Lore Speculation

The Ultimate FNAF4 Guide – Part 1

“What is it that you think you see?”FNAF 4 original trailer

Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 is the fourth instalment in the franchise and is perhaps one of the most hotly contested and misunderstood games in the entire series. FNAF4 marked a change in the format of the gameplay as players knew it, moving away from the desk-focused security camera flipping. In FNAF 4, the player plays from the perspective of a young child armed only with a flashlight. The game is primarily located in a bedroom and the gameplay forces the player to rely almost solely on muted sound cues to predict the movements of the nightmarish looking animatronics through the hallways.

FNAF 4 has between night “minigames”, unfolding a narrative surrounding a single character who appears to be the child that we are playing as. Though this overview makes the game feel simple, in essence it is anything but, with a hundred threads of connected meaning interlaced through every single game before and after this point in time. The character or characters central to FNAF 4 hold the keys to unlocking the entire narrative of the series.

The Context

Unlike my other articles on these topics, this discussion will likely present no absolute and irrefutable conclusions. I’ll present the shape of the evidence and why I have decided what I have using what we possess but honestly, the positively vast amount of information around this game makes even presenting this difficult and unwieldy. I’ll give it my best shot regardless. Commencing the writing of this article, I still haven’t fully made up my mind about what I think regarding this game, but we have more of a view of it now than we ever have.

To begin, I’d like to present FNAF 4 in its context in the series. Dawko’s interview with Scott provided valuable insight into the series and this matter is no different.

Scott mentions in the interview that he ultimately found himself dissatisfied with the deployment of lore in the game, stating that it had “strayed too far from an actual story” and that he felt it “went too broad for interpretation” and that he needed to “ground it in storytelling again” by creating another game. This implies that there were elements of Sister Location which related directly back to FNAF 4, as it was created with this information deficit in mind.

Scott confirms these breadcrumbs later to Dawko who checks –

“You put some things in Sister Location to ground out the story of FNAF 4, right?”

With Scott replying Mmmhmm in the affirmative.

It is my opinion that ever since FNAF 4, Scott has been looking to frame the events of this exact game more clearly in numerous ways, adding to that initial storyline thread that he felt was impossible for a player to grasp. The hints are everywhere, and I think that now more than ever we finally have the tools to understand the shape of what is going on.

The Timeline

As far as when FNAF 4 falls in the timeline, I’m still of the impression that the bedroom gameplay of FNAF 4 falls chronologically after FNAF 3 and there are plenty of reasons for my thinking this.

Fnaf4 Living Room

I understand that it is easy for people at first to assume that the entire game takes place in 1983 due to this being the only date that we are given as a reference point (it appears on the screen as an easter egg on the television in the between night cutscenes). However, I contest that this date is given during a flashback, with the minigame cutscenes representing a distant memory of the protagonist. I had this impression since even before the tales series began, but the short story Dittophobia was an incredibly validating confirmation of what I thought.

My original suspicions that FNAF 4 is not a prequel first surfaced at the release of Sister Location where one of the most substantial discoveries of that game was the private room that the player can gain access to by disobeying the directions that they are given by Circus Baby. There is a keypad in this hidden security office and if the player enters the digits “1-9-8-3” into a keypad on the wall, the screens change from static to views of the bedroom, the bed and the plushtrap hallway from FNAF 4. These locations also appear in a faint form on the layout map of the location itself in the Breaker Room, where the minigame location is labelled “Obsv. 1” and the bedroom labelled “Obsv. 2”

Of note is the fact that on the breaker room maps, each location has faint dots which appear to correspond to animatronic spawn areas, along with a white square which appears to correspond to the location the “subject” would be placed in. Other than the plushtrap hallway and the bedroom from FNAF 4, we also appear to see a recreation of the home and Fredbear’s location from the child’s flashbacks, complete with Spring Bonnie and Fredbear on their stage.

Another point against the concept of FNAF 4 being a prequel is that we hear a reversed and slowed down version of the phone guy call from FNAF 1 in the ambiance of the game, something which would be impossible if this game was set prior to the events of this game. There are various anachronisms which don’t align with events which are neatly solved if we set this game in its place after FNAF1/2 and 3. Plushtrap is a Springtrap plushie ultimately, a fact which has frustrated theorists for years, but which makes perfect sense if you contextualise it within experiments William is running in Sister Location after everything else.

