|"Theodore Masters Peterson"|
Mr. Peterson is the main antagonist in Hello Neighbor. He patrols his house and defends his basement from anyone who tries to enter it and uncover his secret. His full name was revealed in the novel titled Hello Neighbor: The Missing Pieces.
Mr. Peterson is a tall, well-built, cartoonishly-styled man. The Neighbor has brown hair, and has eyebrows slanted towards his noticeably reddish nose. The Neighbor also has a curly waxed mustache, and green eyes. The Neighbor's chin has a spiral marking on it. The Neighbor wears a yellow shirt with rolled-up sleeves and a collar. The shirt is partially opened, revealing some of the Neighbor's chest hair. On top of the shirt is a blue and light blue sleeveless sweater vest with a diamond pattern. The Neighbor also wears long, black rubber gardening gloves. He also wears red/orange striped pants. There are no buttons, zippers, or laces on said pants. He also wears black shoes with white caps and shoelaces. Strangely, the letter "W" can be seen on the bottom of each shoe's sole.
Personality and abilities
Mr. Peterson is shown to have a hostile personality, and also seems to be insane. He is a very private man, going after Nicky Roth if the latter so much as steps onto his property (which included the entire road in Alpha 2). He also seems to be incredibly smart, as he is able to figure out how the protagonist broke into his house and will set up some sort of trap in that area, making it harder for Nicky to break in. He also appears to match or surpass Nicky in athleticism and strength, as he has the ability to jump over obstacles, climb ladders with ease and bash doors to clear any objects blocking them and force the door open. If a large object is in Mr. Peterson's path and he cannot get around it, he will simply kick it out of the way, sending it flying with seemingly little effort. This makes hand-crafted barricades, such as stacks of boxes, inefficient for limiting his area of patrol. His athleticism and strength is also likely a result of a high protein diet (as seen in Alpha 2 where he would drink straight from the jug of milk) and his calisthenics. During these exercises, he will stand up straight, put a hand on his hip and use the other to stretch sideways in the direction of his resting hand, swapping hands and direction after each movement. He will then jog on the spot for a few seconds, and will repeat these two exercises a couple of times, breathing sharply throughout, though in later versions he will only do the former exercise and not jog on the spot. In the first Alpha, he was able to knock a door off its hinges entirely, though any removed doors would be replaced upon the protagonist being caught. This feature was likely removed for being rather awkward and poorly implemented.
Additionally, unlike Nicky Roth, Mr. Peterson seems to suffer no ill effects from large heights, as he can jump off of a balcony and continue chasing Nicky without being affected in any way, although he usually attempts to pathfind his way downward instead. He also appears to have a very good sense of hearing, as breaking a window or turning on a TV (and radio in versions prior to Alpha 3) will immediately attract his attention and cause him to investigate the source of the noise, and respond by either boarding up a window or setting a bear trap in front of it to deter future attempts to enter through that window. Other loud sounds will interrupt this however, meaning that breaking multiple windows allows for more than one point of entry, with only a single window being heavily fortified at a time. However, boards block the entire window, and not just singular panes of the glass, if it has two or three panes. He also appears to have a good sense of sight, as even if Nicky is at the very top of the house and he is at the bottom or down the street, he will spot Nicky and attempt to chase him.
Of course, like Nicky, Mr. Peterson is not without his weaknesses. Nicky can unlock the ability to push him down and evade capture once per break-in attempt or chase. Additionally, even though Mr. Peterson can normally fall long distances just fine, Nicky's push-down ability can also allow him to force the man off of ladders, causing Mr. Peterson to hurt his back and be incapacitated for longer than a normal push, regardless of the ladder's height or his position on the ladder. Regular throws can also slow him down, though they cannot stop him briefly like a powered throw can. Although he has excellent hearing, footsteps are inaudible to him, even when sprinting, allowing Nicky to sprint past him while his back is turned.
