Hello Neighbor is a game about sneaking into your neighbor's house to figure out what horrible secrets he's hiding in his basement. You play as Nicky Roth, a young boy who is trying to find out the secrets of his neighbor. Nicky goes through suspicion, abduction, trauma, and acceptance during this game, all because of Mr. Peterson.
At the heart of Hello Neighbor lies a carefully constructed layer-cake of social horror and family-friendly fare. There is a clear dichotomy between these two genres, but the narrative walks the line by burying its secrets along with its trauma…sometimes quite literally.
Hello Neighbor approaches horror in a more delicate way, doing away with the straight in-your-face classic horror aspects of the grown-up world. It works with more subtle things; creepy neighbors that you cannot trust, mysterious things that go bump in the night, a rural town with a secret, and the feeling of unease when you may be just about to uncover a skeleton in somebody’s closet.
The Nightmare Sequences (Pre-Act 1)
A year before the events of the game, Theodore and Diane Peterson got into a car collision, resulting in the death of Diane, who flat-lined in the hospital. The theme park ride nightmare shows that the daughter, Mya (represented by a cardboard cutout) fell from a great height (symbolized as a roller coaster drop), and that she was buried in a yard by Mr. Peterson.
Nicky Roth, a young teenager, is walking home when he notices his neighbor, Theodore Peterson, attacking someone who is screaming. Nicky knows he has to get inside the house to save the victim, but the Neighbor is an obstacle.
After getting in the basement, Nicky is locked in and cannot exit, and starts to regret entering. He is down there for two months, along with the victim, Aaron Peterson. Aaron was the one who pushed his sister off a roof.
Nicky is traumatized from his time in the basement, and once Aaron saves him from his cell room, Nicky knows he has to get out, and he has to do it without being caught again.
His mind has been distorted by fears, as the house is seemingly expanded, but in reality nothing has changed. Nicky visualizes house extensions, prison walls, and stuff trying to keep him in so that he can face Mr. Peterson. Once Nicky escapes, Mr. Peterson tries to go after him, but realizes keeping his son in the basement is more important. He gives Nicky one last angry look as he goes back to his house.
After nineteen years, Nicky has moved outside Raven Brooks to live in a messy apartment by himself, with little space and no proper bedroom. He hasn't paid rent either, so we can assume Nicky is very low on money. Once Nicky gets evicted due to non-payment and realizes he must leave the apartment within a week, he packs his things and gets out, knowing there's still one place he can live, even if he doesn't want to go back. His old house.
Once Nicky parks his car in the yard of his old house, he tries to shrug off weird feelings he has, but can't escape the trauma. The memories of his time here are coming back to haunt him, and he can't live his life normally if he doesn't do something about it. He tries giving himself therapy by taking a nap and ending up in a lucid non-dream, where he's in control of a world developed by his fears. The giant house he faces is a representation what he needs to overcome so that he can leave all this behind forever. Once he overcomes the obstacles blocking his way into the basement, he ends up somewhere he did not expect.
Nicky is in a white void, with a giant Mr. Peterson, symbolizing the last obstacle he needs to face, Mr. Peterson's wrath itself. He makes his way into the house on his back after taking him down, and uses the next room to block his fears of Peterson from his child self, making him stronger and bigger in the process.
Once the house clears, all that's left is a void and Mr. Peterson, who is locked in a small room with his fears. Nicky overcame his issues, but Peterson could never get over his, and has to live with it.
Hello Neighbor 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 LLC to publish the game. The first Pre-Alpha version of the game was released on September 29th, 2016. The Alpha 1 version of Hello Neighbor was released on October 26th, 2016. Alpha 2 was released on November 22nd, 2016. Alpha 3 was released on December 22nd, 2016. Alpha 4 was released on May 4th, 2017.
The game went into the beta phase on July 25th, 2017. For Halloween 2017, a crossover version called Hello Bendy, 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 August 29th, 2017, but was delayed until December 8th, 2017.
The game was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One on December 8th, 2017. A timed Microsoft exclusive, Hello Neighbor was later ported to the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and mobile devices. The mobile versions of Hello Neighbor 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.
- Alpha 2 is considered by developers as the training version, and would form the basis of a tutorial in the full game, which became Act 1.
- In Alpha 3 - 4, Beta 1 - 2 - 3 and Act 3 of the full game, the Neighbor's house and the entire game map share many similarities.
- In Beta 1 - 3 and Act 3 of the full game, the basement door is supported by a chair.
- Before the full game, Nicky was the Neighbor's son in the story. The developers changed the story between Beta 3 and full release.
- In Pre-Alpha and in Alpha 1, the player’s home is almost the exact same.
- The game underwent a complete art style change during its development, going from realistic and dark to cartoonish and colorful.
- Many objects were removed from the game during the course of its development. In later versions of the game, some cut objects were remodeled to match the final art style and returned as decorations, or even portable objects.
- Pre-Alpha and Alpha 1 are the only versions in which there is no basement.
- In Pre-Alpha, if you press Z or C when the Neighbor catches you, you will appear at the place where Neighbor caught you.
- Hello Neighbor received the title of "The best game in single-player mode."