This theory I had built up about the timeline was massively validated with the arrival of the final story in the Tales from the Pizzaplex series, Dittophobia.

In this short story, the main character realises that he has been keep in an incessant cycle of fear and waking, with his life stripped away, kept complacent through hallucinatory gas. He stirs “awake” briefly from this stupor only to realise that he is now grown up and not the child that he was before and finds someone’s observation notes on his sustained fear levels. This aligns perfectly with the concept that FNAF 4 is taking place in an incessant cyclical nightmare in an experimental house, one that potentially leans on the traumatic memories of their prisoner.

FNAF 4 is an incredibly complicated game, because it presents both the events of some historic moment and a more modern set of experiments focused around that moment and the terror and fear it represented. It is not a theory about a child’s dreams or nightmares in an unreal sense, but a state of unreality and waking nightmare rooted in the real world. It is happening within the bounds of Sister Location and therefore is perfectly possible to be situated exactly where it is in the timeline, before Michael’s visit to the location.

The House

The first issue we are faced with is where do we begin when discussing FNAF4? There are so many factors interlinked together that it is difficult to zero in on one element. I think that perhaps it is best just to start at the beginning with what what we see when we first start the game and what this tells us about the identity of our protagonist.

The game boots up to an intro screen with a sinister crimson tinted view of a house in a remote location, surrounded by trees with a huddle of nightmarish animatronics disguised as foliage in the foreground. This gives the immediate impression of isolation from help, and also gives us the first hint that all may not be as it seems.

Incidentally, we see a screen much like this one in FNAF world.

We see another depiction of an isolated house in the Halloween expansion to Help Wanted where on the Halloween DLC mission hub, we can see the distant silhouette of a house that looks almost exactly like the one from FNAF 4. I personally interpret the location of Fallfest 83 to be William Afton’s own property for numerous little reasons through this DLC, but this potentially also locates the intro screen of FNAF 4 in the same place. There is a rare possibility when loading into the Halloween hub for the sky to be not its normal green but a stark, vivid red. As you can imagine this makes the similarities even more pointed.

Gameplay begins in a child’s bedroom. We can infer that this is indeed the bedroom of a child because there are toys strewn around the floor and we are at closer to the ground than an adult would be, below the level of the doorknob when we open a door.

The ceiling has the same hanging stars we see in the Freddy’s location in both FNAF 1 and 2 stuck on the bedroom wall.

We see another version of this room in Ultimate Custom Night and its worth looking at the differences between the bedroom in both versions and what this might imply. I would point out while we are discussing the bedroom appearing in UCN that I am of the belief (one shared with most of the fandom) that we see William Afton’s torment and mental landscape in that game. The fact that it appears in his psychological landscape leads me to believe that even in the game canon that William must have observed this room at some point.

The ultimate custom night version of the room is wider overall, with a security table in front of it laden with paperwork and a microphone. All the FNAF4 children’s toys are present, but in addition to them are ceiling vents and a high-set wall vent. There is a desk fan in addition to the purple fan toy. The fan is an incredibly prevalent symbol throughout FNAF but seems to be mostly associated with William Afton, present in almost overbearing sense in Sister Location itself. I think the replacement of the phone that phone guy typically uses with a toy one on the desk here is an entertaining nod also. It is also of note that the desk’s microphone and the cup remain the same for every desk setup, to me once again re-affirming that it was indeed the same individual sitting there in FNAF2/FNAF3 and FNAF4

The Belongings

The toys we see in the FNAF 4 bedroom are important and provide a clear and consistent linking thematic thread that is present both in other games and in the short stories that came later.

These toys when I refer to them are a purple plastic fan, a blue telephone with unsettling eyes and a moth, a caterpillar of the sort that might be dragged along on a string and a purple robot with orange dials. As you can see, purple is a dominant colour in many of these objects and feels intentional in its presence, though of course it could still be coincidental. The frequent appearances of the toys themselves however are far too frequent and deliberate to be any sort of coincidence. Due to their importance, let’s go through their appearances in order, I’ll begin with their descriptions in the Dittophobia short story where each item is described in text format. It is worth noticing that like all of the short stories, there are some minor deviations from the games present even here, and there is a “green plastic fish” and a rabbit which “stood up straight” a few feet from the door and made the protagonist uncomfortable. The caterpillar is absent in the short story but the lava lamp is mentioned. Either way the following objects are important enough to the protagonist in this story that they mention them.

