I’m a huge sucker for FNAF content, not because of Scott Cawthon’s unique depiction of horror (I am admittedly a coward in that regard), but because of the overarching plot. Most horror games focus too much on deriving as many jumpscares as they can from their gameplay instead of keeping the player engaged with a well-written story.
FNAF, on the other hand, follows a very powerful story that spans an entire generation – quite literally. As such, its cast is very demographically diverse, with both adults and children playing important roles in the story.
The children, of course, serve mostly as unfortunate antagonists, haunting mainstream animatronics as ghosts seeking to exact vengeance on their killer. One child I find particularly interesting is Gabriel, the boy with the fan-favorite Freddy Fazbear.
Gabriel was one of the many children who frequented Fazbear’s Pizzeria in the golden days of Fazbear Entertainment. Being the company’s second restaurant after Fredbear’s Family Diner, the Pizzeria was famous amongst children for its quartet of mascots: Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy. The big four became so popular that the company’s sales from masks and merchandise skyrocketed their overall revenue.
However, Gabriel was amongst the five children who were tied to a very unfortunate fate. William Afton, the co-founder who had always suppressed his child-killing tendencies, released his desires by luring the five children to the backrooms of the Pizzeria one night.
He had brought them over under the guise of giving them a pleasant surprise – but little did they know he had a knife behind his back.
The children died miserable deaths, resenting their killer to the very end – but they were dead; what could they do about William Afton in such a state? Eventually, the Puppet came into the picture and granted these kids a second chance by reincarnating them in the animatronics they loved once. This was when Gabriel came to possess Freddy Fazbear, becoming the embodiment of horror that still scares me to this day.
While Gabriel is not explicitly shown in the games, the best human depiction I’ve seen of him is from the graphic novels. I believe that depiction can easily be extended to the games, as while the two mediums follow different timelines, such details don’t cause any inherent contradictions.
The same goes for extrapolating the physical details of the other missing children, although excluding those shown in the games, such as Micheal Afton, Elizabeth Afton, Chris Afton, and Charlotte Emily.
Jeremy is a child of dark skin and black eyes, coming off as the most caring child in his group of five friends. He has a rather quirky taste in fashion and is often seen wearing a mustard, long sleeve shirt with orange collars – I personally have never seen such a shirt in my entire life.
Regardless, albeit a little stereotypical, Gabriel stands out for his bushy brown hair amongst his group of friends, who are mostly blonde.
Then, of course, there’s Gabriel’s more common depiction in the form of Freddy Fazbear, the face of the franchise that even those who are not into the series somewhat recognize. He is a brown bear-like animatronic often seen with a black top hat and a black bowtie, genuinely trying to look like a gentleman.
With big blue eyes highlighted with thick eyebrows, Freddy’s emotionless stare is accentuated when his sockets become pitch black in his jumpscare sequences.
Another interesting detail that I have never been able to resolve regarding Freddy is the set of human handprints on his face. Although a little difficult to spot, I believe they suggest some kind of physical meddling, perhaps with an employee roughly exiting the suit after one of their daily shifts. I’ve seen this theory on the GameTheorists subreddit, and many fans seem to be on board with it.
Gabriel was a very well-behaved child who was mostly the least suspected as far as causing mischief is concerned. I imagine Gabriel to be the most humble and sensible member of his friend’s group. With compassion and humility being his most core defining traits, Gabriel played a brotherly role in his friends’ group, making sure he and his friends had a moderated level of fun.
As Freddy Fazbear, while Gabriel did retain some core aspects of his persona, it didn’t take long for him to be consumed by vengeance. During the day, Freddy would act as normal, entertaining all kinds of kids around him while staying very open to hugs or any other physical interaction. At night, however, he would let loose and show a darker and more taunting side of his personality, constantly lurking towards the night shift staff and taunting them from a distance.
Role in the Games
Given how very little is known about Gabriel’s human existence from the games and novels, Gabriel himself appears very rarely in the games but is often seen as the infamous Freddy Fazbear. I will be going over the few appearances of Gabriel himself, but if you’d like to read more about Freddy Fazbear and his many ittertions, there’s plenty of guides here at FNAF Insider!
