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Video Game / Hello Neighbor

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You are an ordinary resident... aren't you?

"You have a neighbor living across the road. Who is he? You donít know. Why has he nailed up the basement door? Is he holding someone prisoner? Maybe a monster? Or maybe the door was just annoying? Anyway, it's not your business! At least, your Neighbor thinks so."
The game's web page

A young boy is playing on the street where two kids have recently gone missing when he hears a horrifying, panicked scream from a nearby house. Sneaking up to the window, he sees the man who lives there wrestling with something unseen and locking it up in his basement. When the man notices the kid spying on him, he promply throws him out, but the boy is now determined to find out who - or what - is in the basement and rescue them.

Thus begins Hello Neighbor, a First-Person Perspective Stealth Survival Horror game developed by DynamicPixels and published by tinyBuild about sneaking into your neighbor's house to figure out what horrible secrets he's hiding in the basement. The Neighbor's A.I. is highly advanced, and will learn from what happens in the game and adapt tactics to stop you. Really enjoying climbing through that backyard window? Expect a bear trap there. Sneaking through the front door? There'll be cameras there soon. Trying to escape? The Neighbor will find a shortcut and catch you.

The game, while originally slated for release on August 29, 2017, was eventually released on December 8 for PC and Xbox One to allow more time for QA testing. A Nintendo Switch version was released in 2018.

The game was followed by:

  • A series of Prequel novels written by Carly Anne West and published by Scholastic.
    • Hello Neighbor: Missing Pieces (2018)
    • Hello Neighbor: Waking Nightmare (2018)
    • Hello Neighbor: Buried Secrets (2019)
    • Hello Neighbor: Bad Blood (2020)
    • Hello Neighbor: Grave Mistakes (2020)
    • Hello Neighbor: Puzzle Master (2020)
    • Hello Neighbor: Reset Day (2021)
  • Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek (2018): A Prequel game called that delves into the Neighbor's backstory.
  • Secret Neighbor (2019): A multiplayer game set between Act 1 and Act 2 of the main game. Players control one of a group of children attempting to rescue their friend from the basement. However, one of them is actually the Neighbor in disguise trying to pick off the children one by one.
  • Hello Neighbor: Welcome To Raven Brooks (2022): An animated series with the pilot premiering in 2020.
  • Hello Neighbor: The Secret Neighbor Party Game (2020)
  • Hello Neighbor A Graphic Novel: The Secret of Bosco Bay (2020): A Graphic Novel written by Zac Gorman and illustrated by Chris Fenoglio.
    • Hello Neighbor A Graphic Novel: The Raven Brooks Disaster (2021)
  • Hello Engineer (2021): A multiplayer vehicle building Spin-Off.
  • Hello Neighbor 2 (formerly Hello Guest) (2022): A Sequel about a reporter investigating a series of Missing Child cases.