“A blue telephone with large googly eyes and red wheels. “ It is referred to again later as “A rolling phone.

“A purple robot”

“A purple three-bladed fan”Note that the fan in this story has three blades but the one in the games has four, another deviation amongst many in the short stories.

As you can see above, these items were also present in one of the most recent games, Security Breach, where they are found both in prime display cases in rockstar row, or in the more ominous and abandoned Chica’s bakery, which is where the fan shows up.

The same fan shows up as a FNAF world trophy, this one is unlocked by collecting every single character in the game. You’ll note that this is indeed the toy fan, as the desk one has more loops on its finger guards.

Help Wanted on release was as steeped in these toys as Security Breach was, which to me has been a consistent hint that there is a deeper connection and meaning between the two games and FNAF 4 than many seem to entertain. The bedroom doesn’t have a whole lot in it, so when its decorations reappear, I pay attention.

In Help Wanted, we learn some additional context on the toys themselves, that they are actually big ticket prizes from the prize counter at Freddy’s. These are 1000 for the fan and the robot and 500 for the phone. This tells us that whoever lives in that bedroom at some point must have been proficient at playing the games in the arcade to earn so many tickets.

We learn from the short stories that high ticket items are desirable both in the Pizzaplex and in Freddy’s itself.

We also have a very interesting story in the Tales from the Pizzaplex about a young man who is exceptionally talented at arcade games in GGY, a story which directly uses the name of the Security Breach protagonist. I’ll ask you to keep this connection in mind.

Whoever our protagonist is in FNAF 4 is good at earning tickets at Freddy Fazbears.

While on the subject of the child’s possessions, it is also worth going into the fact that they appear a LOT in Help Wanted. Like, a lot a lot. They predominantly appear in the locations associated with William’s speculated fear tests, the plushtrap hallway, the bedroom, the elevator down to sister location and so on.

In addition to the above locations in Help Wanted, the hard mode version (known as the blacklight mode due to the lighting) of the Freddy parts and service repair has a completely FNAF 4 reminiscent scene with static screens – like the private room screens in sister location – and surrounded by floating versions of the robot and the phone. This scene also begins to thread other possessions into association with the FNAF 4 child by association, it follows that if the hard form of this parts and service game heavily references FNAF 4 (by bringing in the toys the kid owned and the freddles he was hunted by) then the other objects are tied to him too.

From this, I begin to associate the shoe, the watch and the beaten up Helpy hat with the protagonist of FNAF 4 also. It is worth mentioning that the hat is in Freddy’s mouth, something which brings to mind the notorious “bite” incident from the game itself.

The child in FNAF4s cutscenes also spends the whole game terrified of and dreading the birthday party that is on the horizon. The watch we find inside Freddy has the words PARTY TIME written on it in scrawled red. I think this is yet another connection. I include the texture for this item for readability.


In the between night cutscenes in FNAF4, one figure who is ever-present is the plushie with its short body and roving pinpoint eyes. This figure appears in most of the screens the child does, but in a sinister way. It speaks to him, but does not seem to do so in person, as it is never in his arms but instead present in locations around the room. This always seemed strange, but with the added context we gain from Dittophobia, there is every possibility that this voice is being piped in through a speaker in a recreation of previously scary moments from the subject’s life. With the introduction of the context of a testing facility, we cannot fully take anything for granted.

This figure, that of an accompanying bear seems to be intended as a figure of comfort for the child in the cutscenes , he warns him about his fears and reassures him not to be scared, that is there with him and yet when the kid is faced with someone in a costume tells him to run away and that it is “too late” to escape, when it still seems very doable. It is difficult to shake the feeling that there is some subtle manipulation going on with the child’s dependence on this constant companion.

On day 7 of the cutscenes after the bite, we see this companion Fredbear state “I’m still here. I will put you back together.”

This phrase “put you back together” is nodded to in other places in the franchise, we see it initially in the context of mangle who is presented as “some kind of ‘take apart, put back together’ attraction” but more interestingly we see it in the teaser interactions that occur between two in-universe figures on Scott’s website.

This might require a little bit of context for those not familiar with the various ways lore has been imparted over the years, but in the earlier days of the franchise, Scott would leave secret information in the HTML of the pages on his website domains. One such interaction took place between two of his domains and went as follows.

