9 Ways Five Nights At Freddy’s Changes The Video Games

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Spoiler alert! This article contains spoilers for the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie!

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Summary

  • Mike Schmidt is not William Afton’s son: The movie omits the important relationship between Mike and his father, a key element in the game’s narrative.
  • Mike’s reason for working at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza: In the movie, Mike takes the security guard job to support himself and his sister, Abby, whereas, in the game lore, he actively seeks to halt his father’s murderous actions.
  • William Afton is less prominent: Unlike in the games, where Afton is introduced as a brutal child-killer, the movie portrays him as a mild-mannered career advisor who only appears briefly and is revealed as the villain later on.

Five Nights at Freddy‘s made some important alterations in adapting the video game franchise of the same name. Five Nights at Freddy’s characters backstories and lore are notoriously convoluted, but the movie rendition depicts Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson) as the security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza restaurant, where he and his sister Abby (Piper Rubio) are soon beset by the killer animatronic mascots. With nine games and dozens of books and graphic novels to consider, it’s understandable that some changes to the video game became necessary.

The Five Nights at Freddy’s movie has proven itself an incredibly faithful adaptation of the video game franchise. It features many great Five Nights at Freddy’s Easter eggs and even prompted speculation of a Five Nights at Freddy’s sequel. While very accurate in many ways, the FNaF movie did make some modifications to the source material.

9 Mike Schmidt Is Not William Afton’s Son

Mike Schmidt watches the security cameras in Five Nights at Freddy's.

The biggest apparent difference between the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie and the game franchise is that Mike Schmidt is the son of the Five Nights at Freddy’s antagonist William Afton (Matthew Lillard). The Afton family plays a key role in the FNaF games, and while it bears a particularly convoluted family tree, Mike Afton’s relation to his father plays a key role in the narrative. This is seemingly omitted from the movie, or perhaps being saved for a sequel. Indeed, it is not revealed until later in Five Nights at Freddy’s games, that Mike Schmidt was merely an alias used to acquire the security guard role unrecognized.

8 Mike’s Reason For Working At Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza

Joshua Hutcherson as Mike Hugging Piper Rubio as Abby in Five Nights at Freddy's

Mike’s motivation in accepting employment at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza is also a big change in the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie. In this incarnation, Mike is driven into the security guard job because he needs money to support himself and his sister, Abby – with an additional subplot concerning a custody battle that is wholly original to the movie. In the FNaF game lore, however, Mike is actively seeking a way into Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. He gains entry using his false surname, hoping to finally halt his father’s murderous exploits.

7 William Afton Is Less Prominent

five nights at freddys william

One prominent change in Five Nights at Freddy’s is William Afton’s prominence and characterization. In the Five Nights at Freddy’s games, Afton is introduced from the beginning as a brutal child-killer. Though he does not actually appear until later games, his culpability is a consistent theme. In the movie, William Afton uses the alias Steve Raglan and appears, mostly, like a mild-mannered career advisor. It is he who offers Mike the security guard job, recognizing the surname “Schmidt” from one of his previous victims. William Afton is not even mentioned again until Five Nights at Freddy’s‘ climactic ending, which uses his identity as the villain for a dramatic revelation.

6 Five Nights At Freddy’s Changes How Mike’s Brother Dies

five nights at freddys game changes

In Five Nights at Freddy’s, Mike is tormented by his brother’s kidnapping – revealed later as Afton’s doing. In Five Nights at Freddy’s game lore, there is a character theorized to be Mike’s younger brother, who is primarily known as the Crying Child. Rather than being murdered by Afton, he is killed by a malfunctioning animatronic biting down on his head. In the FNaF games, Mike also has a younger sister (like in the movie), but she is already deceased and haunting an animatronic named Circus Baby. In fact, Abby is nearly thrown into the Circus Baby animatronic during the climax of the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie.

5 Vanessa’s Introduction And Backstory

five nights at freddys vanessa

Vanessa plays a very different role in the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie than the character in the game franchise. The FNaF games introduced Vanessa as a security guard in Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach, who has no connection to William Afton whatsoever – though she is later corrupted by his ghost. In the movie version, Vanessa is William Afton’s daughter – who now works as a police officer. The movie’s climax reveals she was embroiled in his scheme out of a sense of familial, but eventually repents and attempts to stop him. Vanessa remains the only confirmed relative of William Afton in the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie.

4 Answerphone Messages Became A Phone Call

Steve Raglan / William Afton on the phone in the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie

One fun update of a Five Nights at Freddy’s game element is the adaption of the answerphone messages. In the first FNaF games, answerphone messages explain the restaurant’s history, slowly revealing the murders and William Afton’s crimes at the start of each day. For the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie, they changed this to a singular phone conversation, that is intercut with Mike’s first arrival at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. Though the phone call divulges far less, this difference feels like a necessary update – and it is incredibly foreboding as it is delivered by Afton himself.

3 There Are Other People Inside Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza

Abby and Freddy stand outside Freddy Fazbear's Pizza in Five Nights at Freddy's.

Another big departure from the Five Nights at Freddy’s games is the presence of other characters in the restaurant. Throughout the games, the player is the only living human present in Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, fostering tension-building isolation. In the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie, Mike is joined by Abby and Vanessa for the majority of the narrative, which undermines the tension somewhat. Other additional characters also appear on the premises, which is quite a startling difference from the early FNaF games – which are often characterized by stark seclusion.

2 The Animatronics’ Eyes Glow Red Instead Of White

Freddy glares with glowing red eyes while Bonnie and Abby stand behind him.

In the Five Nights at Freddy’s game, the murderous animatronics are depicted as having creepy white glowing eyes. They are a consistent feature across each of the video game installments and became a point of contention in the movie’s character design. For the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie, the animatronics’ eyes fade gradually from white to red. The change is arguably an improvement, however, as the association with red-eyed killer robots is firmly established in popular culture, meaning that red eyes can quickly convey murderous intent and heighten the movie’s tension.

1 One Scene Makes The Changes The Animatronics’ Threat

five nights at freddy's animatronic

One change that does hinder the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie, however, is the way the animatronics are briefly treated as benevolent, adorable creatures. The animatronics, though filled with the spirits of innocent murdered children, are ultimately evil killer robots. The scene depicting Mike and Abby building a fort with the animatronics completely undermines any sense of terror they might conjure. This arguably might be setting up the final conflict, or perhaps it is a brief moment of reverence for the iconic horror villains which reframes them as cute antiheroes. Either way, it severely sabotages their scares – which were an essential feature of the Five Nights at Freddy’s games.