Hello Neighbor provides examples of the following tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes from the Alpha and Beta versions 
  • A.I. Breaker:
    • In Alpha 1, the Neighbor could be lured into your house, and his AI would promptly break, allowing you to freely explore his house.
    • Then in Alpha 4, the Neighbor was given the ability to jump over obstacles. However, since his programming doesn't account for navigations outside the "playable" area, he could be lured into the street on the right and then baited to leap further from the area.
  • Alien Geometries:
    • In the pre-Alpha, there is one room in the Neighbor's house that is locked from every door. However if you manage to go through the window you can see a dark red room where all the furniture is on the ceiling and a small rat-sized door on the corner.
    • In the Alpha, the Neighbor's house was revamped, and it becomes even weirder. For one, that train whistle you hear? There is a small trolley car on the side of his house.
  • Arc Symbol: Golden Apples.
  • Artificial Brilliance: The primary selling point in terms of gameplay — if and when you get caught the Neighbor will change things up in his house in order to prevent you getting into the basement and will actively learn from how you play the game.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: A horror game that happens to look like a Pixar movie.
  • Ascended Meme: In the first three alphas, the Golden Apple was an Urban Legend of Zelda. In Alpha 4, it's actually in the game. It's a pain in the rear to get, but once you do, you can put it in a funnel hidden to the side of the Neighbor's property to unlock a short secret cutscene. It's from the Neighbor's point of view, and features the Shadow Person.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • During one of the Nightmare Sequences in the pre-Alpha, the Neighbor turns into a giant and tries to capture you inside your bedroom.
    • At the end of Beta 3, you find a giant Neighbor in the basement, and you have to get inside the house on his back to beat him.
  • Bear Trap: The Neighbor lays these all over his house and even throws them at you in pre-Alpha 3, where he throws glue instead.
  • Biblical Motifs: The neighbor's mailbox 14:14 is a reference to the Bible, 2 Kings 14:14 and the mug in multiple screenshots has an image of a golden bull which a reference to the golden calf. The picture of the neighbor and another man is inspired by The Capture of Christ.
  • Big Bad: The Neighbor. Though the existence of the Shadow throws this into doubt.
  • Bizarrchitecture: Even on the outside, the Neighbor's home is incredibly strange, apparently cobbled together from several houses, leading to such things as odd placements of windows, doors that open onto sheer drops, random holes in the floor leading outside, and the trolley car that goes through one side of it.
  • Buried Alive:
    • The fate the protagonist receives at the end of the first trailer.
    • Again, in the ending of the first Alpha.
  • Crazy-Prepared: In all five versions currently available, the Neighbor boards up his basement door and outfits it with a keycard lock. In the pre-Alpha, Alpha 1, Alpha 3, and Alpha 4, he eventually places beartraps and motion detectors around his house as well. In the aforementioned Alphas, he'll board up his windows to prevent you from getting in through them a second time. In the pre-Alpha, in addition to boarding up his basement and using a keycard lock, he also uses a number keypad. In Alpha 1, he has a tiny robotic shark to attack intruders. In the second alpha, he boards up the room with the keycard in it and locks up the room with the crowbar and carries the key on him at all times. In the fourth alpha, he keeps the keycard frozen in a block of ice in the fridge, so even if someone were to find it, they would have to melt the ice to retrieve it, with the generator to the fridge being at the top floor of his house. He also keeps the crowbar in a room attached to a pair of electrical cables, so even if someone found it, they couldn't pick it up with their bare hands while it was still hot.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Whatever his dark secrets, your Neighbor starts out as an ordinary-looking man trying to keep up a façade of ordinary-looking life, and even treats his invading neighbors with ordinary mercy. As you blatantly invade his privacy, steal his stuff, wreck his belongings, and refuse to take a hint at the fact that this is highly illegal, he grows more and more unhinged in his attempts to keep you out. To be fair though, he likely wasn't a normal person to begin with, and if he didn't have something strange or illegal to hide, he could've simply called the police.
  • Creepy Basement: The goal of the game is to reach your Neighbor's basement. What's in there isn't revealed, but he's probably not protecting it with a lock, keycard, and boards without reason.
  • Creepy Circus Music: A few of the tracks fit this, most notably the song that plays when you access the basement in Alpha 2.
  • Curiosity Killed the Cast: Can quite easily happen to you if you get caught by the Neighbor.
  • Dangerous Windows: The Neighbor can throw bear traps (in previous alphas) and other objects through windows to catch the player.
  • Dark Secret: The main driving point of the plot is to see what your Neighbor is hiding in his basement.
  • Developer's Foresight: You'll be surprised on just how smart the Neighbor's A.I. is.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The title Hello Neighbor is obvious, in that it's a game literally about rummaging through your neighbor's house. However, the current logo replaces the "o" in "Hello" with a keyhole. This can make it look like the title of the game is "Hell Neighbor," which can be interpreted as a reference to the Neighbor's implied dealings with a Humanoid Abomination.
  • Downer Ending: In Alpha 1, once you unlock the basement door, the Neighbor knocks you out. Eventually, the protagonist wakes up and finds out that he's been Buried Alive.
