- This article contains unconcealed minor spoilers from Impostor Factory.
Dr. Neil Watts is one of the two playable characters in the Sigmund Corp. series alongside Dr. Eva Rosalene. He is Eva's partner at Sigmund Corporation. His official title at the company is Technician Specialist.
As a child, Neil used to go stargazing every year with his grandfather outside the city where he lived. He starts his caffeine addiction to hide his sleeplessness from his disapproving mother.
He and Eva went to the same high school, and although he normally shunned people out of his life due to his illness, they became close. He followed Eva to work at Sigmund Corporation after he graduated.
Work at Sigmund Corporation
Neil has worked for the company for several years prior to the events of To the Moon. In Sigmund Minisode 1, he claims that he works there for the money; later, in Impostor Factory, it is revealed that his job choice was driven by his illness. In the job, he grows fond of his patients, as noted in To the Moon and the Sigmund Minisodes. Aside from taking care of patients, he also strives to improve the workings of the machine, modifying both its software and hardware on his own, even illegally testing it on Colin Reeds in Finding Paradise. He also seems to frequently find trouble in his job, though Eva has always (unwillingly) got him covered.
In To the Moon, Neil is revealed to be taking strong painkillers. If Eva discovers the painkillers while rummaging the car to sample the roadkill scent, he lies to her that he takes them because he walked into a concrete wall; otherwise, he tells her he's going to the car to feed his virtual pet. He takes them again at the post-credits scene.
He still takes them in Finding Paradise; this time, the player directly takes him to the car to get them instead of witnessing it through Eva's perspective. Again, he lies to Eva about what he's doing.
Neil is a young man with a medium skin tone and short, neat brown hair parted in the middle. He uses a pair of rectangular glasses with reflective coating. He wears a double-breasted white overcoat with notched lapels, four black buttons and a pocket on each side. He also dons a pair of brown shoes. In the character customization scene in Finding Paradise, he is revealed to wear black socks.
Neil is humorous, in contrast to Eva's character, and often makes jokes and various pop-culture references to lighten the mood throughout the games. Although often perceived as silly and childish, Neil can be serious when situations call for it. While not as perceptive of detail as Eva, he is still considerably intelligent and possesses enough problem-solving skills to usually help out whenever they have trouble advancing through memories.
In the job, Neil often appears careless and incompetent. He also likes to make insensitive remarks in front of his clients. This is emphasized in Finding Paradise, where he blatantly tells Colin's family that he didn't care for paperwork. On the technical side, his colleague, Roxanne Winters, notices issues in his maintenance with the machine, and fixes it for him. This is in line with the likelihood that he cheated through the company's entrance exams. Despite this, he is an ambitious programmer, and he likes to analyze and modify the machine's code.
Neil has a secretive disposition, especially when it comes to his projects and personal life. One evidence is when Sarah and Tommy show Eva the "funny room" at the beginning of To the Moon, where Eva suggests that many rooms and/or cabinets in Neil's house are off-limits. When confronted about his secrets, Neil gets completely flustered: In Finding Paradise, when Roxanne starts to confront him about his machine, he falls silent until Robert Lin walks in and Roxanne resumes her normal attitude. His reluctance to share sometimes makes him come off as rude towards his co-workers.
However, in Impostor Factory, it is revealed that he intended it. His illness, which can prove fatal at any point in his life, makes him feel that other people shouldn't be getting too close to him, and thus his secrecy and obnoxiousness may have helped him push people away. He keeps his ambitious plans for the machine undisclosed likely so people wouldn't question his motives.
Despite having a callous attitude towards Johnny and River's lives early on and insisting on finishing the job and getting paid, Neil later becomes attached to them; he ends up vehemently opposing Eva's efforts to apparently remove River from most of Johnny's memories, insisting that the point of the wish is lost in her method of achieving it.
Neil seems to have a mild resentment towards children, particularly those who are immature or stupid. In To the Moon, he harasses Johnny's teenage self when he is about to ask River out, as well as at the theatre. At the beginning of Finding Paradise, when the player chooses Neil to help with Potato and Amber's situation, he picks up Amber's doll and throws it into the pond, making Amber cry and cheering Potato up. Inside Colin's memory, when Colin keeps failing to throw his paper plane towards Faye, he comments that Colin has no respect for the laws of physics.
