Xbox One, PC
Release Date:December 8, 2017
Hello Neighbor is an indy Stealth Horror game created by Dynamic Pixels and published by Tinybuild. Originally released as an alpha build on Dynamic Pixels’ website before launching on Steam Greenlight, the game quickly gained the attention of the larger gaming media and Youtube influencers, which helped lead into a largely unsuccessful Kickstarter. Publisher Tinybuild would pick them up based on the Kickstarter’s attention, and their funding allowed the team to continue development.
In the game, the player moves into a house across the street from a mysterious, nameless neighbour who is hiding a terrible secret in his basement. The player’s job is to search the home of the neighbour without being caught and discover his secret. Where Hello Neighbor stands out is the advanced AI of the neighbor, who learns from the players past behaviours and modifies to prevent those actions from being as useful. The neighbor will learn hiding spots, favourite tactics and set traps on paths the player previously used. The player must thus change up their approach to avoid the attentive neighbour, use items to their advantage to break away from a pursuit and learn to outsmart the AI over time.
The game has gained a relatively positive reception over the course of development through Youtube influencers like Markiplier, JackSepticeye and Captainsauce before the game even released. Following a delay to correct for bugs, Hello Neighbor is set to launch on Xbox One and PC on December 8th, 2017.
While the earliest details on Hello Neighbor and the developers at Dynamic Pixels aren’t widely avalible, the game originally launched on their website with an alpha build, and a trailer, showing off a little bit about what the game would be. The focuses on stealth horror, procedural AI, and tense gameplay were a part of the project from the beginning, as well as its Pixar inspired art style.
The team quickly took their early build and trailer to Kickstarter on October 12th, 2015, after the game was successful in the Steam Greenlight Program that June. Dynamic Pixels was asking for a $100,000 goal to continue development, and flesh out the project. While the team did not get funded completely through Kickstarter, managing only $12,000, they took the experience to heart and continued to work on the game with the feedback received through the campaign.
Though they did not secure their own funding through Kickstarter, Hello Neighbor was picked up by publisher Tinybuild, popular for other titles like SpeedRunners and Punch Club, to continue development. Much like Tinybuild’s previous titles, Hello Neighbor used an open development methodology to help guide the game to completion, as such there is a fleshed out timeline on how the game would grow.
The first pre-Alpha version was very barebones, showing off more a proof of concept than a full game. The player begins in his own home, and is directed towards a glowing basement door in his neighbor’s home. Before the player enters he is caught, send back to his house and the neighbor boards the door to the basement. The home in this and several subsequent Alpha builds is quite different from what we’ve seen in more recent builds, but in this pre-alpha only the first floor is accessible. The player is challenged to find a tool to remove the boards on the basement door, a key to unlock it, and a code to the keypad.
Future revisions would change the nature of the puzzle, like losing the keypad for a keycard, adding new puzzles such as bypassing a robot shark on the second floor, the addition of a tutorial, adding a day/night cycle and the addition of abilities the player can find, such as a double jump and a one time ability to break free of the Neighbor. The Neighbor himself also gains new abilities and becomes better at his job of keeping the player from the basement, including the ability to climb ladders.
The final version for Xbox One and PC was originally scheduled to launch on August 29th, 2017. However that month, the game had to be pushed back to deal with bugs arising from an engine update that broke the AI, which is kind of a big deal in a game with the central point of outsmarting an AI.
Hello Neighbor has more of a loose premise for the gameplay than a narrative structure to follow. You move into a small, quiet village across the street from a mysterious, shifty looking neighbour who you quickly find is hiding something in his basement he is quite serious about keeping safe. Something so important that he has decided it to keep it under wraps, key-carded and boarded the door shut. It’s on you to outsmart the Neighbor, get into his basement, and discover whatever something – or someone he might be keeping in there.
The main focus of the gameplay of Hello Neighbor is sneaking around the Neighbor’s rather large home, finding the items you need to break into his basement and exposing his secret, all without being spotted by him, who will chase down and catch you, ending your run and sending you home.
But as the player is caught in different situations by the neighbor, the AI gathers what it can learn about each mistake the player makes, the actions, decisions, movements, favourite tactics, entry points and such, and adapt to counter the player’s tactics. He’ll board up smashed windows, place bear traps or cameras to catch you or alert him, block doors with chairs to keep you from rooms and more. The player can interact with almost anything you can think of in the home, and use it to their advantage, though loud noises generated by smashing a window or even turning on a TV can alert him to your position.
The neighbor himself is not invunerable. A crafty player can use items throughout the house to their advantage not only to gain access to the basement, but also to trip up the Neighbor as well, for example blinding him with Fireworks for a few moments or turning his Bear traps back on him. The player will also find different tools as they go, not all immediately useful but will progress the game when used properly or save the player from a mistake, such as the Hammer to get the boards off the door, and the Umbrella which can allow you to float from an otherwise game ending two-storey drop. The player can only hold four items at a single time, and duplicates can not be stacked, asking strategy from the player.
The game ends when you finally outsmart the Neighbor and get into his basement to discover his secret.
There aren’t a lot of key players in Hello Neighbor. The game is basically you, a fresh faced blank avatar who just moved into the sleepy little village the game is set in, against the AI. There’s not a lot known about the Neighbor. He’s shifty, doesn’t want you getting into his basement, and will go to any length to do it.
Note: This wiki will be updated once we have more information about the game.