In the final build, it is revealed that the Neighbor was the head of a family named the Petersons, and he was once a much friendlier man. The Missing Pieces expands upon this, as he is shown to allow the young Nicky to meet and befriend his son, Aaron, allowing him to frequently visit them. During the third act, if Nicky enters the room which contained a mannequin and an Unreal Engine Error teleport in the previous builds, a photograph can be seen of Mr. Peterson with his arms around a woman and young girl, with a young boy next to them. This is confirmed to be a family photo of the Petersons. The sequences that Nicky can trigger after being caught a few times in the first and second acts heavily imply that Mrs. Peterson died and that the son pushed the daughter, Mya, to her death, with said events causing Mr. Peterson to become withdrawn and hostile. The events that Nicky can witness are:
- Mr Peterson letting his wife (who cannot be seen but her voice can be heard) into his car and then driving off. A car crash will then occur nearby that causes a wheel to fly through the window. Outside this window, Mr. Peterson can be seen limping over to the wrecked car, looking inside its window and gasping in horror, before sobbing profusely. The protagonist can walk through the nearby door to end the sequence.
- Mr. Peterson's shadow can be seen on a wall, where he appears to be using a shovel to bury something that is unseen (likely his daughter). The protagonist can then walk through to the next room where the now-giant man is seen wandering angrily through his living room. After walking past, he'll approach the table that Nicky is under and reach for him, ending the sequence.
- A sequence where the protagonist ends up at a fairground and rides a rollercoaster through a variety of large rooms. The Peterson family can be heard laughing together in the dining room, and in the next room, only Mr. Peterson is heard, sobbing bitterly, followed by a child growling and another screaming. The final room contains a drop where a loud wailing sound is heard and then a jumpscare ends the sequence.
- A hospital sequence with a hospital bed and a heart rate monitor. The nearby heart monitor will begin beeping rapidly and then flatline, likely meaning that the patient has died. Nicky can walk through the nearby door to see Mr. Peterson in the hospital waiting room, a worried look on his face. He will periodically stand up, wander back and forth and then sit back down, covering his face and groaning in anguish. He will repeat this behaviour even when the heart rate monitor flatlines. Walking through the next door will end the sequence.
Mr. Peterson takes every measure he can in order to defend his basement, which is very heavily secured. The man seems to take several precautions with the basement door in particular, indicating he's hiding something. In the Pre-Alpha, the protagonist needed to collect a key/lock-pick, hammer/crowbar, and even a passcode using a blacklight which could be found in either the Neighbor's room or the bathroom. In Alpha 1, all that was needed was a key/lock-pick, and a hammer/crowbar. In Alpha 2, a crowbar and a keycard were needed. As the builds progressed, the required items remained the same, but have become progressively harder to find.
In the Pre-Alpha, the Neighbor mostly either patrolled his house and yard, or sat in the living room and watched TV. Throwing objects in his vicinity would attract his attention, implying he could hear the object hitting the floor, though only in this build. Throwing tomatoes would also attract his attention from anywhere, and have him carry a bucket to the splatter location and clean up the tomato, allowing a brief distraction. In Alpha 2, he would roam around his home, performing standard household tasks, such as sleeping, drinking milk, watching TV and bathing. He will also do this during Act 1 of the final game, though the milk-drinking behaviour appears to be unused. In Alpha 2, the Neighbor was also given smoother animations and a voice, and would yawn, laugh or hum while in his home. He was also given sounds which are used during a chase, where he will gasp upon noticing the protagonist, grunt when looking around for him, and yelp in pain when hit by an object. He was given more gasps, grunts and groans from Alpha 3 onwards.
Alpha 2 was also the first build where he was actually seen setting up bear traps, cameras, and mannequins, rather than them just appearing. When nearby, the player's screen would become darker and shake violently, with a 3D anaglyph shadowing their view. In Alpha 2, outrunning him was unlikely, as he was much faster than the protagonist. However, from Alpha 3 onwards, the protagonist is slightly faster than Mr. Peterson. Nicky can also hide from him using beds, closets, or their Invisibility power, as long as he is not within Mr. Peterson's line of sight. If successful, Mr. Peterson will look around a few times before walking off. However, he'll sometimes check the nearest closet, making this a less efficient method of hiding from him. The Neighbor threw bear traps and tomatoes at the protagonist during the Pre-Alpha and Alpha 1, and between Alpha 3 and Beta 3, he instead just threw jars of glue at them. The final build has him throwing both tomatoes and jars of glue in order to inhibit Nicky in his goals. Additionally, as of the 1.3 patch, Mr. Peterson has a vacuum cleaner which he will pull out to bring Nicky to him when he cannot reach him, making it significantly harder to evade him. Said vacuum cleaner does not allow Nicky to push Mr. Peterson over, as he'll be caught immediately upon contact with it.
