|Developer(s)||Eerie Guest Studios|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Genre(s)||Stealth, survival horror|
Hello Neighbor is a survival horror stealth game developed by Russian video game studio Dynamic Pixels and published by TinyBuild. The goal of the game is to successfully sneak into the basement of the neighbor's house to uncover a secret. The game's artificial intelligence (AI) modifies the neighbor's behavior based on the player's past actions, such as setting traps along paths the player followed in a previous attempt. A sequel, Hello Neighbor 2, is scheduled for release in 2021.
In Hello Neighbor, the player finds themselves moving into a new house across the street from a mysterious neighbor who is behaving in a paranoid manner and seems to be keeping a secret in his basement. The player's task is to break into the neighbor's home and solve a series of puzzles in order to gather the items needed to unlock and access his basement. As the player explores the neighbor's house, they must not be spotted by the mysterious neighbor, or they will be chased down, and if the player is not quick enough to hide or escape, they will be captured. The player can stun the neighbor by throwing objects at him for an easier escape. If the player is caught (or suffers a serious injury), they will be sent back to their own house and will have to break in again. Upon starting again, the player must be more careful, as the neighbor will deduce movements from the last attempt to set up traps. However, the player can use the game settings to turn on "friendly" neighbor mode, preventing the neighbor from setting these traps and causing him to be less aggressive in his pursuits. However, he is still to be avoided at all costs.
The game is divided into four parts: Act 1, Act 2, Act 3, and Act Finale. The game is played in a first-person perspective, and the player must aim a reticle at certain objects to interact with them or to throw or use a currently held item (for example, throwing a ball at a window or aiming a crowbar at nails to remove them). Up to four items can be kept in an inventory space. Items of the same kind cannot be stacked together in one slot.
A child named Nicky Roth is playing in the street when he hears a scream from his neighbor's house. Nicky goes to investigate and witnesses the neighbor apparently locking a person in his basement. Nicky sneaks into the neighbor's house, finds the key to the basement, and enters. He finds that the neighbor has converted his basement into a makeshift underground dungeon, but finds no sign of any prisoner. Nicky runs into Mr. Peterson, who is the neighbor, and is captured. Nicky wakes up, finding himself locked in the neighbor's basement dungeon. He manages to escape his cell and reach the surface, only to find that the neighbor has erected a massive fence around his property to prevent escape. Nicky is forced to solve a number of puzzles in order to find a way to escape the neighbor's property. Once he crosses the fence, he flees back to his home, though Mr. Peterson does not give chase.
Throughout both Acts 1 and 2, if Nicky is caught by Mr. Peterson before he can finish his objectives, he will have vivid nightmares about the neighbor's past. In these nightmares, it is revealed that the neighbor used to have a family consisting of a wife named Diane, a son named Aaron, and a daughter named Mya. However, the wife was killed in a car crash while Aaron killed Mya by pushing her off the roof, not knowing it would kill her, until it was too late. Mr. Peterson locks up his son in the dungeon to prevent him from getting hurt. This information was revealed in the book Hello Neighbor: Missing Pieces.
Nicky, now a grown adult, wakes up in his apartment. He is evicted from his apartment, so he decides to return to his old family home. He finds his old home in disrepair while the neighbor's home is also nothing but a pile of ruins. While inspecting the ruins, Nicky is haunted by a dark shadow-like creature and he returns to his home where he falls asleep. He is awoken by a child's scream, and he discovers the neighbor's house is back, but now larger, more complex, and more surreal than before. Nicky navigates the house and has surreal experiences, such as learning to double jump by shrinking down and trying to turn on the light that is far out of reach. Eventually, he enters the basement, now older and more surreal. When Nicky gets out of the basement, he finds himself trying to knock down a giant neighbor to get inside a house on his back. After doing so, he must protect a younger version of himself from a giant shadow man. Each time the shadow man attacks and Nicky protects the boy, Nicky grows larger until he is able to fight the shadow man. After the shadow is defeated, Nicky sees the neighbor in a small two room house. When the neighbor spots Nicky he runs aggressively to the window as if to start giving chase, but then shrugs his shoulders and turns away sad. In the other room is a much smaller shadow man. The neighbor has boarded the door up on his side and placed a chair against it. Shadow man is seen standing right by the door on the other side. Behind him is another door with an exit sign above it.