  • Eldritch Location: The Neighbor's house, which becomes even more twisted and nonsensical with every update. As of Alpha 4, making it far enough into the house reveals rooms leading to nowhere, a fully-operating train supported by nothing, winding hallways, and all sorts of additional physics-defying hazards.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: One of the photos in the Neighbor's house depicts himself kissing another person. Since the game has a circus theme by its soundtrack and design, it might be the Neighbor's wife, a Bearded Lady with Birds of a Feather. It also can be the Neighbor's brother or even his lover.
  • Falling Damage: In the fourth alpha, falling from too high up will send you back to your front lawn.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Happens a couple times.
    • In the first two alphas, the Neighbor will sometimes enter your house. While this would severely freak out players, it was also an A.I. Breaker, and the Neighbor wouldn't move away once he was there, meaning you got free reign of his house.
    • In Alpha 3, the Neighbor will occasionally get stuck in walls, to the same effect- he can't chase you, so you can do whatever you want.
    • In Alpha 4, the Neighbor can now jump over static scenery and if you're too high up for him to normally run forward and catch you. However, luring him to the street on the right out of the playable area makes him try to jump after you. He can be lured towards the fences and not be able to return to his house unless he chases you and jumps back into the "playable" area.
  • The Generic Guy: When he isn't trying to catch you, the Neighbor is performing some normal housekeeping task such as dishwashing, gardening or minding his own business by drinking milk, watching TV, taking a nap, etc..
  • Genius Bruiser: While he's a Top-Heavy Guy, the Neighbor is quite strong and fast enough to chase you around his own house. He's also smart enough to place cameras, motion detectors, bear traps and other household items to make sure that you can't get into his basement.
  • Guide Dang It!: Getting the hidden cutscene in Alpha 4. You have to first find a seed hidden in a hard-to-reach part of the Neighbor's house, plant it in the dirt patch in his yard, water it with a watering can, wait four hours (real time) for the tree to grow, knock the golden apple off its (very high up) branch, and then put it into the funnel hidden to the side of the Neighbor's property. Once you do this, you'll be rewarded with a short cutscene from the Neighbor's point of view, featuring a shadowy person. Note that there is no in-game hint towards this.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Any noise the Neighbor makes.
  • Humanoid Abomination: It's possible in some Alphas to encounter what appears to be a rapidly shifting shadow person in certain areas (including some only accessible through no-clip). What exactly it means hasn't been revealed yet.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The Neighbor will do this once he's aware that you're in his house.
  • Implacable Man: The titular Neighbor.
  • Invisible Wall: Some of these block you from the neighborhood in the background. Interestingly enough, in the Alpha at least they're not insurmountable, because they aren't infinitely high and there's a glitch that allows you to ascend above the map using a trashcan.
  • Jump Scare: The Neighbor can deliver a nasty surprise to players who weren't paying enough attention.
  • Living with the Villain: The Big Bad is your across-the-street neighbor.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: This trailer implies this is what's in the Neighbor's basement, since when the player enters the basement, there are silhouettes of other figures, and the sound of a woman sobbing, before the voice of a young girl screams "RUN!!!", causing the lights to go out, and the woman's sobs to stop. The player tries to see who or what made the noise, but doesn't find anything... Until the end of the level where, right when the Neighbor is about to drag the protagonist from his hiding place, the little girl screams, causing the Neighbor to ignore the player, and go after the little girl's voice. The implications of this scene are... disturbing, to say the least.
  • Minimalist Cast: There are two characters — You, and The Neighbor. There might be more, if you count the shadow person and if there's people in the basement.
  • Nameless Narrative: Neither of the characters are named in the game. The prequel novel reveals the protagonist to be named Nicky Roth, while The Neighbor's last name is Peterson.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Two in the pre-Alpha and one in the Alpha.
  • New House, New Problems: When you first move to your new house you immediately become suspicious of your new neighbor.
  • No Ending:
    • Back when the game was unfinished, once you unlocked the basement door in the pre-Alpha, the player would find that there was no actual basement room or any secret.
    • The Teaser Trailer shows that there indeed is something in the basement. Behind a very long corridor leading downwards is what appears to be a corpse in a room full of candles, looking like some kind of ceremony or something and at least another room which is not shown, only the door leading to it. So as it looks, the basement will be its own part of the house to discover.
  • Ominously Open Door: In the beginning of the pre-Alpha the Neighbor's basement door seems to be open, but then...
  • Produce Pelting: The Neighbor will throw tomatoes at you, which will cause your vision to blur and turn red.
  • Run or Die: When the Neighbor spots you around his house.
  • Scare Chord: When the Neighbor catches you.
  • Threatening Shark: In the Alpha, the Neighbor has a pet shark on the 2nd floor, that can and will attack you. It turns out it's actually a robot.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: While there's no way to kill the Neighbor, it's possible to torture the bastard by throwing stuff at him such as a garbage bin, which will knock him out as the latter screams in pain. Unless if he survives from getting knocked down and finally gets you, though.
  • Wham Shot: In the Golden Apple cutscene, you are in a small room and see the Shadow moving around outside. You then look at your hands and you're wearing the Neighbor's gloves- the cutscene was from his perspective.
  • World Limited to the Plot: While there is a very detailed outside world in the game, it bears no, as far as we know, relevance to the plot. It's merely scenery behind the Invisible Walls.

