Dead By Daylight is an asymmetrical, multiplayer-only survival horror game developed by Behavior Interactive and published by Starbreeze Studios, which was released on Steam for Microsoft Windows on June 14, 2016. A multiplayer-only title, the game can be played with anywhere between 2-5 players. In it, one player controls the Killer (a Slasher villain archetype) while the other 1-4 players control survivors that must avoid the Killer at all costs while attempting to escape the enclosed zone they are trapped in.
A supernatural entity of unknown, though ultimately ancient and evil, place known as The Entity is awakened from its slumber whenever great violence and malice occurs in the world. The Entity has the ability to yank serial murderers out of reality for it to ensorcel into doing its bidding, as the Entity can only continue to exist so long as sacrifices to it continue, and thus it forces these killers to seek out victims in its name so that it may feed off of their hope and steal a piece of their soul upon their untimely demise. At this point however the Entity will bring the victim back to life in order to repeat the trial, keeping itself alive for all eternity unless the victims can figure out how to escape.
These victims, known as survivors, are pulled into the Entity's alternate reality should they wander too close to the places that the particular killers were pulled from, and disappear from the real world without a single trace to their having existed. Finding themselves at a campfire not only for their first appearance but also any time that they are resurrected, they are trapped here until a killer is ready to pursue them all over again. Even after escaping one of the killer's realms, the survivors only find themselves back at this campfire.
Interestingly, survivors can gain the Entity's favor, appealing to it by constructing and burning their own offerings. This is because of the Entity's feeding on their hopes; although evil, it is not truly aligned one way or another and can be considered neutral to either party. In effect, the Entity is simply an impartial party trying to keep itself alive.
Although the timeline of the game is obscure, three locations exist as the alternate reality, split into twelve separate maps. These locations are stated as being based upon the areas where each of the three killers became murderers. These include the secluded forest of the Trapper, the abandoned junkyard, or the decrepit cornfield.
The game plays as a 1 vs. 1-4, with the killer playing against the survivors. Each have different play styles and their own pros and cons.
All players, no matter their class, are able to unlock items, perks, and offerings through the use of the Bloodweb. Every action a player performs within a match gives that player a corresponding number of Bloodpoints, with the sum being added up at the end of each match. Each level of the Bloodweb is procedurally generated, and it will continue to get larger as the player's character gains levels. Rewards are connected to one another through a "skillset" tree, through which the player can purchase rewards along their personal progression path in hopes of gaining access to further rewards. Once all of these rewards have been purchased upon a tree, the Bloodweb generates a new level for the player to progress through, increasing that character's level by 1.
Items included within a Bloodweb may consist of items, add-ons for said items that may increase their efficiency, offerings that can be sacrificed at the beginning of a match to influence its conditions, and perks that will permanently make a character more powerful. Whereas offerings and add-ons may only be used once, regular items can be re-used until the player either dies or loses them. Items can also be acquired via chests strewn about the map, though these will not affect the character's Bloodweb, but they can be brought through the exit and kept until death or loss just like any other item.
As a Killer's special ability is tied to their item and they are otherwise invulnerable, their items are permanent and cannot be changed.
The killer plays from a first-person perspective. Although only one player controls the Killer, there are actually three available killers in the game, with the particular killer the player will control being selected at random. Each of these have their own unique talent that can be exploited to great affect in capturing their victims. Like the Survivors, Killers possess X-Ray vision, although theirs allows them to see every single generator and meat hook on the map.
The killer cannot run or crouch. Instead he can only power walk, moving at a very fast pace that is slightly faster than the full sprint of a survivor. Despite this, they are slower in most other actions. For instance, they must stop to wipe blood off their weapon after striking a survivor. They are also slower at climbing through windows and are unable to leap over any of the barricades that the survivors place in his path; instead he must spend a sufficiently lengthy amount of time destroying them, giving survivors a chance to escape.
To win, the Killer must capture the survivors either by striking them twice with their weapon (the first strike will cause the survivor to limp, while the second attack instead drops them to crawl on the ground, making them susceptible to a capture), or by catching them while they are prone in other manners, such as while hiding from him inside of lockers, while attempting to vault over pallets and windows, escaping through a trap door, or while repairing a generator. Uniquely, the Hillbilly carries a chainsaw that will instead drop the survivor in one hit.
