If there is one genre that seems to effortlessly encompass every aspect of entertainment, from books to films to gaming – and even theme parks! – and audiences never get tired of it, it is definitely horror. People never cease to yearn for that titillating feeling that only horror-themed activities provide, which is why we have seen such an abundance of great horror movies lately. Dead by Daylight is an excellent addition to that long-standing series of gaming titles that build on a horror theme – and it has recently upped its game by including an iconic movie character in its roster of playable characters. Who could be next on the list?
Famous killers in the franchise
Dead by Daylight hit the PC market in 2016 and was then released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One a year later. It has already amassed a widespread fanbase, especially among players who love survival horror games. What has helped it gain popularity, besides its fast-paced action and an incredibly accurate horror atmosphere, is its unique concept, which allows gamers to enjoy classic horror movie characters in a new way. The set-up of the game allows up to five players to join in, one of whom plays as a savage serial killer, while the rest play as the victims, trying to escape doom. They can do so either by managing to connect several generators scattered across the game map or by escaping through an exit hatch. Meanwhile, the killer is out to get them, using the unique powers available to each playable character. And what a set of killers Dead by Daylight offers: from the Shape to the Nightmare, horror fans will delight to see some of the most feared on-screen murderers.
With a whole host of horrendous villains to choose from, who will Dead by Daylight include next?
Freddy Krueger, also known as the Nightmare on Elm Street in the popular franchise of the same name, is one of the most beloved characters in the game – and beyond. Starting with the first film, titled A Nightmare on Elm Street, which was released in 1984, Freddy has since catapulted to fame and starred in many video gaming spin-offs. These include 1990’s A Nightmare on Elm Street and 1994’s Freddy: A Nightmare on Elm Street, as well as a 5-reel A Nightmare on Elm Street online slots game featuring the images of Freddy and his victims as symbols. He also made history as being the second non-Mortal Kombat character to be included in the 2011 Mortal Kombat game (besides Kratos from God of War) as well as the mobile game Mortal Kombat X. Michael Myers, the legendary Shape from the Halloween franchise, is another high-prestige playable killer in the game and the second one to be included. The star of John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween movie that recently saw a sequel hit the theatres in 2018 is a firm fan favourite, along with Leatherface, the deranged protagonist of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre series of films, and the Pig from the Saw franchise.
What does the future hold for Dead by Daylight?
In total, Dead by Daylight boasts of 16 playable killers – with its most recent addition being the Ghost Face from Scream, who was added in June 2019. The inclusion of another one of the most instantly recognisable horror icons – well-known even by people who have never watched a single Scream movie – signals that the developers behind the game are constantly looking for ways to keep excitement about the game going. And they seem to be doing a great job so far: Dead by Daylight is played by an impressive 13.42% of gamers on Steam (not bad for a game in the survival horror genre!), having won over between 5 and 10 million estimated owners. It also holds a 71% rating and has an average playtime of 6 hours.
Introducing another character has generated plenty of hype, and the game’s producers seem keen on including several new characters each year, so it seems only fitting that they will choose another famous killer for the next round. For example, the recent reboot of the It franchise has performed very well in theatres and could see some fans supporting Pennywise as a natural choice. And it is very likely that Behaviour Interactive will move heaven and earth in order to get their hands on a licensed character at the moment where their franchise is trying to revamp them. The same holds for Chucky, who is a much-loved horror icon and is set to also see a remake/reboot of the original 1988 film that first brought the demonic doll into the spotlight. Child’s Play, featuring Chucky again on a killing spree, hit US cinemas in June 21, 2019, so the timing could not be more appropriate.
Sadako and the Ring franchise
Dead by Daylight developers could also go down a completely different path and choose a character that also has a strong connection to the Asian market, in an attempt to maximise the game’s appeal with an international audience – especially Asian players, who are among the most enthusiastic players worldwide. After all, China ranks second in terms of estimated gaming revenue for 2019, at a total of $36.54 billion, only slightly behind the US that tops the list at $36,869 million. Japan is third with a whopping $18,952 million, while South Korea ranks fourth at $6,194 million. European gaming markets like Germany, the UK (at well below $6 billion) and France still lag behind.
Could we see Sadako added to Dead by Daylight?
In such a case, a natural choice for the producers could be Sadako, the antagonist of the Ring horror novel series penned by Japanese author Koji Suzuki. Several Japanese adaptations of the novels have won over audiences in the country, but Sadako gained worldwide fame when a US remake of the 1998 Ring film by Hideo Nakata hit the big screen in 2002. Popular with American and European audiences, the Ring was soon followed by two sequels and became an industry trailblazer, leading to more US reboots of Asian horror movies. Sadako, the ghost of a murdered psychic, is as iconic a horror movie character as they get and would be a great addition to the series.
Whatever the choice by the developers is, one thing is certain: Dead by Daylight is lucky to have a lot of widely popular source material to choose from, and its course to video gaming fame has just begun.