    Tropes in the full release 
  • Adults Are Useless: It seems only the kid Protagonist hears the scream coming from the basement, despite it being very loud and in the middle of the street. In fact, apart from an occasional passing car, there don't seem to be any adults other than the Neighbor around at all.
  • Blackout Basement: The basement you break into as a kid, as it takes a while to find a flashlight and there are only a few illuminated spots.
  • Animated Adaptation: A cartoon based on Act 1 of the original game, with elements from the multiplayer title, Secret Neighbor.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Invoked as the developers did not depict the dead as actual corpses in the game, so the missing girl that gets pushed to her death is only a cardboard cut-out, the neighbor's wife who dies (presumably of serious injuries) in the hospital is represented by an empty bed and a heart monitor, and there's a coffin with a key to a dollhouse in it that may serve as a stand-in for the dead girl.
  • Bigger on the Inside: The basement is clearly much larger than the house it sits under.
  • Bookcase Passage: The first time you get into the basement, it looks like an ordinary storage room... until you open the washing machine, that is.
  • Chase Scene: The first act ends in one of these, leading up to a locked door, and the protagonist getting captured by the neighbor.
  • Closed Circle: Act II sees the Protagonist stuck on the Neighbor's property, which is now surrounded by a fence that's at least two floors high.
  • Creepy Basement: Duh. In the first act, it's a dark maze of access corridors surrounding a bunch of locked-up rooms with pictures put up to imitate the outside world.
  • Creepy Crows: The opening screen has an crow perched on a shelf next to the basement door.
  • Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: The protagonist decides to investigate the neighbor's house and ends up kidnapped and locked up in the basement.
  • Dreaming of Times Gone By: Sometimes when the kid protagonist is caught, they can get short interactive dreams/visions hinting at several tragedies that may have happened in the neighbor's life.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In the opening segment of the game, you can see dozens of "Missing" (or "simming") posters on the streets, which foreshadows what's in the basement, as well as the protagonist's fate at the end of Act I. The boy in the missing poster (if you look through the keyhole at the right time) also unlocks the door for you in Act II, and he and the girl show up in one of the dream sequences.
    • Similarily, if you look to your right after going through the front door, you'll see a boot rack with a suspicious amount of child-sized shoes.
  • Freak in the Attic: The dream sequences point to this being the neighbor's secret, depending on how you interpret them. After his wife died, his son pushed the daughter to her death. This boy is the one that the neighbor is holding prisoner in the game, as seen if you look through the keyhole to see who sets you free from your cell.
  • Harmful to Minors: As a child, the Protagonist does a lot of highly dangerous things, including breaking and entering, gallivanting on slanting rooftops, messing with a potential child kidnapper and playing in the middle of the street.
  • Idiot Ball: It takes a special brand of stupid (or simply immature) for a kid to be breaking into a house of a man who he probably suspects of being a child kidnapper. Bonus points for playing with an actual ball in the opening cutscene.
  • Invisible Parents: While the kid Protagonist's house has a master bedroom and a room with two pillows in it, his parents are never seen.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: It is heavily implied that most of Act 3 takes place inside the protagonist's head, as all of the surreal events that occur are him trying to come to terms with his experiences being kidnapped by the Neighbor.
  • Kid Hero: In the beginning of the game, the protagonist is a kid, and it's as a kid that he breaks into the Neighbor's house.
  • Locked in a Room: How Act 2 begins.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Itís not clear whether the Shadow is real or a shared delusion between the protagonist and Neighbor.
  • Missing Child: The missing children posters, and the implications once you see the basement.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: The game's core gameplay is solving fairly wonky Moon Logic Puzzles to progress through the house while at the same time evading the neighbor as he patrols around the house.
  • Noob Cave: Act I is a lot more easy-going compared to the rest of the game. The house is fairly small and is for the most part a normal house without Alien Geometries, the neighbor is a lot slower (you're able to outrun him easily, unlike later Acts in which he's actually faster than you), and is also a lot less vigilant, patrolling much less and only using basic traps.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: At the start of the second act, you can find a small gap in the wooden wall that shows a vast, dark space behind. You can't see anything in it... but you can hear some kind of heavy breathing.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: We - and the Protagonist - don't actually see the person screaming at the beginning of the game, only the Neighbor wresting something on the ground.
  • Wham Shot: Three in quick succession.
    • The entire washing machine being revealed to be the secret door leading into the real basement.
    • Opening the door beyond leads to a room with a cot, some candles and cans of food, with screens set up behind the windows to imitate the outside world.
    • Removing one of the screens reveals an entire network of corridors connecting this room to many others set up in the same fashion.
    • One of the dream sequences features a wham shot to the effect of the boy from the missing poster pushing the girl from the missing poster, presumably to her death.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Neighbor, who sets up bear traps and throws glass bottles at the kid Protagonist, and eventually moves from simply removing the boy from his house whenever he catches him to locking him up in his basement at the end of Act I.