100[3]
TouchArcade(iOS) 3.5/5 stars[20]

Five Nights at Freddy's was well received, with review aggregator website Metacritic assigning the PC version a score of 78 out of 100.[18] Indie Game Magazine praised Five Nights at Freddy's for its simple take on the horror genre, noting that its artistic direction and gameplay mechanics contributed to a feeling of "brutal tension" — worsened by how a player may be familiar with similar restaurants such as Chuck E. Cheese's, and that "it's an incredibly terrifying experience to try to save yourself from the single jump scare that ends the game". In conclusion, Five Nights at Freddy's was considered a "fantastic example of how cleverness in design and subtlety can be used to make an experience terrifying". However, the game was criticized for taking too long to load when launched.[5]

Omri Petitte for PC Gamer gave Five Nights at Freddy's a score of 80 out of 100, commenting that the game took a "less-is-more" approach to its design, and 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". The game's overall atmosphere was praised for emphasizing the fear and suspense of an approaching threat, rather than the arrival of the threat itself as in other horror-oriented games. However, the gameplay of Five Nights at Freddy's was criticized for becoming repetitive once a player masters it, as there is "not much more to expect beyond managing battery life and careful timing of slamming doors shut, so those with steely willpower won't find anything else past the atmosphere of it all."[3] Ryan Bates of Game Revolution gave the game a 4.5 out of 5; comparing its camera-oriented gameplay to the 1992 game Night Trap, he praised the game's minimalistic presentation (with particular emphasis on its audio design and lack of music) for contributing to the terror of the game, along with the fact that the "nervous impulses" of its repetitive gameplay would "[reach] almost OCD-type levels, adding to the tense environment." In conclusion, he felt that the game was "horror done right", but that it was too short.[19]

Eurogamer's Jeffrey Matulef compared the animatronic animals in the game to Weeping Angels — predatory creatures from the universe of Doctor Who — due to their ability to only move when they are not being observed.[21] Softpedia gave the game 4 out of 5 stars, with reviewer Cosmin Anton noting that it "drifts away from the classic first-person horror survival titles", but that the "inability to move combined with the limited power available will make you feel quite helpless in front of those relentless robots that just want to share a bit of their 'love' with you".[4] Ben Croshaw of Zero Punctuation hailed the game as extremely effective, but expressed doubts about using jumpscares as a central game mechanic.[22]

Five Nights at Freddy's was the top-selling game on Desura for the week ending August 18, 2014; the game's popularity was increased by a number of popular "Let's Play" videos on YouTube.[23] As of July 2015, the iPhone port of Five Nights at Freddy's is installed an estimated 4,694 times per day, earning a daily revenue of $13,879.[24]


The success of Five Nights at Freddy's led to Cawthon developing several prequels and sequels, beginning with the release of Five Nights at Freddy's 2 in November 2014.[25] Two novel adaptations, Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes and Five Nights at Freddy's: The Twisted Ones, were released in 2015 and 2017 respectively.[26] The third novel adaptation, Five Nights at Freddy's: The Fourth Closet, was released in 2018.[27] A spin-off, FNaF World, was released in 2016.[28] A guidebook based on the series called The Freddy Files was released in 2017.

As of 2017, Blumhouse Productions has acquired the rights to make a film adaptation of Five Nights at Freddy's.[29]

In August 2020, Cawthon announced that the developer Phisnom would develop an official re-imagining of the first game for release on Game Jolt, mobile devices, and consoles.


  1. ^ Fischer, Tyler (November 27, 2019). "Five Nights at Freddy's 1-4 Are Coming to PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch This Week". Comic Book.
  2. ^ Allen, Scott (August 29, 2017). The Freddy Files. Scholastic Inc.
  3. ^ a b c d e Petitte, Omri (August 25, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's review". PC Gamer. Future plc. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Anton, Cosmin (August 20, 2014). "Softpedia Editor's Review for Five Nights at Freddy's". Softpedia. SoftNews NET SRL. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Couture, Joel (August 7, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's Review – Nightmares and Death at Chuck E Cheese's". Indie Game Magazine. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  6. ^ Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's (PC). Scene: Completion of Night 5.
  7. ^ a b "Five Nights at Freddy's is nightmare fuel mixed with Chuck E. Cheese's". Destructoid. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  8. ^ Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's (PC). Scene: Night 1 phone call.
  9. ^ Oxford, Nadia. "Murder, Dysfunctional Families, and Purple Guys: The Larger Story Behind the Five Nights at Freddy's Games". USgamer. Retrieved April 30, 2017.
  10. ^ Scott Cawthon (August 8, 2014). Five Nights at Freddy's (PC). Scene: Completion of Custom Night.
  11. ^ a b c "IGM Interviews – Scott Cawthon (Five Nights at Freddy's)". IGM. Archived from the original on January 24, 2018. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  12. ^ "Why Five Nights At Freddy's Is So Popular". Kotaku.
  13. ^ "Interview of the author of a top paid game in AppStore". Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  14. ^ Conditt, Jessica (August 20, 2014). "All of the nightmares live in Five Nights at Freddy's". Joystiq. AOL. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  15. ^ Priestman, Chris (August 27, 2014). "Hit PC horror game Five Nights At Freddy's is now terrifying Android players". Pocket Gamer. Steel Media Limited. Retrieved August 27, 2014.
  16. ^ "Five Nights at Freddy's 1 and 2 creep their way onto the Windows Phone Store". Windows Central.
  17. ^ "Five Nights at Freddys 1&2 unpublished from the Windows Phone Store". WMPowerUser.
  18. ^ a b "Five Nights at Freddy's for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  19. ^ a b Bates, Ryan (August 27, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's Review". Game Revolution. Evolve Media, LLC. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  20. ^ Musgrave, Shaun (October 9, 2014). "'Five Nights At Freddy's' Review – One, Two, Freddy's Going To Get You". TouchArcade. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  21. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (August 19, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's brings horrifying animatronic animals to Steam". Eurogamer. Gamer Network Ltd. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  22. ^ Escapist Magazine
  23. ^ "PC download charts: 'Five Nights at Freddy's' tears up Desura". Relaxnews. August 18, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  24. ^ "Five Nights at Freddy's". Think Gaming. Retrieved July 29, 2015.
  25. ^ Prescott, Shaun (November 10, 2014). "Five Nights at Freddy's 2 is now available on Steam". PC Gamer. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  26. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (December 17, 2015). "Five Nights at Freddy's creator releases spin-off novel". Eurogamer. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
  27. ^ Five Nights at Freddy's: Book 3. amazon. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  28. ^ Prescott, Shaun (January 21, 2016). "Five Nights At Freddy's World has released early". PC Gamer. Future US. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  29. ^ "Five Nights at Freddy's Movie Being Produced by Blumhouse - Dread Central". Dread Central. March 28, 2017. Retrieved March 29, 2017.

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