Dead by Daylight Creative Director Dave Richard interview: “Finding and stacking building blocks”

by on March 12, 2023

With the release of Dead by Daylight: Tools of Torment, DbD has reached an impressive twenty seven chapter updates since it launched in 2016. It’s been a big part of my life for most of that time, and I always look forward each new killer I can add to my murderous collection. Tools of Torment didn’t disappoint in that regard, and I was lucky enough to ask Creative Director Dave Richard some questions about the new content and some of the other big moments from the last year of Dead by Daylight‘s life.

In Chapter 27 you’ve introduced a new killer, The Skull Merchant. With drones as part of her power and a very striking appearance, she feels like a very modern slasher killer. What made the team decide to go in this direction with the character?

I describe the process of designing a character as finding and stacking building blocks. It starts with an idea and then we build from there. We had this idea to use technology as a fear-inducing aid – we wanted our Killer to use technology in a very macabre way. Once this became clear in our minds we imagined what we wanted this Killer to look like and what could her backstory be. The Skull Merchant is scary because she is cold, brutal and calculated. She is the ultimate apex Killer.

It seems like drones would almost be too powerful a tool for a Dead by Daylight killer, how did you make that work in the game?

There’s always a fine balance in our game – we want Killers to be powerful but not too powerful. So indeed we decided that the drones would help her surveil her victims, rather than say attacking the Survivors. That way it gives her an edge without making her overpowering, which I believe works well in game.

"Finding and stacking building blocks" | Creative Director Dave Richard: Dead by Daylight interview

With over thirty killers in the game it must be difficult to come up with new mechanics and perk ideas. What’s this process like?

It’s… a process! We always try to push the envelope and attempt to create new mechanics that feel fresh and fun. We also have the added layer of complexity of needing to create perks that will work on many other characters and will be combined. Indeed it’s a lengthy process and we put of lot of time and effort into it.

As well as The Skull Merchant, this chapter update includes two new survivors. One of the focuses of their perks is that of teamwork. Was it important for you to try and encourage survivors to work together more?

Renato and Thalita are our first set of Siblings Survivors, and so we wanted to really drive the point of cooperation home. For these two, nothing is more important than each other and their community and we wanted their Perks to reflect that. We’re glad that this is opening up a broader conversation about cooperation in game. As for those who like to play using a more conservative approach to their survival, that is fine as well! But certainly with the Siblings, let’s celebrate working together!

With nine new perks entering the game from these three characters, character builds are likely to be shaken up. Are there any particular perks from the selection that you’re excited for the Dead by Daylight community to try out?

The Teamwork Perk is, for me, the one I am most excited for players to try. There are so many ways to play Dead by Daylight but in the game, as in life, I’d like people to work together for a better outcome.

Last year one of the biggest balance updates in Dead by Daylight history was released, changing a whole host of perks across killer and survivor. Are you happy with the changes made? Are there plans to do more massive shake ups in the future?

We are very happy with the changes that we’ve made in our biggest perk overhaul to date. While I cannot comment on what’s to come, I can tell you that having a balanced game is super important to us and something we’re going to continue to focus on.

Another highlight of Dead by Daylight in 2022 for me personally was the reveal that survivor David King is a member of the LGBTQ community. What made you decide to announce this, and are there plans for more LGBTQ characters in the future?

Diversity and inclusion is so important to us and this was a first step in this direction. David King is a beloved character who’s past had been pretty murky until then – it made sense for us, at this moment in his story, to unveil this part of his life. We are so thrilled by our community’s reaction and the LGBTQIA+ community’s reaction. I can only tell you that it’s the beginning.

It has just been announced that a Dead By Daylight movie is coming. What has it been like working with Blumhouse and Atomic Monster on this exciting new project?

It has been very exciting and a really fun ride so far – we can’t wait for what’s to come!

At this point we’ve had Dead by Daylight crossovers with huge properties like Stranger Things, Resident Evil and Halloween to name but a few. Are there any horror icons left you’d like to see in the game in the future?

There are many that have yet to make their way into the game… keep your eyes peeled!