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The Game Design Behind “Dead by Daylight”

*This is a special Halloween post that may not be suitable for younger audiences*

The hit game “Dead by Daylight” was released during the year 2016 and has stayed relevant throughout these years. Dead by Daylight was originally developed and published by an indie studio called Behaviour Interactive in Montreal, Canada. Today, we will be taking a deeper dive into the core mechanics and design of Dead by Daylight.

First, gameplay! The game is split into a team of four survivors, as well as one killer. Survivors must work together to escape from the killer’s lair by fixing five out of the seven generators around the map. After the generators are repaired, they must open the two exit gates. On the contrary, the killer’s goal is to kill survivors before they reach their objective of escaping. Killers kill survivors by knocking them down with their basic attacks, or abilities, depending on which killer is chosen. After knocking a player prone, the killer must pick them up and place them on a hook. If a survivor is hooked three times, or fails to save themselves, they will die. Ultimately, the killer wins by collectively hooking and killing all four survivors consecutively.

Now, let’s take a look at character designs. Dead by Daylight incorporates characters that are both original designs, as well as pre-existing characters that are acquired through licensing from other studios. This includes, but is not limited to: Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Sadako Yamamura.

The design of the survivors is simple. Each survivor is equipped with a kit that either adds benefits to the team, such as healing, or misleads the killers. Players are allowed to equip items such as healing kits, flashlights (used to stun killers for a short period of time), or wrenches (faster generator repair speeds).

On the other hand, the design of a killer is not as simple as survivors. Unlike survivors, the killer’s traits must be unique and must match the visuals of the killer. Each killer has their own unique abilities and attacks, as well as their own weaknesses. The motto for killers from what we have noticed is the following: You must give every over tuned ability a con. For example, the character Nurse is a character that teleports around the map and the ability is set on a short cooldown. Now, what is the downside to this ability? The downside is that she gets stunned for a moment after she uses her teleportation ability. Another example would be The Spirit, also known as Rin Yamaoka. Her abilities allow her to move around at incredible speeds. However, she cannot see any of the survivors while using her speed buff.

Next up are maps. In this game, maps are called realms. The realm is chosen after characters are locked in and randomized each game. Realms have different terrains and iterations that can benefit either the killer or the team of survivors. Realms can also have different structures, some of which have fixed locations and others are randomized. Some examples of fixed locations would be the killer shack, or a main building.

The user interface (UI) of the game is very simple and easy to understand. The game gives you all the information that you will need. As a killer, there are visual timers for each ability, charges for each ability, and so on and so forth. As for survivors, the UI is favored around objectives around the map, such as the generators, and teammates that need assistance. This could be from players needing healing or needing a teammate's aid to get off of a hook.

The last mechanic of the game I would like to talk about is their upgrading system. Dead by Daylights uses a point system to upgrade the levels of select characters. Blood points are earned through objectives and how well you do within each game. Blood points are then used in the “blood web” to unlock offerings. These offerings are then used inside the game to add perks or debuffs to the opponent. Offerings include items that give the survivors better odds at escaping. As for killers, these offerings can amplify the effect of the killer's abilities, which can give an extremely unfair advantage to them. Once a blood web is completed, you are given a new web to work through. There is no limit to how many blood webs.

Works Cited (imagery and reference material)

"Dead by Daylight Wiki." Fandom, 2023 Oct 23,

not Otzdarva. "All Maps Tier List & Guide | Dead by Daylight (6.5.0)" YouTube, 2023 Jan 6,

Smyth, Lewis. "Dead by Daylight Best Builds: The Nurse 2023." GameRant, [Date of Publication],

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