Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Watchlist: Hello, Neighbor

Title: Hello, Neighbor
Developer: Dynamic Pixels
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, PS4
In development
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A first-person tactical thriller puzzler with a tricky self-studying A.I. as an opponent
I remember the first time I encountered the concept of an adapting AI in games. It was playing the freeware shmup Warning Forever; that game pit you against a single boss that adapted to your tactics, eventually growing into a screen-filling monstrosity bristling with lasers and armor. It's a fascinating concept, which is why the upcoming Hello, Neighbor caught my attention.

Reminiscent of movies like Hitchcock's Rear Window and Disturbia, Hello, Neighbor puts you in the shoes of an man living across from a suspicious neighbor. And like those movies, your goal is to figure out your neighbor's secret and eventually make your way into his home. What could he be hiding in the basement?
But there's one significant obstacle in your way, and that's the fact your neighbor is no ordinary scripted NPC. He's powered by AI that will learn from and adapt to your attempts and tactics, fortifying his house, setting traps and preparing in ways that counter your methods. The developers state that the longer you play, the more dangerous and intelligent the neighbor becomes. You might enter his home to find the floor littered with bear traps...

The prototype footage showcases the game's interesting stealth-based gameplay, as you lure the neighbor outside by throwing a tomato at his window and turn the TV on as a distraction while you hide in a closet. Once seen, a desperate chance ensues, as the neighbor smashes through a window to cut off your escape. Fleeing back into the house, you find the back door barred shut; trying to pry off the wooden boards with a hammer, you're captured and awaken to your doomed fate.
Hello, Neighbor's concept of stealth-puzzle tactics against an adaptive AI looks very promising. A Kickstarter is slated for October; you can learn more about the game here.

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