ScottGames – You are crowding us.
FNaFWorld – Be Quiet.
ScottGames – You can’t tell us what to do anymore.
FNaFWorld – Yes, I can. You will do everything that I tell you to do.
ScottGames – We outnumber you.
FNaFWorld – That doesn’t matter, dummy.
ScottGames – We found a way to eject you.
FNaFWorld – You would be lost without me.
ScottGames – Ha, ha! Say goodbye to our friend!
FNaFWorld – I can put myself back together.

In this interaction we see the “put back together” comment again. I am of the opinion that this discussion is between the collective children and William and Baby, with the latter group having had enough of sharing space with the two. It is of note that it appears to be William who is once again associated with both FNAF world as a game and Fredbear and the plushie that observes the child also.

We see this concept laid out more clearly in The Fourth Closet novel where Carlton, one of the teenagers comes close to death and finds himself in the company of the murdered children. Michael, one of his former friends explains to him why he’s gathering together colouring pages.

“I have to put them back together,” Michael explained. “See?” He pointed out from the table, at the pizzeria around them. Carlton squinted into the blurry horizon, seeing nothing at first, then they began to appear: he saw pages and pages of colorful drawings, some on the walls, others blowing through the air. “They’re all in pieces,” Michael said.

He even clarifies this further by specifically stating.

“What are you putting back together?” Carlton asked. “My friends.” Michael pointed to a single picture propped up against the wall. It showed five children: three boys and two girls, standing together in a cheerful pose, with a yellow rabbit standing behind them.

Michael also when speaking to his father says. “ I found her. I put her back together, just like you asked me to. She’s free now.“ Presumably referring to his efforts to restore his sister. However we do not figure out what he is referring to when he says “I did it. I found it. It was right where you said it would be.” It’s possible that he is referring to sister location itself, which he presumably accessed through a service elevator, but it could mean something else entirely.

Putting someone back together in this context appears to be related to bringing them back from the hazy state of confusion (and consequently obedience) that death places them in and which William Afton seeks to keep them in.

“Why would they hurt us? It’s you they’re after.” “They don’t remember,” Dave said. “They’ve forgotten. The dead do forget. All they know is that you are here, trying to take away their happiest day.”

However, I think it’s possible that in FNAF4 in the scene we witness, William is speaking to his dead or dying son and it is a memory the child has of being informed at the point of death that he will put him back together. We will come back to this concept in more depth later on, but for the time being we are focusing in on Fredbear.

Fredbear is an incredibly important figure to the child in FNAF4, as we witness from the unfolding cutscenes. He lives in fear of an impending party and it appears that he is right to fear it, as when the day arrives, he is placed into the jaws of one of the stage animatronics by a group of older kids and either severely injured or outright killed. The animatronic that chomps him in his teeth is Fredbear himself, the predecessor to Freddy Fazbear and his companions.

Fredbear appears in Sister Location in the aforementioned private room, where the player finds a walkie talkie and a plushie of the bear on the desk.

It is speculated that this is a the hint that players were given that William was projecting his voice through the plushie via a walkie talkie from this room. This is valid, but it does make me ask why the plushie is here. One point of speculation I might make is that if we look back to the breaker room map –

The FNAF4 bedroom (in red) is connected directly to the looped area attached to the private room (in blue), where there is an oxygen supply that can be interfered with (by the minireenas) and where we go head to head with Ennard. I think that its possible that if whoever was captive in the FNAF4 bedroom exited the room, that they would have to go through the private room and might well have discarded their Fredbear plushie at that point.

Fredbear is very present in FNAF world. Markedly, he is the player’s guide through the world they find themselves in, though it appears that whatever comfortable status quo they once had has altered. There are deep glitches and issues in the heart of the game code and these hint at some larger meaning to what at first appears an innocent and optimistic setting. The game begins with as much, starting on a set of glowing golden eyes who make a familiar promise.

FNAF world exists on two levels, the superficial brightly coloured town of Animatronica and its surrounding areas, and the deeper world of the glitches, glitches that pull us deeper and deeper into the game itself and which render the player more and more pixellated in the process, down in this lower level, the player changes to a small pixel bear, but deeper still they become an almost human face.

If the player goes as deep as they possibly can, they encounter a fisherman (Old Man Consequences) who tells them they can no longer go back.