In the Pre-Alpha, there was a giant version of the Neighbor that appeared only during a nightmare sequence in which the protagonist is trapped in the house. The Neighbor looked in through the window and then attempted to grab the protagonist, first by reaching through the front door and then by smashing the front window.
He returned in Beta 3 onwards, in which he is a boss, and is much, much larger. The opening sequence for the encounter also plays similarly, except he looks in the window for longer, screams with a childish scream (which is lowered in pitch in the final build) and smashes the room with his hand instead of attempting to grab the protagonist through the window. He then looks around for a bit before frustratedly standing up straight. A house is situated on his back, which the protagonist must reach by making the giant Mr. Peterson unable to stand up properly. This can be achieved by using some of the giant objects in the area, such as hitting his face with a firework to stun him, and using baseballs, a cola bottle, and a bow and sucker-tipped arrow to hit him in the legs.
- While the Neighbor had been given a voice from Alpha 2 onwards, he was originally planned to have a different voice, and would yell out as the protagonist got his attention. This could be seen in the announcement trailer. However, his lines were incredibly vulgar, and thus were removed.
- In Alpha 2, a lot of Neighbor voice clips could be found in the files, some of which were used from Alpha 3 onwards, and some which were never used in any future build. The unused clips include an evil laugh, whistling, the Neighbor saying "Hello" in 2 different tones, and the Neighbor yelling "BOOYAH!"
- When the Neighbor buried the protagonist in the prototype, his physical appearance could not be seen. The Neighbor could, however, be seen dropping the coffin cover in Alpha 1.
- In Alpha 2, there was a cut-scene after the protagonist woke up. In this cut-scene, he hears a child-like screaming coming from the Neighbor's house, and the view zooms in on the window. The Neighbor seems to yell "Quiet!" to whoever is screaming. It was shown though, that what was screaming was actually a mannequin, which runs past him, knocking the Neighbor over for a moment. This may just have been a placeholder for a person, however.
- The Neighbor's running speed has gone through several revisions. In the Pre-Alpha he ran quite slowly, in Alpha 1 he ran at a speed closer to the protagonist's, and in Alpha 2 he ran slightly faster than the protagonist. In the following builds, the protagonist is slightly faster than him, which is balanced by Mr. Peterson's ability to throw jars of glue and tomatoes to slow down and blind Nicky, along with the ability to use a vacuum cleaner to close the distance between them.
- The Neighbor had a 666 on the bottom of both his shoes, which was changed in Alpha 3 to a "M". The meaning of this letter is unknown, but is likely either a clothing brand logo or the first letter of one of his names.
- In the Alpha 2 update, instead of the protagonist being put back in their own house after the Neighbor caught them, he simply sent the protagonist to his front yard and slammed the front door.
- Additionally, in Alpha 3, the Neighbor sent them to the protagonist's own front yard instead of inside his house.
- The mannequins in Alpha 2 may have been used as placeholders for actual people, though from Alpha 4 onwards, the Fear levels have Mannequins as hostile characters.
- There are several theories revolving around this game. A popular theory is that the 14:14 mailbox refers to a Bible verse, which is believed to be II Kings 14:14, speaking about stealing many things from a palace, and even saving hostages, which leads to the theory of the Neighbor holding people hostage in his basement; this seems to be true at least for the Alpha 2 build.
- Mr. Peterson was nicknamed by some YouTubers before the reveal of his name. He is called "Mart" by FGTeeV, "Mr. Wilson" by jacksepticeye,"Neighborino" by Markiplier, and "Ned" by captainsauce, the latter two being references to Ned Flanders, a character from the popular sitcom The Simpsons. The Neighbor's internal name is "Sosed", which is Russian/Slovenian for "neighbor".
- Hello Neighbor in Russian is "ПРИВЕТ СОСЕД" (Privet Sosed).
- In the first few builds, a certain painting was seen at least once per build in his house. This painting has two people on it, one looking to be a younger version of The Neighbor himself, and the other has an unknown identity. It appears to be based off of a painting where Judas is kissing Jesus.
- On the official website, one of the images seen shows a different neighbor with a green shirt and a different face (except the pants, which are the same).
- In the Pre-Alpha and first Alpha, the Neighbor had two music cues when close; one for him being in Idle mode, another when he was hunting the protagonist. These were replaced in Alpha 2 with ambient sounds of organs and other instruments.