Dead by Daylight: The Ongoing Love-Hate Relationship Between Players and Behaviour Interactive

First and foremost, let me remind you (as a likely Dead by Daylight player), of a very familiar conversation:

Person: What are you playing?

You: Dead by Daylight.

Person: Is it fun?

You: No.

If the above conversation does not make sense to you, I promise that it will soon; or, if you ever spend more than 2 hours playing the game. Not even that. You could perhaps venture into any Dead by Daylight stream on Twitch for less than an hour and the above conversation would soon begin to make sense.

The endless love-hate relationship between players and Dead by Daylight arguably comes down to two things: Behaviour Interactive (BHVR) themselves, and the playerbase. The player base isn’t something I’ll talk about too much, as to be frank, we sadly can’t stop another player from being an asshole in this game (as with pretty much any game ever), but BHVR on the other hand… any Dead by Daylight player likely has a lot to say.

One brief scroll through the Dead by Daylight Twitter hashtag, subreddit or even its Steam forums, and you can see that fans have a lot of opinions on the game, and primarily Behaviour Interactive’s treatment of it. Whether you play as a survivor or killer, it seems to bring great frustration to almost all of its players, including myself. But do any of us actually stop playing it? The answer, for the majority, is no.

Having approached my friends – some of them being Dead by Daylight veterans – about this topic, I was met with a sigh or a groan almost every time. Yet these friends plunge hours into the game despite it being one that doesn’t exactly instil them with joy. 

Ever since it’s conception in 2016, Dead by Daylight has been riddled with issues that impact gameplay significantly. Just today I witnessed a glitched totem; a totem (Ruin, might I add) had spawned in such a place on the Lery’s Memorial Institute map that it was made impossible to cleanse. That certainly made for an interesting experience, with generators constantly regressing whenever nobody was attending to them, and no way to counteract it – what a lucky killer. The reality for players is that glitched totems are just the tip of the iceberg. As issues are fixed, new ones emerge; yet as they emerge, the amount of players still continues to rise.

Perhaps one of BHVR’s latest, and rather embarrassing predicaments, came with the launch of the Resident Evil chapter. This chapter saw Dead by Daylight’s player base absolutely skyrocket, with the game reaching its highest ever number of players online via Steam at one time. This was beyond fantastic for wait times in lobbies (something we are constantly complaining over but can’t exactly do much about), but the chapter itself was definitely launched a little too early. 

Firstly, the new map – Raccoon City Police Department – is beyond beautiful. It remains incredibly true to CAPCOM’s original franchise and as you run around the map fighting for your life – or slaughtering innocents – you can see the work that went into making RCPD visually stunning and crisp. That being said, the map was unplayable. Not just because it is frankly huge and incredibly hard to maneuver, but because the map would simply crash at every given opportunity… especially for console players. This meant that the map was removed from the game for almost an entire month after the chapter’s release, upsetting many fans who had been waiting to play out one of their favourite franchises in Dead by Daylight for a long time. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was one of these people. However, the removal of the map was also to many veterans’ relief, with it being an absolute maze even in all of it’s glory – I think many of us have gotten over that fact now, after a few games on it. When the map was finally reinstated – funnily enough, in time for the game’s 5th anniversary – it still crashed on console and came alongside a lot of bugs that took far too long to smooth out.

As if that wasn’t enough, the new killer from the Resident Evil chapter, our beloved Nemesis, was also introduced with a few issues of his own. The first being that he was arguably overpowered, with his tentacle being able to reach lengths we have never seen on a killer before. This, alongside his zombies – who are a huge pain in the ass when they aren’t glitching and getting stuck on rocks and walls – proved to be a pretty tough game for the survivors. However, I will give BHVR credit for getting on top of fixing the Nemesis issues quite quickly. The map however, was obviously a different ballpark. 

