Dead by Daylight is a survival horror game where four survivors enter a map, try to fix 5 generators, and escape through an exit gate. This is all while a killer roams around the map trying to place survivors on hooks to prevent them from escaping. Seems pretty straightforward right? Well, it was when it first released in June 2016. Back then, there were only 4 survivors and 3 killers. Now there are 23 survivors and 21 killers for player to choose from to enter a trial and either please the Entity or escape through the gates or the hatch.
Now you might be asking yourself “What is the Entity”? Well, The Entity is as much of an enigma to hardcore players as it is to you, someone maybe hearing about DBD for the first time. Basically, the game exists in an unknown realm ruled over by The Entity, an unplayable character, that pits survivors and killers in an endless cycle of trials where the killer must sacrifice the survivors to The Entity in order to please it. Not only does the existence of The Entity provide a sense of understanding as to what these characters are doing, but it also provides a backstory as to how they got in this unfortunate situation.
To learn about this backstory, we must turn to another unplayable character that exists only to provide the DBD community with more lore: The Observer. The Observer can be accessed by players by going to The Archives and learning about all the characters’ pasts. The Observer teaches us this through his device, The Auris, with which he can penetrate through The Entity’s Fog and learn the memories of all the survivors and killers. We learn how Meg went from running high school track to running loops around The Deathslinger; how The Hillbilly was locked up as a child because of birth deformities and later escaped, killing his parents/torturers and becoming a crazed killer; and (most intriguing to me), how the likes of Nancy Wheeler, Bill Overbeck, Freddy Kreuger, and Pyramid Head were all transported to this realm.
With licensing characters from other film and video game franchises comes a lot of boring legal terms that must be followed. However, the developers of DBD, Behaviour Interactive, sought to create a link between these characters’ respective worlds and the world of The Entity. Because of this, each licensed killer and survivor has their own origin story unique to the Dead by Daylight game but still coinciding with their backstory created by their designers. For example, the game explains that Steve Harrington was in the Hawkins National Laboratory looking for Nancy who had called for him when the ground opened up, swallowed him whole, and he awoke “in a strange place that seemed familiar but unfamiliar at the same time.” These sorts of stories are consistent with every licensed character, and even the ones created by BHVR themselves. That is the kind of in-depth lore that has captured the hearts of a dedicated community.
The connections between the origins of licensed characters and their roles in the game do not stop at their backstories. Their corresponding perks, add-ons, map offerings, and cosmetics all have ties to the movies or games which these characters originated from. This level of dedication by the development team to create a game that has such a deep storyline is unrivaled in comparison to any other game I have played. The community is so attached to these characters and their stories that there are countless comedic shorts on YouTube and cosplay tutorials and fan art on Reddit.
I would say that this is one of the biggest reasons why this game and community is still growing and thriving. With 4 new DLCs being released each year, I am so excited to see the levels to which this never-ending lore will reach.