Five Nights at Freddy’s 3
Happiest Day Minigame
The Happiest Day minigame is one of two occurrences in the entire FNAF series where Gabriel makes his ghostly appearance. Although the minigame can be accessed on any night by interacting with the Puppet poster in the Hall (CAM 03), a series of tasks need to be done beforehand in order to achieve the minigame’s canon outcome.
In the minigame, you take control of the Puppet and can move across the room in a one-dimensional plane. The room is filled with tables and chairs with children sitting on them, amongst which there is Gabriel (wearing a Freddy Mask).
Moreover, at the left end of the room, there is a crying child with a large empty table in front of them. Once again, nothing exactly takes place in the room until you collect all the cake endings of the five previous minigames.
In the event that you access the minigame after collecting all five cakes, the Cake Ending will be triggered, and a cutscene will be played showing a huge cake in front of the crying child. The child’s birthday will be celebrated by all the other kids, including Gabriel, who will gather around him for one last send-off before passing on to the afterlife, leaving their masks behind.
Purple Guy Cutscene
In FNAF 3, there are end-of-night minigames that are essentially cutscenes triggered upon the completion of each night. Oftentimes these cutscenes are lore-related and, when pieced together, form the game’s overarching plot. As such, upon beating night 5 in FNAF 3, a cutscene featuring the missing children (including Gabriel) plays.
You play as the crying child as you make your way to one of the backrooms of the Pizzeria. Here, you encounter William Afton along with the four other victims of the Missing Children’s incident, including Gabriel. As any normal person seeing not one but many ghosts at the same time, William Afton (Purple Guy) freaks out and starts pulling back, only to be chased by the ghosts of his victims.
Eventually, William gets into the Springbonnie suit lying on the floor and laughs hysterically, thinking that he is now safe from the children. However, unfortunately, it was raining at the time, with water dripping down from the ceiling, making ample contact with William’s Suit.
You probably won’t believe me at this point, but I had already predicted what was about to happen – what happens when moisture and spring locks come together? Spring lock failure! That’s exactly what occurs moments later as William is crushed in his own suit, dying a bloody death.
Ultimate Custom Night
It was no surprise to see Gabriel in Ultimate Custom Night, given that the game is meant to be the culmination of all the antagonists we have seen from FNAF 1 through 4. In that regard, Gabriel has most certainly made his mark in FNAF’s antagonist roster by taking the form of multiple Freddy Fazbear counterparts.
Gabriel grew up in the golden times of Fazbear Entertainment, witnessing the company evolve and bring out the next big thing every couple of months. It all started with Fredbear’s Family Diner, which was opened with only Fredbear and Springbonnie, the world’s first entertainment-based spring lock animatronics.
The company’s first business venture was a bombastic success, being quick to monopolize children’s entertainment in its locality and becoming every child’s go-to place for birthday parties.
With the significant influx of profit, Fazbear Entertainment founders Henry Emily and William Afton were quick to seize the opportunity by expanding their chain of restaurants, starting with Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria.
Furthermore, they made the Pizzeria’s inauguration all the more successful by introducing a new cast of mascots for the restaurant: the big four, namely Freddy Fazbear, Chica, Bonnie, and Foxy. In terms of success, both with respect to revenue and reputation, Fazbear Entertainment had officially peaked at this point.
Missing Children’s Incident
Even so, as we all know, the golden times of Fazbear Entertainment were short-lived as dark times followed, spawned by William Afton’s suppressed tendencies. Under the guise of a genius, the engineer hid a monster who reeked of bloodlust directed towards the youth, and while he had it under control for so many years, those bottled-up temptations were about to burst open.
One night, William Afton, dressed up as an employee in the Springbonnie suit, took five children at the Pizzeria by surprise by telling them he had something special planned – just for them. These children were a group of friends and went by the names Gabriel, Jeremy, Susie, Fritz, and Cassidy.
