Jumpscares are a major mechanic in Five Nights at Freddy's 3. They take the place of Deaths, as only one of these events actually causes a Game Over. The rest only impede the player's progress and distract them from the real threat. Every jumpscare in the game can also be viewed in the Extra menu, unlocked after beating Nightmare.
Springtrap's jumpscares are the only true deaths the player can experience in the game, as he is the only true animatronic wandering Fazbear's Fright. While all of the other animatronics appear as Phantoms and only impair the player's vision or cause their Maintenance Panel to malfunction, being attacked by Springtrap actually gives the player a Game Over. Both of Springtrap's jumpscares consist of him lowering his arm before walking up to the player, with a few minor differences, the most notable being the movement of his ears and mouth during his jumpscare from the right side of The Office, while both stay still in his jumpscare from the left side of The Office.
Usually, Springtrap will enter The Office from the door on the left and will attack when the Maintenance Panel is lowered. However, if Springtrap has entered The Office while the Monitor is pulled up, he will move to attack from the right. He will also attack from the right if he enters The Office via the vents that are connected to the right side of the room.
It should be noted that unlike the previous two games, when the player is killed, the death screen simply shows text saying Game Over, instead of showing an image of the protagonist after being stuffed into a Freddy Fazbear suit, possibly implying that Springtrap may have outright killed the player without stuffing them into a suit.
When Springtrap jumpscares the player on the right side of The Office on the mobile version, the texture is the same on the left side of The Office. The reason for this change is unknown, but is speculated to be because of the limitations of a mobile device.
Phantom Freddy can sometimes be seen limping outside the office window. If the Monitor or Maintenance Panel is left down for too long, Phantom Freddy will suddenly drop to the floor, out of sight. After a few moments, Phantom Freddy will jumpscare the player, causing a ventilation error. In his jumpscare, Phantom Freddy will pop up in front of the player's face. This resembles Chica's jumpscare from Five Nights at Freddy's 2, as well as a slower version of Toy Freddy's jumpscare. Unlike these two jumpscares, however, after jumping in front of the player's face, Phantom Freddy's face moves about half a foot forward, and he lingers there for the rest of the jumpscare.
Phantom BBPhantom BB can randomly appear on any camera with his face taking up most of the screen. If the player does not either switch cameras fast enough, or close the Monitor fast enough, Phantom BB will appear in The Office and stare at the player for a second or two, before lunging at the player with his mouth stretched wide open. He will also attack if stared at for too long. On later nights, this happens extremely quickly and can be hard to avoid.
Phantom ChicaPhantom Chica's face can appear on the screen of the arcade cabinet in CAM 07. Once this is seen and the player closes the Monitor, she will appear on the left side of The Office, followed by her stepping ominously toward the player before fading away. The player must pan their view to the left to trigger this jumpscare, however. In the mobile version, once the player sees her face on the arcade machine, the screen will automatically pan over to the jumpscare, giving a very small window of time for the player to escape it on later nights.
Phantom FoxyPhantom Foxy will occasionally appear in The Office on the left side, making it hazardous to check the Maintenance Panel. To see him, the player must pull up the Camera System and then turn towards the left side of The Office. He will jumpscare the player in a similar fashion to Foxy's lunge in the second game, before fading away if the player makes eye contact with him. Unlike Foxy's jumpscare, however, he is seen doing the initiating jump, jumps from a different angle, irregularly curves to the left, and the jumpscare ends showing the top of his jaw rather than the interior of the jaw.
Phantom Mangle can occasionally be seen hanging from the ceiling on CAM 04. If the player fails to switch to another camera before closing the Monitor, Phantom Mangle will appear outside The Office window and make loud, garbled radio static noises while also causing an audio system error. While it doesn't have a jumpscare in the traditional sense, the sudden loud noise can be as startling to the player as any other jumpscare.
On occasion, Phantom Puppet can be seen standing in the hall on CAM 08, though its model in the camera feed resembles the original Puppet from the second game. If the player does not switch cameras before lowering the Monitor, Phantom Puppet will appear in The Office, right up in the player's face for roughly 18 seconds. While it is there, the player cannot access the Monitor or the Maintenance Panel until it leaves, making the player vulnerable to Springtrap and the other phantom animatronics. Although it does not actually have a true jumpscare, it emits a loud, static-like noise when entering The Office, which could possibly startle an unsuspecting player (similar to Phantom Mangle).
- The phantom animatronics' jumpscares were the only jumpscares in the series that don't cause a game over. This has since been changed with the release of the fourth title where, in it, Foxy (and, in the Halloween edition, Mangle) can jumpscare the player without ending their night.
- Along with BB from the second game, Phantom Mangle and Phantom Puppet are the only antagonists that don't have a jumpscare, but can still negatively affect the player's chances of survival.
- While lacking the jumpscare, Phantom Mangle and Phantom Puppet are the only two phantoms not to cause the screen to end with flashing white.
- All phantom animatronic jumpscares end in the screen flashing white.
- On some nights, it is possible for a phantom animatronic to immediately jumpscare the player right after they start the night.
