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Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 is a horror game from franchise creator Scott Cawthon. The game thrusts you into a horror attraction 30 years after the events of FNAF 1. Long story short, FNAF 3 takes place in 2023.
Read on to learn more about how I came to this conclusion!
Why Does FNAF 3 Take Place In 2023?
To answer this question, we have to start with FNAF 1. The first FNAF video game doesn’t reveal its full date (only the day and month). However, the game offers a few significant clues to help us learn the year.
First Clue: The Paycheck Amount
Finish FNAF 1 by surviving the five nights to receive a paycheck for $120.50. This payment is far lower than today’s minimum wage for a week’s job as an American security guard. However, the salary makes sense if you place it in the 1990s: specifically, around 1993.
The minimum wage ranged between $4 and $4.25 an hour. Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza offered $120 for a week’s wages to work from 12 am to 6 am, matching the period’s pay.
Second Clue: The Bite of 87
If you’ve played FNAF 1, you’re familiar with Phone Guy–he’s the guy who calls when you start your shift and offers tips to survive the night. He references the Bite of 87 in one phone call–an incident where an animatronic bit an unknown person, and they lost their frontal lobe, but still survived.
By referencing the Bite of 87 as the reason why the animatronics roam the pizzeria at night, we learn that the date is after 1987. Some fans believe FNAF 1 occurred in 1987, shortly after the Bite of 87. However, I disagree.
The minimum wage in 1987 was $3.35, so Mike Schmidt would have earned $100 for his week-long work. The minimum wage didn’t change until 1990, so this also negates 1988 and 1989.
Third Clue: Items Inside The Office
The FNAF 1 Office is full of items that would look out of place in a modern setting. After all, some people don’t even know how a 90s TV looked–or how these TVs often displayed static. Everything in the Office has that retro vibe, from the cables to the table fan. Additionally, the corded telephone with an answering machine is a 90s relic.
Fourth Clue: Faz Facts
Faz Facts are unused texts in FNAF AR: Special Delivery. They reveal additional FNAF lore, and since they are part of the game code–though you won’t see them in-game–I consider them canon.
Here’s one relevant Faz Fact: “In 1993, the most dangerous profession in the United States was actually night security guard.” In real life, a logger was the most dangerous profession at the time, with 142 out of 100,000 deaths.
Since the Faz Facts are factually wrong in this instance, they likely allude to FNAF 1. Being a night security guard in the FNAF world is probably the country’s most dangerous profession because of the immense danger they are in: animatronics constantly try to kill them.
Additionally, since the Faz Fact states 1993 and not another year, the Fact probably refers to FNAF 1–the only FNAF game occurring in the early 90s. After all, this is the year the restaurant reopened and hired Mike Schmidt as the night security guard–and he had to fend off animatronics every night he worked.
When Do The Other Games Take Place?
FNAF 2’s events occured in 1987. We know this as the player character, Jeremy Fitzgerald, receives a paycheck. The date on the check is 11-12-1987, confirming that the game happened in 1987. Jeremy also earns a $100 salary, reflecting the minimum wage of the late 80s.
The Bite of 87 occurred at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza at the same year, so I suspect Jeremy is the bite victim.
FNAF 4 takes place in 1983. In the Night 3 minigame, go home and switch on the TV. A TV show will run with a 1983 copyright date. We also know that, similar to the Bite of 87, the Bite of 83 happened in 1983 at Fredbear’s Family Diner.
FNAF: Sister Location
We don’t officially know when Sister Location takes place. However, we know it happens between 1983 and 1987. My theory is Sister Location occurred in 1987.
When the game begins, HandUnit explains that Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza closed down–an event which happened in 1987 after the Bite of 87. William Afton opened the Sister Location, Circus Baby’s Pizza World, to fill the gap.
Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria Simulator
Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria Simulator is another game with a mysterious date. However, my theory is the game takes place in 2023.
We learn in Pizzeria Simulator that Henry Emily is Cassette Man. He has a secret audio file labeled “HRY223,” which many fans have speculated stands for “Henry 2023.” 2023 makes sense since Pizzeria Simulator happens after the events of FNAF 3, which occurred in the same year.
Ultimate Custom Night
In Pizzeria Simulator, the main villain William Afton burns in the building with the animatronics his victims possessed. However, Afton’s soul isn’t free. Ultimate Custom Night shows us that he’s now in a purgatory where Cassidy torments him through the animatronics.
Since UCN occurs in another plane of existence, I place it in 2023: immediately after the events of Pizzeria Simulator.
We also don’t know when Help Wanted occurs. However, I suspect it takes place a year or two after Pizzeria Simulator–so 2024 or 2025. After William Afton burned down with the animatronics, Fazbear Entertainment worked on a Virtual Reality video game to cover up all of the horrors that had happened at previous Freddy’s establishments. That sets up the events in Help Wanted.
Security Breach also doesn’t have a clear date. However, I suspect it occurs after 2024. The game occurs after Pizzeria Simulator and Help Wanted–as William Afton returns as Burntrap.
Question: When Does FNAF 3 Take Place?
Answer: FNAF 3 takes place in 2023. The game is set 30 years after FNAF 1, whose events occurred in 1993.
Question: Does FNAF 3 Take Place After Sister Location?
Answer: Yes. FNAF 3’s events occur in 2023, while Sister Location takes place in 1987.
Question: What Building Does FNAF 3 Take Place In?
Answer: 30 years after Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza burned down, Fazbear’s Fright: The Horror Attraction opened. This is the game’s setting.
When Does FNAF 3 Take Place: Conclusion
FNAF 3 takes place in 2023, 30 years after FNAF 1. The FNAF timeline is confusing if you play the games chronologically. However, I recommend reading our guide on the FNAF timeline to clarify things. I also recommend playing the games in order of timeline to better understand–and appreciate–the lore.