Due to how young and naive they were, they were delighted to know what the owner of the restaurant they adored had in store for them; thus, they followed him deep into the restaurant’s backrooms.
William took the children into a dark room and shut the door behind them. The children, not suspecting a single thing so far, were excited in anticipation – however, what William had behind his back was a knife.
He let out an evil grin that he had shown no child to this day before he proceeded to stab each and every child to death. He had always held back his child-killing tendencies, but tainting his hands in blood sent a rush of euphoria down his spine; a monster had been born.
Once William returned to his senses, he was quick to grasp the situation he was in. He had murdered five children who were not going home that night; their parents would be quick on the uptake and file a missing report immediately, bringing the police to the Pizzeria. He had more than ample time to dispose of the evidence and get off scot-free – but how exactly did he cover his tracks?
William’s intellect did not hesitate to suggest stuffing the corpses into the animatronics, who happened to be just about the right size – that’s exactly what the murderer did. The worst part is that the man could not care less about the animatronics, as many customers over the following days filed complaints of the animatronics smelling foul with traces of mucus and blood oozing out. Thus, Fazbear Entertainment’s reputation began to tank some serious damage.
Furthermore, in a few days, when the police inevitably got involved and began investigating the restaurant, they could not locate the children’s bodies.
After all, they were ignorant to how spring-lock suits worked and didn’t even conceive the idea of a murderer stuffing bodies into them just to cover their tracks. As such, although William Afton was labeled the prime suspect, tangible evidence was not recovered against him – hence, the man did, in fact, end up getting away with murder as the case was closed and called the “Missing Children’s Incident.”
Reincarnation as Freddy Fazbear
Gabriel had died just like that – his life, which he envisioned to enjoy to the fullest, had ended in a flash. He was tricked, deceived, and ultimately murdered by the man whose inventions he loved so much; what did he ever do to deserve this?
Frustrated, angry, and vengeful, Gabriel’s soul refused to rest and move on until justice had been delivered to the man who stole his youth. But what could he do? He was just a ghost, a soul incapable of interacting with the real world.
His second chance, however, came around soon as William Afton continued to claim more lives afterward. One such child was Charlotte Emily, a girl who ended up making contact with an animatronic upon death, somehow fusing her soul with its core and experiencing reincarnation. With her own murder fresh in mind, Charlotte was able to infer that William Afton, too, was responsible for the Missing Children’s Incident.
As such, to fuel her own desire for revenge, Charlotte ended up reincarnating the children murdered by William to further her purpose. Jeremy was reincarnated as Bonnie, Susie as Chica, Fritz as Foxy, Cassidy as Golden Freddy, and Gabriel as Freddy Fazbear.
Together, the five children remained in the establishment, entertaining children during the day and lurking on the premises during the night. They always approached the adult night staff, suspecting William to be one of them.
William’s First Death
William Afton, of course, was unaware of such a supernatural force that had emerged just to rip to shreds. In the meantime, he was operating his standalone business known as Circus Baby Entertainment and Rentals and plotting his next move to sabotage Henry Emily’s company.
His next move was going to be nothing out of the box – it would be another one of those killing sprees where he infiltrated a Fazbear establishment in a Springbonnie suit and lured children to the back. As a result, more children would go missing, which would mean more problems for Henry.
This time, however, his plan wasn’t going to pan out so easily, as is depicted from the end-of-minigame cutscene following night 5 in FNAF 3.
While William could bypass Henry’s security system and infiltrate the dining, he was completely off guard when he reached the backrooms of the premises. Upon entering what I think was the same room where he murdered the five missing children, William was cornered by their very ghosts.
Terrified by the supernatural phenomenon he was experiencing, William shuddered back to put some distance between him and the ghosts, hoping to seize an opportunity to escape. However, the children, including Gabriel, were intelligent enough to block his exit and confine him to the far right corner of the room. As a last resort, William jumped into his Springbonnie suit, feeling protected from the ghosts who had then stopped approaching him.
