We recently had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Mathieu Côté, the game director at Behavior Interactive for Dead by Daylight. One of the most interesting points that came up during our discussion came from asking if The Cabin in the Woods was still his favorite film, because Côté revealed a deeper connection between it and the game.
When asked if he was the biggest horror film buff at the studio, Côté replied, “I’m not the biggest buff here, because we do have a few intense fans here, and I am a bit of a wuss, but I do enjoy a good story. Whatever style it is, I do watch a lot of movies. The Cabin in the Woods is still a favorite of mine, by far.”
For the unfamiliar, The Cabin in the Woods is a 2012 horror comedy film directed by Drew Goddard that both honors and subverts the horror genre tropes that have been staples in film over the past few decades. Not since Scream by Wes Anderson in 1996 have we seen a horror film pick itself apart at the seam to deliver a fun, original story that still resonates today.
In The Cabin in the Woods, a yearly ritualistic sacrifice is artificially manufactured around the world in different cultures with the goal of appeasing elder beings that would otherwise destroy humanity. The cabin is rigged with cameras and high-tech customizations to allow for manipulation of its environment, and the visitors and planned victims play a part in unwittingly choosing how they will die by activating relics that summon one from a broad range of terrors.
Côté says of the film, “The Cabin in the Woods will always have a special place for me because it is making fun and also honoring the tradition of horror, and it does so in such a smart way, I think, to have a great reason to why these things are happening.”
In many ways, Dead by Daylight is similar in its core concept, minus any attempt at humor. A group of up to four survivors must elude a mysterious killer in a world that is familiar, but not quite ours. There is no use fighting the killer, and escape is the only option. The killer meanwhile works to sacrifice survivors to the mysterious Entity for reasons unknown.
Côté then revealed that there was a special connection between the film and game, and that with different timing, things might have turned out differently, “It’s almost good that we didn’t manage to get in touch with them before we shipped, because we very easily could have transformed this into The Cabin in the Woods game. The setting is similar and why this is happening over and over, why is there such a variety of killers, but it might have limited us if we had done that.”
It is easy to see why some crossover and collaboration might have been useful from a design perspective, at least at first. In the film, viewers are shown early on that there are dozens of horrors that could be released to kill the survivors when the control staff are betting on which will be selected. Later on there appear to be hundreds of options that could potentially be chosen, including some Easter Eggs from Left for Dead 2 and other horror franchises.
In the long term however, Behavior Interactive has created something totally unique, and the world in which the Entity exists stands strong on its own. Now Dead by Daylight continues to see its own lore develop with Behavior Interactive’s commitment to an ongoing narrative, but it is fun to consider what might have been if the game had instead become The Cabin in the Woods game.
Source: Source: Mathieu Cote, Game Director for Dead by Daylight at Behavior Interactive