Headlines Opinion

Is Hello Neighbor Series the Beginning of the End for Indie Gaming?

Hello Neighbor is a mediocre horror/stealth game, but the developers are insistent that they're turning the series into a brand.

  • Hello Neighbor is being turned into an animated series.
  • The developer of the game series, Dynamic Pixels, is claiming that indie gaming is dead and has become a “game of brands”.
  • Indie gaming has a bleak future if it turns into a war between brands.

Indie horror games are a trend. Mainly because people enjoy watching YouTube videos about them, rather than actually playing the games. Enter, Hello Neighbor. It’s a mediocre game that became popular when YouTube turned it into a hot ticket item for about 5 minutes.

Now the series is becoming an animated series. A nearly 6-minute-long pilot episode on YouTube has hit over 10 million views. The developer is saying that indie gaming is dead, claiming that it’s “a game of brands” now.

Not only is that wrong, but it’s a terrible direction for indie gaming to head in.

Although Hello Neighbor had some mediocre reviews, the story was an element that many people praised, so an animated series makes some sort of sense at least. | Source: Steam

Building Brands For Indie Games is Dumb

As great as gaming is, it has problems. Triple-A games have a tendency to suffer from aggressive serialization. While there’s nothing wrong with sequels inherently, too many can make a concept grow stale. This is something indie games didn’t have to deal with… at first.

Then Five Nights at Freddie’s came along. FNAF has featured 10 games, 3 novels, and eventually a Hollywood movie adaptation. That doesn’t even begin to cover the insane amount of fan animations, theory videos, and merchandising.

It seems like Hello Neighbor is aiming at the same thing. With three games already out, one novel, and an animated series, the game is already on its way to becoming a brand if it isn’t already.

The Developers of Hello Neighbor, Not the Game Itself, Should Be The Brand

In the modern age of social media, building a brand is important. Whether you’re a YouTuber, an influencer, or anything in between, your brand is probably your livelihood. So why do I have an issue with ‘Hello Neighbor’ trying to make itself a brand?

The issue is that turning a single game IP into a brand causes all of the problems that triple-A serialization has. The same idea done over and over again becomes stale and boring.  If the developer of Hello Neighbor wanted to make anything into a brand, it should have been the developer themselves.

Yet another form of Hello Neighbor. | Source: Twitter

Saying that indie gaming has become a “game of brands”, is like saying indie gaming has become triple-A gaming. That would truly be the death of the indie industry. What’s the point in indie games if they’re just triple-A games with less money and polish?

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.

Last modified: September 23, 2020 1:53 PM

William Worrall

William Worrall is a professional writer based out of the UK who has been writing about video and tabletop games for over a decade and has covered industry events such as EGX and UKGE. Contact him at william.worrall@ccn.com, see his LinkedIn profile here.