The reason the ghosts stayed back wasn’t out of fear of their murderer – the stage for his death had already been set. It was raining that night, and the water was seeping through the room’s ceiling, dripping on William’s suit without him realizing it.
Had he realized, he would’ve instantly known what happens when spring-lock mechanisms come in contact with moisture – spring lock failure.
Reincarnation as Springtrap
The spring-lock failure caused the Springbonnie suit to collapse, forcing its insides shut, causing them to crush the person inside – William Afton. As is seen in the aforementioned minigame, William had erupted in blood and fell to the floor, completely immobile and bleeding out. The genius usually never made miscalculations, yet the first one he made cost him his own life.
The ghosts and Gabriel departed, leaving it up to someone else to clean the bloody mess. As such, William remained there the entire night, bleeding out and in immense pain, only to be discovered by Henry the next day. As William pleaded for help, Henry looked down on the murderer in disappointment, eventually turning away and closing the room behind him forever.
As expected, William Afton died of blood loss, but his will to stay alive was so strong that it had not kept him alive for so many hours on end but also manifested in the form of reincarnation. Thinking he was dead, William suddenly reawakened, not as the man inside the Springbonnie suit, but the Springbonnie suit itself, which then became known as Springtrap.
Even though William had come back to life, he was still trapped in the backrooms of the establishment. In fact, Henry had gone ahead and built additional infrastructure on top of the backrooms, unintentionally imprisoning William for years to come.
However, after a great deal of patience, William was about to get his second chance as the establishment closed down, and years down the line, a bunch of Fazbear enthusiasts came around to scavenge the old building.
They were able to discover Springtrap, which they greatly valued as a relic of the past, given how animatronics had moved way past dangerous spring-lock mechanisms at the time. With an ancient, functioning animatronic in their possession, the enthusiasts decided to open up Fazbear Frights, a horror attraction just for William.
William’s Second Death
William’s first reincarnation, as we all know, was short-lived. Much had happened since his death and imprisonment, notably how his son Micheal Afton had become a walking zombie hellbent on finding him. As such, word of the opening of Fazbear Frights spread quickly, especially how it featured an old, functioning animatronic. Suspecting it may be an invention of his father, Micheal went to investigate.
While Micheal had hoped to find clues hinting toward his father’s whereabouts, he was genuinely surprised to directly find the man himself.
Seeing the disgusting abomination his murderer of a father had become, Micheal devised a swift plan to take care of him – ultimately, he ended up setting the establishment ablaze, cutting off any possible exits before making a heroic retreat.
It was said that William perished in the flame at Fazbear Frights, and those who were closely monitoring the newly reincarnated menace caught a whiff of this, particularly the ghost children. Gabriel, in particular, was delighted by this news, and the children collectively rejoiced in the expulsion of the devil. This is depicted in the Happiest Day minigame, where the children are seen celebrating their victory.
As far as the huge cake goes, I’m personally led to believe that the children were celebrating a birthday party. My working theory is that one of Gabriel’s friends had their birthday on the day the Missing Children’s Incident occurred, which was unfortunately cut short due to William’s intervention.
As such, before moving onto the afterlife and finding peace, the children were finishing up that same birthday party after so many years – I find that to be a very plausible and rather beautiful interpretation.
Gabriel FNAF Guide: FAQs
Question: How did Gabriel possess Freddy?
Answer: All possessions in FNAF are best explained with the Remnant theory, which suggests that the animatronics had a metallic substance known as Remnant inside of them. This material, capable of binding souls to inanimate objects, bound Gabriel’s soul to Freddy when he was stuffed inside it following his murder, resulting in supernatural possession.
Question: How old is Gabriel?
Answer: There is much debate on Gabriel’s age at the time of death, but the majority of theorists, including myself, believe he was 10 years old and the oldest amongst the five missing children.
Question: Did William Afton Survive the Fire?
Answer: William Afton did, in fact, survive the fire at Fazbear Frights. How exactly? It is theorized that William was able to figure out the escape route Micheal himself used to get out of the building. Thus, he was able to leave without getting exorcised, though his body was in very rough shape, earning the name of Scraptrap.