We recently had the opportunity to speak with Mathieu Côté, the game director for Dead by Daylight at Behavior Interactive, and among other things we discussed the oddity that is the esports scene for the game. From the beginning of the game’s conception, the developers had to decide what manner of game they would make, and that has carried forward since the release of Dead by Daylight.
Côté describes that early process, saying that, “In the beginning, the choice was between focusing on a competitive game, or a narrative one, and narrative has been the decision since the beginning.” This is apparent in the deep level of worldbuilding Behavior Interactive has worked to achieve and which can be seen in the survivor and killer lore, the description of selectable perks, and most recently, the fantastic addition of the Archives.
Still, a competitive side to Dead by Daylight has existed since the game was released in 2016, and it is fascinating to watch and a testament to the skill that some players have in all aspects of being a survivor or a killer. Recently Twitch Rivals hosted some of the best streamers of the game for a Halloween special that awarded points and cash prizes to the best players, though how one quantifies best is a point to consider.
With regards to Behavior Interactive’s role in an esports scene, Côté describes how, “We’ve made some efforts to accommodate the esports version of the game. We’ve added a little a few functionalities to kill your friends mode, like spectating for casting as things happen.” At its core however, it is not easy, or even desirable to design around this kind of a mode,
“because at its heart, [Dead by Daylight] is an anti-social game and encourages anti-social multiplayer. It’s a game that does not work well as a team sport, as a singles sport. The fact that at the end of the game you are the one judging if you had a good game or not is a big deal. If you hid the entire game but live, does that make it a good game? As a killer you could chase all match and have great placement with traps and such, and in the end, everyone escapes but maybe you got 60,000 Bloodpoints, so did you still lose? That makes it difficult to quantify and awkward for esports.”
Perhaps then the best part of watching these competitive events is not to see who the “best” player is, since that is difficult to quantify, but instead to celebrate the fun that is Dead by Daylight. This writer certainly loves watching Twitch streamers like Rupture and Orzdarva, both because they exemplify high skill and knowledge about the game, but also because it motivates viewers to dive in and try something new and see if they can improve.
With that said, Côté was clear in saying that, “we will always help people who want to do tournaments. We are there to support them if we can, and keep an eye out, but I don’t think to a certain extent, the target audience who are into the most competitive parts they might not be as excited for Dead by Daylight in that context.”
Source: Source: Mathieu Côté, Game Director for Dead by Daylight at Behavior Interactive