Dead by Daylight is an asymmetric survival horror video game developed by Behavior Interactive and published by Starbreeze Studios. The game was released for Microsoft Windows on June 14, 2016. Dead by Daylight sales topped one million units after just two months on sale.
In October 2016, the game’s Halloween update included Laurie Strode as a survivor and Michael Myers as a killer.
A group of survivors – anywhere from one to four players (typically four) – must elude one player who is the killer in an enclosed area at night which will either be a secluded forest, an abandoned junkyard, a decrepit cornfield, or a haunted asylum. The survivors’ perspectives are third-person, while the killer’s perspective is first-person.
When playing as a survivor, players assume the role of Jake Park, Meg Thomas, Dwight Fairfield, Claudette Morel, Nea Karlsson, or Laurie Strode. The goal of the survivors is to escape the enclosed area, which can be done in one of two ways: either by repairing a certain number of disabled generators (usually, the number of generators is one greater than the number of survivors playing) to provide power to switches which open large metal doors leading out of the area, or by escaping through a trapdoor (hatch) which only opens when there is one survivor left and at least two generators have been successfully repaired.
The survivors’ movement options consist of sprinting, walking, or crouch-walking. They must elude the killer by using the darkness, crouching behind objects, and hiding in buildings, foliage, or inside lockers.
As the killer, players assume the role of either the Trapper, the Wraith, the Hillbilly, the Nurse or Michael Myers; each of which has his own unique ability. The killer cannot run or crouch, but simply walks at a very fast pace which is slightly faster than the pace of a sprinting survivor.
When hunting the survivors, the killer must capture them by either striking them twice with his weapon (the first hit reduces the survivor to a limp, while the second hit drops them to crawling on the ground), or can grab them in one move by either catching them inside lockers, while attempting to vault over pallets or through windows, while repairing a generator, or attempting to escape through a trap door. The Hillbilly’s chainsaw attack will also drop survivors to crawling on the ground in one hit.
The killer can initially only kill the survivors by sacrificing them by placing them on one of the many meat hooks in the area and waiting for the demonic claws to eventually finish off the survivor, carrying their soul into the sky. After a player has earned enough experience points as the killer, certain single-use items can be unlocked that include the ability to finish off survivors instantly with their weapon, rather than the lengthy process of taking them to the meat hooks.
Both survivors and killers are able to unlock items, perks, and offerings through the Blood Web. Every action performed in a match gives the player a number of Bloodpoints, and the sum are added to the player’s total at the end of the match.
Each level of the Blood Web is procedurally generated, and gets larger as the character gains levels. The rewards are connected to each other in a radial tree, and players must purchase rewards along the progression path to gain access to others. Once every reward on the tree has been purchased, the Blood Web will generate a new level for the player to progress to, increasing that character’s level.
The game takes place across four locales (split into thirteen maps in total) which are based on the places the killers became murderers. Over time, the evilness of their actions accumulated there until it attracted the attention of the Entity, an unknown force of darkness from a place with no name. The Entity pulls those who encounter it into a purgatory of its own construction, where they must play an endless game of life or death in the Entity’s recreations. The killers, who worship the Entity, are tasked with hunting down the survivors and sacrificing them, while the survivors seek an escape from the nightmare.
The Entity, a supernatural being hailing from some ancient, evil place, is awakened from its slumber whenever it is summoned by actions of great violence and malice. The killers, exclusively serial murderers, are pulled out of reality by it and convinced to do its bidding. In order to maintain its existence, the Entity requires sacrifices, and demands that they hunt and kill the survivors so it can feed off their hope and steal a piece of their soul upon death. Then they are brought back to life to repeat the trial, endlessly attempting to escape.
The survivors are pulled into the Entity’s constructed world when they wander too close to the places the killers were taken from, disappearing from the real world without a trace. They end up at a lonely campfire, where they rest between trials, until a killer pursues them again. Escaping from the grounds always takes the survivors back to the campfire, and offerings can be created to be burnt at it and appeal for the Entity’s favor. Since the Entity feeds off the hope of the survivors to escape, it helps them just as much as the killers, acting as an impartial observer of the hunt, stepping in only to claim those hanged on its hooks.
“As players become more familiar with both roles, the horror dissipates and they begin to play for the competitive element alone. The poor matchmaking and the highly exploitable scoring system make Dead by Daylight less competitive than it should be, resulting in gameplay which doesn’t resemble the horror experience it sets out to be.” Joab Gilroy, Gamespot
“It might be short-lived and plagued by lobby issues, but Dead by Daylight is whip-smart, original, exciting and genuinely frightening. It puts you right at the centre of your own slasher movie, then asks you if you’ve got the guts and cunning to slay or survive. Only time will tell whether it can evolve into a long-term hit but, right now, it’s a terrifying new entry on the multiplayer scene.” Stuart Andrews, Trusted Reviews
“When Dead By Daylight was first launched, it was a flawed but fun game that needed a bit more work to tighten things up. Since its release, Behaviour Interactive has spent the last few months doing just that; it’s in a really good place right now. It has a healthy, active community where the player base can also go and interact with the developers on a weekly basis. All in all, Dead By Daylight is an amazing survival horror experience… Luke Lawrie, Stevivor