- Although many phantom animatronics can be around The Office at the same time, their jumpscares can only take place one at a time.
- Rarely, on the mobile version, Phantom Chica and Phantom Freddy are able to kill the player.
- However, this may be due to Springtrap jumpscaring the player in sync with Phantom Chica, as their similar placement during their jumpscares may lead to Springtrap being positioned behind Phantom Chica.
Jumpscares make a return in Five Nights at Freddy's 4. Unlike the previous games, the only way to protect the player from the Nightmare animatronics is by using the Flashlight and closing the Doors. The player must also listen very closely for breathing when at the doors. Unlike in the previous game, all jumpscares in the fourth game result in a Game Over (with the exception of Plushtrap and Nightmare BB), and upon losing the game, the Game Over screen displays a red, bloody screen.
Nightmare Freddy does not actually appear in his real form until his jumpscare occurs. Instead, he appears via three miniature Freddies. The player must constantly check the Bed in order to fend off Nightmare Freddy. Failure to do so will result in one of two scenarios occurring:
- If the player has not checked the bed for a long period of time, Nightmare Freddy will attack directly from the Bedroom with his arms outstretched.
- If the player goes a while without checking the bed, only to check it later, Nightmare Freddy may appear on the bed and proceed with his jumpscare. He appears to be picking the player up.
Nightmare Bonnie, Nightmare Chica, and their Jack-o-Versions
Nightmare Bonnie and Nightmare Chica are incredibly active and obey very similar rules. Nightmare Bonnie approaches exclusively from the Left Hall while Nightmare Chica approaches from the Right Hall, similarly to their original counterparts in the first game and the corresponding vents in the second game.
When Nightmare Bonnie or Chica are revealed at the doors (via their breathing), the player must close the door, as doing so will ward off either animatronic. Failure to do so will result in one of the following scenarios:
- If the player uses the flashlight while either of them are at their respective doors, it will result in a jumpscare from the door.
- If the player merely leaves the door, it will result in Nightmare Bonnie or Nightmare Chica's Cupcake jumpscaring the player from inside the Bedroom.
Additionally, closing the door when they are down the hall will also result in one of the following scenarios:
- If the player opens the door and uses the flashlight, it will result in a jumpscare.
- If the player leaves the door, it will also result in a jumpscare from inside the Bedroom.
As such, the player is advised to check the doors often and listen closely, as failure to do so will often result in death.
Nightmare Foxy and Nightmare Mangle
Nightmare Foxy will start his night by appearing in either hall. Afterward, he will appear in the Closet. The player must check for Nightmare Foxy quite often after this occurs, as he tends to move at a faster pace than the other animatronics. Unlike Nightmare Freddy, Bonnie, and Chica, Nightmare Foxy only has one jumpscare, that being from the bedroom, similarly to the jumpscare of Nightmare Fredbear - however, when he is in his final stage, Nightmare Foxy will loudly snarl at the player when they shine the flashlight on him, though this will not result in a Game Over.
Nightmare Fredbear, Nightmare, and Nightmarrione
Nightmare Fredbear and Nightmare tend to appear here quite often. Unlike Nightmare Bonnie and Chica, the player does not need to take caution using the flashlight in either of the two locations. Upon seeing Nightmare Fredbear or Nightmare, the player must immediately close either door. Failure to do so will result in a jumpscare.
As some point during gameplay, the player can hear Nightmare Fredbear/Nightmare laugh. At this point, said animatronic has left the two main hallways and is in the closet or on the bed. If Nightmare Fredbear/Nightmare is in the closet, the player must immediately close the closet door. Assuming he is on the bed, the player must immediately shine their light at Nightmare Fredbear/Nightmare. Failure to do so will result in a jumpscare.
Plushtrap & Nightmare BB
As he is not part of the main gameplay, Plushtrap does not obey any in-game rules and instead behaves as a separate, outside task. In the Fun with Plushtrap minigame, the player must use their flashlight to ward off Plushtrap. Using the flashlight while Plushtrap has reached the player will result in his jumpscare, but this will not cause a Game Over. However, this will cause the minigame to end.
The sound Nightmare makes when he attacks the player.File:Distortion.ogg
- Nightmare's jumpscare is the only still image, as opposed to the animated jumpscares of the other animatronics. This is similar to Golden Freddy's jumpscare from the first game.
- Nightmare's jumpscare also appears to be the quietest jumpscare in the game, if not the whole series, as it is not nearly as loud as any of the other animatronics'.
- Strangely, the sound Nightmare Chica's Cupcake emits when jumpscaring the player is different in the Extra menu, as it uses Plushtrap's noise instead of the normal one.
- The jumpscare sound is similar to the third game's jumpscare, but is also mixed with the first game's one.
- This is the only game in the series to not show the words "Game Over" when the protagonist dies.
- It is also the only installment in the series to not include static when the protagonist dies. Instead, it includes a spatter of blood.
- This game's jumpscares use animations similar to the first game, where the entire screen animates rather than having a mere separate animation for the animatronics.
- The jumpscare sound is only played in full in the Extra menu, where it is also quieter than during gameplay.