It is implied throughout the events of the game that most of Act 3 and the Finale is a nightmare occurring in Nicky's head, and that his escape from the house signifies him finally coming to terms with his kidnapping as a boy at the hands of the neighbor.
The game was released as an alpha build on Dynamic Pixels' website in 2015. It was later approved for sale as an early access game by the Steam Greenlight program and a Kickstarter campaign was launched to fund further development. The studio signed a deal with TinyBuild to publish the game. The first pre-alpha version of the game was released in September 2016. The Alpha 1 version of Hello Neighbor was released on 26 October 2016.[when?] Alpha 2 was released on 22 November 2016. Alpha 3 was released on 22 December 2016. Alpha 4 was released on 4 May 2017.
The game went into the beta phase on 25 July 2017. For Halloween 2017, a promotional mod was released including multiple elements from the indie game Bendy and the Ink Machine. The mod includes a black and yellow background, ink, music from the game and multiple appearances of Bendy. The game was originally set for a full release on 29 August 2017, but was delayed until 8 December 2017.
The game was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One on 8 December 2017. A timed Microsoft exclusive, Hello Neighbor was later ported to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and mobile devices. The mobile versions of the game are only supported on a limited number of devices and come with a free trial that allows the player to play through Act 1, with the option to unlock the remaining two Acts and finale with an in-game purchase.
Prequel and spin-offs
Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek
A prequel, Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek, was announced in August 2018. Hide & Seek deals with the events of the Neighbor's family that caused him to become a recluse. The game was released on 7 December 2018 on the same platforms as the original game, including non-Microsoft systems.
Secret Neighbor: Hello Neighbor Multiplayer Horror Game
Secret Neighbora multiplayer spin-off toHello Neighbor was announced on 10 June 2018. Set between the first two acts of Hello Neighbor, this game follows a group of friends trying to free their friend from the Neighbor's basement, each player class has a certain skillset and working together is required to get the keys needed to unlock the basement. However, one of the friends is The Neighbor in disguise and also has various class-based abilities at their disposal to confuse, trick, capture or otherwise deter the children from achieving this goal. More than a year after its announcement, the game was released on 24 October 2019, and is currently available for Xbox and PC via Steam.
Hello Neighbor 2 (formerly known as Hello Guest/Late Night Shift)
Hello Guest (Formerly referred to as Late Night Shift in early development), was announced and a demo released on 14 June, 2020. Hello Guest was later revealed to be the pre-alpha of Hello Neighbor 2 and on July 23, 2020 it was announced as the sequel to the original Hello Neighbor Game. On this same day Hello Neighbor 2 Alpha 1 was also released, with Alpha 1.5 releasing on October 26th, 2020. Currently Hello Neighbor 2 is set for release in 2021.
Hello Neighbor Animated Series: Pilot Episode
An animated series based on the game was announced and the pilot episode aired for the first time on 17 April 2020. The pilot was watched by more than 11 million viewers within the first week, which to TinyBuild’s chief executive officer Alex Nichiporchik, demonstrated the strength of Hello Neighbor as a franchise.
Hello Engineer, a multiplayer machinery-building construction game set in the Hello Neighbor universe was announced on 20 October 2020 with a gameplay reveal trailer following four days later. In Hello Engineer you scavenge and craft contraptions in the sandbox world of the abandoned Golden Apple amusement park. You’ll need to cooperate with others in order to build awesome machines from scrap, and at the same time you will have to avoid the Neighbor.
In July 2020, TinyBuild acquired the development team from Dynamic Pixels to establish a new studio by the name of Eerie Guest Studios and invested US$15 millioninto the Hello Neighbor series.
When the game was initially released on Windows, critics gave it negative reviews, admonishing its gameplay, control scheme and technical performance, while some praised the story aspects and art style. Ultimately, the game received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Metacritic gave it "generally unfavorable reviews" and gave a score of 42 out of 100, 39 out of 100 and 38 out of 100 for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC, respectively. However on Steam the game maintains a Very Positive rating.
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