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.
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.
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.
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?