The Trapper has the ability to set bear traps to capture the survivors that can be found lying around the area. These can be tripped by either the intended targets, the survivors, or the Trapper himself. As such, the Trapper needs to recall which traps he has set and avoid them to prevent becoming trapped himself. Should he become trapped, it will take him a short amount of time to reset it with his foot.
Initially, once a victim is captured the Killer is forced to sacrifice them upon one of the many meat hooks in the area where he must wait for the demonic claws of The Entity to eventually finish them off. The first time a survivor is hooked they will enter the "normal phase", where they have a low chance of escaping unless helped by another survivor. If they escape yet are hooked a second time, they enter the "struggle phase" instead, in which they must resist The Entity's attempt to stab them by rapidly pressing the space bar. They will die instantaneously should they get hooked a third time. Also, if the Killer earns enough experience they can unlock single-use items that include the ability to finish off a victim immediately with their weapon instead of the lengthy process of taking them to meat hooks.
The survivors play from a third-person perspective, giving them a better awareness of their surroundings to more accurately keep an eye on the far more powerful Killer. There are four possible Survivors to play as: Claudette Morel, Dwight Fairfield, Jake Park, and Meg Thomas. Like the Killers, the Survivors possess X-Ray Vision, although theirs allows them to see the location of any heavily injured teammates (to allow them to more easily rescue them), any newly repaired generators, as well as the exit doors once they have been unlocked. The also possess other advantages over the Killer, which include a sort of "Killer Sensor": Once the Killer draws near, the Survivors will hear a heartbeat, followed by tense music that will increase in intensity with proximity to the Killer. They also can see a red light emanating from the killer's eyes that indicates that player's approximate field of view. Survivors also utilize more advanced movement options, consisting of sprinting, running, and crouch-walking. As they are far weaker than the otherwise invincible Killer, they need to elude him by taking advantage of darkness, crouching behind objects, hiding in buildings, amongst foliage, or inside of lockers.
Survivors can use a handful of items and traps in the area to try and aid them in their survival: For instance, stacks of wooden pallets in the area to set one-time use traps for the Killer which will subdue them temporarily by pulling them down and stunning the Killer. Upon activation however, the Killer will eventually destroy them with their foot. First-Aid Kits can sometimes be found in chests that will allow a player to heal themselves as opposed to having to await help from another Survivor. Flashlights will temporarily blind the killer to make escape easier in a pinch, and tool-kits can be used both to repair generators more quickly or to disable sacrificial meat hooks.
Ultimately, the goal of the various survivors is to escape the zone and return to the purgatorial campfire. This can be done in one of two ways: For much of the game, the survivors are tasked with repairing generators that will open a door that leads out of the area. These generators usually appear in numbers that are one greater than the number of survivors currently playing in a match. Repairing these objects however requires a lengthy period of time, during which the Survivor is considered prone and available for easy capture. During this time, occasional and random reflex tests will take place: These consist of a needle inside of a circle that will spin around, requiring the player to press either the space bar or the left mouse button when the needle is within a specific section of the circle. Failure to do this correctly will set the repairs back a certain amount, and will also cause an explosion that will alert the Killer to the activity. This same reflex trail takes place while attempting to heal a teammate.
If all generators are repaired, one of the survivors will need to locate a switch next to one of the possible exit doors and hold it long enough for it to open and allow for them all to escape. Even with this, the game will not end until either all players have successfully escaped or have been killed. Because of this, while some Survivors may escape early, those inside are forced to continue playing. Those who have already escaped or perished can remain in observation mode to view the other players to its conclusion or prematurely return to the menu to join a new game.
An alternate escape method opens up once either only one Survivor is left alive or at least 2 generators have been previously activated. This secondary escape route consists of a trapdoor that will appear at one of several predetermined locations.
Should the Survivor get caught by the Killer, they can attempt to wiggle free from his grasp while he carries them to one of the various meat hooks. Should they succeed in wriggling free they can try to run away, although the Killer is always faster than them, even at full sprint, making hiding or taking advantage of the terrain and traps a necessity. Should they fail to escape and become impaled on a meat hook, they can pull themselves from the hook; this however is likely to backfire and injure the player further, drawing them ever closer to death.