Interview with Dead by Daylight Lead Designer – Dave Richard

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Terror Realm (TR): First of all, would you please introduce yourself to our readers: who are you and what role do you have?

Dave Richard (DR): My name’s Dave Richard, Lead Designer on Dead by Daylight.

TR: Can you explain Dead by Daylight and how the idea came about?

DR: Dead by Daylight is both an action and survival horror multiplayer game in which one crazed, unstoppable killer hunts four survivors through a terrifying nightmarish world in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

It`s hard to track where and when the idea came from originally as we have been working (on and off) on this idea for quite some time now. One thing for certain, we`re all horror fans be in books, movies, games or other forms.

TR: There have been similar games cropping up recently, most notably Friday the 13th: The Game. What makes Dead by Daylight unique?

DR: It`s not surprising that these games are appearing here and there. It looks like the planets are finally aligning in order to get this type of horror game made.

What I think is unique and exciting about the Dead by Daylight world is that it`s not limited by one horror genre or bound to a specific character. We are building our own lore which taps into multiple horror sub-genres.  For example, killers found in DBD vary from the more classic masked Slasher to the more bizarre paranormal monsters.  As far as gameplay goes, the killer types` unique powers change the approach a player takes to hunt and kill his victims and how survivors need to adapt to escape.

Dead by Daylight maps are procedurally generated to make sure each match is different and unpredictable. As a survivor, when you appear on a map you have no idea which killer you are facing, where your objectives are and what the map layout is. In the first portion of the match, this uncertainty is definitely stressful!

There's no escape! - Image Credit: Dead by Daylight, Behaviour Interactive Inc

There’s no escape! – Image Credit: Dead by Daylight,

TR: The game will consist of multiplayer only at the moment – will there be any single player aspects in the future?

DR: We never know what the future holds, but there are currently no plans to have a single-player mode to the game. That said, we can speak of a solo experience to the game. It’s possible to experience Dead by Daylight alone. You`ll always be playing against/with other humans, but you are never forced to wait for other survivors or for a match to end to go into another match.

TR: In total there are 5 players (4V1) which makes this game a little more intimate, does this make it easier for survivors to work together opposed to splitting up?

DR: No, not at all. We balanced the game so that the players are confronted with tough choices that need to be made under extremely stressful situations. Staying true to horror flicks, survivors often end up splitting up and it`s not always easy to find your friends back! Being coordinated will definitely help you escape, but it can also be a strategy to go alone. Can you really trust the others’ not to fuck up and give your position away?

TR: Can players try the lone wolf route if they want? Are there any aspects of the game which are frowned upon by those who choose that path?

DR: Good question. The game does not punish a player who chooses to be a lone wolf. The survivor is about survival no matter how you chose to do so. I’m sure your readers can recall a movie (or ten) where an asshole abandons the others to save his own skin. Well, this is bound to happen in our game. We’re not saying you should do it, but you can. It`s interesting to see which friend chooses to do so. We all have our limits.

TR: Are there going to be specific objectives to complete in order to ‘win’? What happens if the killer manages to take down his prey?

DR: There are precise conditions for winning. The survivors need to escape and the killer needs to kill them all. It sounds simple, and it is, but it`s in the how to achieve these goals that the game gets interesting. There are multiple stages to a match. Dying is not simple, there are multiple steps to it which give leeway to survivors and makes the chase more thrilling for survivors and killers.

Death is always around the corner! - Image Credit: Dead by Daylight, Behaviour Interactive Inc

Death is just around the corner! – Image Credit: Dead by Daylight, Behaviour Interactive Inc

TR: Are we in for a bloody treat when it comes to kills? Will there be any particular homage to a slasher film of the past?

DR: That is a very challenging question to answer at this point as I don`t want to spoil any surprises. Let`s just say the killer is more than just about the kills. Rest assured though, blood will flow!

TR: Can players expect unlockable items or perks as they play? Are there any customization options available?

DR: There is a character progression which we can talk about in depth at a later time. It is important for us that when players start a match, they don`t know exactly (or at all) what they are facing and who they are hunting.

Characters are more than models, they are customized to help players achieve the strategy they are aiming for.

TR: Let us talk about the environments. Are the levels planned or procedurally generated?

DR: It`s a mix of both really. The important thing to understand here is that the maps are procedurally generated using a set of rules which we prototype and test. They are NOT completely random. It`s a perfect blend where players can strategize around some expected components but also need to discover and quickly adapt to the unknown.

TR: When designing levels, what do you have to keep in mind? Are there special hiding spots or takedown locations for example?

DR: There are some components that are part of every map such as the hooks and exit gates for example. Each section to be used in the procedural generation is built with great care on the level design side. The same rules apply as in traditional level design. When designing a new section, we define our needs, the danger level of the zone and how we want it to flow/be experienced. What type of scenarios does this zone encourage and so on?

TR: Should the player expect the majority of locations on the map to be dark and secluded, perfect for an ambush? Or is there a balance?

DR: The map sections vary greatly from tight and dense labyrinths to large open `kill-zones`. We call them `kill-zones` because of all the killing! Each side must read and use each section to their advantage. Some sections are designed with precise strategies in mind and when playtesting them we discover new ways to use them.

TR: The game isn’t set to come out just yet, so in a few words how would you sell your game to potential players?

DR: Dead by Daylight is an awesome game that has a double offering: experiencing the thrills of the hunt as a powerful beast of horror and living the scary, palm-sweating ordeal of a survivor. The asymmetry, procedural factors and unique thinking of human individuals make each Dead by Daylight match an unexpected scenario where the combined behavior of each player creates a truly terrifying and thrilling narrative.

TR: And finally – as we’re all fans of horror here: if you could be in any horror movie what would it be and why?

DR: Evil-Dead. If I`m going down, might as well do it with a chainsaw and a boomstick. Hail to the king baby!

Death is not an escape - Image Credit: Dead by Daylight, Behaviour Interactive Inc

“Death is not an escape.” – Image Credit: Dead by Daylight, Behaviour Interactive Inc

On behalf of the team here at Terror Realm, I’d like to thank Dave Richard and the guys and girls at Dead By Daylight for talking with us.

You can find out more about Dead by Daylight by visiting their official website, their Twitter, and their Facebook page.

We will most certainly be playing and reviewing the game when it officially releses.