What makes “Five Nights at Freddy’s” such an interesting horror game?

Five Nights at Freddy’s Trailer

Five Nights at Freddy’s is so captivating to many people. Game play wasn’t the only thing that got people interested. Many long-time fans, including me, will tell you that the lore has kept them interested in the game for this long. Many people don’t like the game or find the game community to be “cringe.”

IntroPoster ScottCawthon
Selfie taken by Scott Cawthon. Photo: Five Nights at Freddy’s Wikipedia

Five Nights at Freddy’s is an indie horror game that was developed by Scott Cawthon all the way back in 2014. During the development of the game, Scott’s mindset was that this will be his last game for a long time. When he published the first game of the series, it didn’t gain much traction for a while. The game started to get a following when YouTubers like Markiplier, Yamimash, and Jacksepticeye began to make videos about the game.

Five Nights at Freddy’s has you taking the position of a night guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, a Chuck E. Cheese-style restaurant. During the night, you have to protect yourself from the animatronic characters that wander the pizzeria. You have to shut doors and check cameras to ensure that the animatronics don’t get you and stuff you into a mascot suit.

When the game began to gain popularity, many people enjoyed the game for its jump scares and creepy atmosphere. Some players started to notice some little details while dodging killer robots. Players began to piece together all of the elements, and realized that there was a story behind the jump scares and spooks.

Some YouTubers picked up on this and started to theorize about the story behind this horror game. Many began to realize that the whole story was very confusing and complex. To sum it up, this was a story about murdered children possessing robots in revenge, rather than malfunctioning animatronics. This new-found story got more people interested in the game. People realized that there are still holes in the story that weren’t answered, which kept people theorizing on what the whole story really was.

Five Nights at Freddy’s Logo Photo credit: Wikipedia

With the release of the second game, people began digging around for secrets and clues to the series lore. This got even more people invested into the games. With this new installment, some questions from the first game were answered. But now this new game left holes in the story as well.

At this point, Five Nights at Freddy’s was at the height of its life. After this, the series started to go down with the release of Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 (FNAF 3). But, loyal theorists stayed right by the series. Continuing the search for answers, and asking more questions with every new piece of information.

By the 4th installment of the series, some people were coming back for the game play and jump scares. Many were coming back to have everything finally answered. Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 (FNAF 4) was teased at being the final game of the series, so many were digging as hard as they could for answers to all of their questions.


When a 5th game was teased, many theorists were confused if it would tie into the existing lore of the main four games or if it would be branching off into its own story. It turns out that Scott executed an interesting plan when it came to the story of Five Nights at Freddy’s.

Scott decided to continue the story of the series into the 5th game and later into a 6th. But, he also decided to end the old story at FNAF 4 and label that as its own story all in itself. He essentially duplicated the whole lore of the franchise, ended one of them at the 4th game and continued the other into the 5th and 6th game.

This was a genius idea by Scott. By doing this, he has now essentially created two different story lines for this game series. Some of the new information that has been given to users in the newer games changes and answers questions we had from the first 4 games. This makes both stories unique to themselves, keeping the base story the same but changing key details with new information.

An issue with the series right now is that many people find the game community to be “cringe” because of the things people create with the series. Sometimes its kids doing song covers of fan-made songs, people with no animating skill trying to animate using FNAF characters, or people making inappropriate images using the animatronics.

Old FNAF timeline Photo: FNAF Wikia

Most members, including me, don’t like to say they are a part of the FNAF community because of what people assume of the community as a whole. Many people have left Five Nights at Freddy’s because of the “cringe” associated with it.

Most of the older members are theorists who have stayed with the series through thick and thin. Theorists, including me, mainly try to steer away from the “cringe” of the community and focus on the lore of the game.

We still participate in the community, but mostly through fan-drawings, animations, and fan-games. Theorists only make up a little bit of the whole community, but are the oldest standing group of FNAF fans. FNAF is such a good game because even after five years, it still has many people interested in the game and hidden lore.

Austin Wisniewski is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.