I’m sorry to say that you have gone too deep into the code. There is no way back out. My name is Old Man Consequences. Come have a seat, and let’s fish for a while. You have nowhere else to go.

Fredbear in FNAF world goes from an approachable character to a twisted version of the FNAF 4 minigame Fredbear if you leave him after speaking to him and directs us in the “clock ending” of the game to complete specific hidden minigames.

When we complete this clock ending of the game we are given the dialogue –

We are still your friends. Do you believe that?

The pieces are in place for you.

All you have to do is find them.


The Fredbear guide in FNAF world appears to be hijacked by some external force which informs the player that they are there because something horrible happened in the world outside. Successful completion of the clock ending results in a trophy of a crying child (as seen in FNAF3), but with the key difference that they have arms and are no longer crying. The true ending of the game as led by this version of Fredbear appears to have made them whole in some way, or started the process of putting them back together.

It is my opinion that Fredbear as a “guide” character is present in exactly the same way as FNAF world once again in Security Breach. Glamrock Freddy is not actually brown like every other Freddy Fazbear but is in fact golden or orange in a way that is far closer to Fredbear.

His eyes in the game were once blue.

But now they are golden. They glow in the dark and he idles them scanning the area in the exact same way the Fredbear plushie did. In RUIN we see this same behaviour even in the loading icon for the game.

Freddy also says to Gregory – the child player he is leading through the game – that he is not himself any longer, that something happened while he was forced to dig down to free something terrible and that he woke up. He mentions his “friends” are down there and despairs “I am not me”. The whole scenario is very reminiscent of FNAF world where a generic narrative Fredbear becomes something new, and these similarities and parallels only deepen as we move into RUIN. For now, adhering to the concept of Fredbear, as a major character he is present in almost every game in some way or other, but to me the most remarkable instances are in FNAF world, FNAF4 and Security Breach.

Security Breach is absolutely riddled with references to the FNAF 4 child, from the recharge stations which “bite” the flashlight to charge it to many, many references to damaged/removed heads and head injuries alongside numerous hints (particularly from Vanny) that this might well be some kind of game we are once again playing.

In Ultimate Custom Night, Fredbear appears in a very selective circumstance where we use “death coins” to “kill” or dismiss Golden Freddy. Rather than vanishing, we are jumpscared instead by Fredbear himself, who looks very much like golden Freddy but with his distinctive tie and hat.

So, to come back to FNAF4, quite apart from being the one who bites the child in the cutscenes we see, Fredbear is also present in a nightmare form, he appears on night 5.

Nightmare Fredbear is unusual in that he appears on the bed, similar to Nightmare Freddy and has some odd quirks, where his laugh can sound reminiscent of crying. He also has a completely dark semi-transparent counterpart known only as Nightmare in the game, but we will get into Nightmare and the other animatronics in more depth later. For the moment I feel that it is only pertinent that Fredbear exists as a nightmare, in addition to the others and this is another facet of his presence in FNAF 4.

A final interesting addendum that I would like to include regarding Fredbear here is that of the additions to the Freddy Files/Ultimate Guide. Just to give a quick outline of events as they happened, The Freddy Files were produced by Scholastic, and featured many factual inaccuracies and pilfered fan renders of the characters which were used without permission or attribution. Scott reacted immediately to this and a new, revised edition of the Freddy Files was produced which addressed the fan render content. However, he remained dissatisfied with the quality it contained. The most recent addition was the Ultimate Guide, which was a larger book dimensionally and featured many revisions to the information in the Freddy Files, along with several observations and “rumours” which were not present before.

One of these interesting additions can be found on the page which specifically deals with Fredbear. In the second edition of the Freddy Files, the page speculates that the Fredbear plushie contains a camera, this is removed in the revised version and we are presented with a section on “some interesting theories”, all of which I think come to ultimately be true. William is spying on his test subject and I think that down the line, the soul comes to inhabit Golden Freddy for a time. But we will get into my reasons for all this later, I just wanted to point out the interesting revisions that came out of the book once it was placed directly into Scott’s hands for review, especially in regards to Fredbear and the nature of the mystery surrounding him.

As you can see, we’ve only scratched the barest surface of the game and my thoughts on it thus far, I have SO MUCH more to say. However I think this is a good breaking point. In the next part we will begin to drill down into the box, the short stories and the animatronics themselves and what they represent.