Kickstarter: “Hello,  Neighbor!” – if Pixar made “The ‘burbs” into a game

Dynamic Pixels’ have provided me with my latest ‘backing fix’ in the form of the confusingly spelt “Hello, Neighbor!”, a stealth/survival game set in a non-threatening suburban street. According to the KS pitch, you take on the role of an ‘innocent’ resident, neighbour to a suspicious tank-top clad loner. For reasons as yet undisclosed, you take it upon yourself to do some sleuthing with the ultimate goal of gaining entry to their basement and discovering the ‘truth’.

… and it’s only through assumption that we have adopted the role of ‘good-guy’. Concept art and early gameplay footage show the basement door locked or boarded up but there’s no real reason presented as to why we (the player) has taken this unhealthy interest in this specific neighbour, why we feel justified to break into their property and begin to circumvent their security, or why we are surprised when the neighbour tries to stop us from roaming free in their house. 

Aside from speculation regarding the morals of the protagonist, it appears to be a simple concept; essentially a dynamic game of hide-and-seek against an AI presented in a visually quirky fun way. Early gameplay footage shows the player being able to distract, block, lure, and hide from the neighbour using the interactive environment of their home. The assumption is that the game is over when you are either captured by your pursuer or gain access to the basement.

The tricky beast of the kickstarter pitch has been well managed by ‘Dynamic Pixels’.  The premise is well conveyed,  visually grabs potential backers and shows a convincing amount of concept art, early gameplay and renders which reassure that the project is ‘real’. Two things jumped out of the pitch at me: Firstly the promise of an innovative AI capable of pre-empting the player and learning their preferred behaviours; this is likely to be the ‘make or break’ of the project and how intelligent it ‘feels’ ingame is something that no amount of concept art will convey.  Secondly the warm and cartoonish visual style (reminiscent of ‘Quantum Conundrum’) and its juxtaposition against the gloved neighbour  stalking you; it’s unsettling by being both cute and menacing.

“Hello,  Neighbor!” is currently on kickstarter here: “Hello,  Neighbor!” Kickstarter page

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