Neil is strongly suggested to have acrophobia, an irrational fear of heights, when he and Eva teleport onto the roof of the lighthouse in To the Moon. In Finding Paradise, he reveals that it doesn't apply inside a plane.
- Main article: Eva Rosalene
Eva is Neil's partner at Sigmund Corporation. They have known each other for a long time, at least since high school, as shown at the start of To the Moon. If the player chooses Neil to explore Johnny's house, he says he played Sherlock Holmes at a high school musical, but Eva says she remembers him playing Watson.
It is hinted that he cares deeply for Eva and may be romantically interested in her. At the launching scene, Neil slides closer to Eva and attempts to put his hand on her shoulder, but she pushes his arm away and he steps back, perhaps due to embarrassment. He also expresses anger when Eva tells him to leave during the destabilization of the system, refusing to leave her behind to get hurt or killed on her own, and calling her a moron for playing "hero". He later sheepishly takes it back after the danger has passed.
Despite his fondness of her, he never told Eva directly about his feelings. In Impostor Factory, it is mentioned that he fears that others would get too close to him. He knows he has less time due to his illness, and he doesn't want to burden someone else with the knowledge.
It also suggested that Eva has frequently gotten him out of trouble. During their argument in Johnny's unstable memory, Eva admits to helping Neil cheat through some entrance exams (for employment at Sigmund Corporation, as later recounted in Impostor Factory). Also, in Sigmund Minisode 1, she tells him she has saved him from getting fired more often than she had liked. Neil acknowledges she did a good job with that.
Neil appears to have problems with his parent(s), as evidenced in Sigmund Minisode 2. He attempts to call them twice, but keeps hanging up, unable to speak. When Eva asks if this is because of something they did, Neil replies it is not them - potentially implying that he feels he is the source of the problem. The parent on the other side also doesn't seem to recognize him at first, which likely means he hasn't been in touch with them for a while. (Though, in Finding Paradise, he is revealed to be hiding his caller ID, which Eva suggested he do in the first minisode, so it may not be the reason after all.)
Meanwhile, the fact that he used to spend his childhood stargazing with his grandfather could mean that he had a good relationship with him back then.
In Sigmund Minisode 2, Neil is shown to be in possession of a prototype memory machine that seems to be designed for self-use. He appears to be extremely careful not to let anyone know about it. He hides it behind his cabinet when he goes out of his office to restore the power, in spite of knowing nobody else is supposed to be inside the building. It has less physical features than the original machine, and is operated through Neil's computer. He seems to have been working on it for some time. It is hinted that at some point, Eva finds out about the machine. She is seen using it at the post-credits scene, presumably inside her own house.
In Finding Paradise, Roxanne Winters discovers that the machine Neil brought to the job is unauthorized. It is plausible that this machine is the same one shown in the minisode, although there is no indication of it. The new machine looks more like the one used in To the Moon, the only difference being the patient's helmet, whose casing has been removed. When Eva asks Neil about this, he gives no answer. During the traversal, Eva notices that the machine didn't correct inconsistencies in the memories' environment. When inspecting the machine, Roxanne finds some technical issues, including the fact that Neil has removed the machine's stabilizer. She notes that it can cause unexpected things to happen with patients like Colin, whose imaginary friend, Faye, is very sentient. Perhaps with the stabilizer removed, the user has more control over the environment inside the memories, although the purpose of which isn't certain.
- There are unused To the Moon sprites where Neil doesn't wear glasses, showing his green eyes.
- In the To the Moon 2 joke trailer, Neil is shown to keep his glasses in his pyjamas' chest pocket while sleeping.
- His mobile phone is blue in color. However, at the beginning of Sigmund Minisode 1, he is seen using a light brown phone.
- Neil's ringtone is the opening theme song from Quintessence: The Blighted Venom, another game from Freebird Games.
- Neil's glasses are coated with extra-reflective material because he likes the way it shields his eyes from strangers.