I mentioned the fact that I experienced an impossible totem today. But what other issues remain in the game that await a fix? Putting aside the issues that players incur from lag spikes and server issues, there are broken Dead Hard’s, premature hatch spawns, survivors getting stuck (or just floating!?), overpowered perks and also so many perks that it would literally take you hundreds (in fact, probably thousands) of hours to max out all of your characters… Yet, we have been made aware that a new killer – the legendary Pinhead – is soon being introduced to the games store. This is great news for horror fans across the board, but it is saddening to many players that BHVR are not working on much-needed fixes prior to the release of new content.

As with many game production companies, BHVR is falling into the group of those who are being accused of taking their players’ precious money rather than prioritising the bugs and glitches that ruin the experience of the game. This does ring true, considering the amount of cosmetics we see added with every update compared to the amount of actual fixes made. Yet, even the cosmetics and skins are regularly glitched too, which makes me wonder if BHVR are honestly just struggling to keep people happy. If I share my own honest opinion here too, I would suggest that it is the latter.

In light of the issues both survivor and killer mains face when playing the game, the same players who complain still continue to religiously play, which goes to show that there remains a uniqueness – and sometimes, dare I say it, a level of fun – within the game that keeps people attached to it. Players often bond over, and have a good laugh at, the regular glitches we come across. For example, floating a meter or so away from the hook when the killer has hooked you, or witnessing zombies walk into walls repeatedly, or finding areas of the map that should not be accessible. Despite the frustrations we may face as the killer or a survivor, a good majority of the gameplay is solely dependent upon other players, so when the game is played ‘correctly’, anyone and everyone seems to have a good time. 

There is nothing quite like playing a 4-person ‘survive with friends’ and screaming at each other as one of you wastes the pallet of the killer shack before the first generator pops; or rejoicing with each other as you the gates are opened and you run to ‘take hits’ so your final friend can be saved from a hook and make their escape. Even as a killer, when you’re getting completely destroyed by the survivors whom your sole purpose is to destroy, there are laughs to be had when they beg to ‘boop the snoot’ as you play as The Pig. Or, if you’re a lucky Michael Myers main and get placed against someone who’s display name is conveniently ‘simp4myers’, there is great satisfaction to be had in pretending to be their friend and then treating them to a Mori. For Dead by Daylight newbies, that’s essentially a nice animated death sequence; Myers essentially chokes his victim out as he plunges his knife straight into their heart. For ‘simp4myers’, they probably find it fun too, and maybe they will find a twisted level of romance in it (they always do). I will shamelessly admit that my display name was once ‘SIMP 4 GHOSTFACE’ for too long, and there was great fun in being unable to tell whether Ghostface would befriend me to let me live, or solely to stalk and brutally murder me during endgame collapse. It is the unpredictability of the game itself, and its players, that makes it a great laugh and love for so much of the player base despite its faults. It’s perhaps these small, amusing moments that really make the game so much more worthwhile and encourage people to keep coming back – even the veterans who swear off the game… that return less than 24 hours later.

I am not the first nor the last to say that Behaviour Interactive ought to prioritise some of their repetitive bugs before launching any form of new cosmetic, map, killer or chapter. Yet, a huge part of me believes that the team at BHVR keep releasing new things to somewhat distract us from the mess that the game can be. We have seen poor production and generally horrific management at work, especially in light of ActiBlizzard news and the World of Warcraft versus Final Fantasy 14 discussions that are still ongoing. So with this in mind, I would suggest that Behaviour Interactive do deserve a break. 

Dead by Daylight is beyond frustrating, but we need to ask ourselves where the frustration stems from primarily. Is it the bugs that come and go, the cosmetic glitches, server issues or solely other players who take the fun out of the game? And despite this, what is it that makes us as players keep returning to the game and never giving up on it? I would suggest that Behaviour Interactive’s open line of communication, the more wholesome half of the playerbase, the references to cult horror franchises and the constant new content is what makes it all worthwhile. 

I’ll be the first to admit that Dead by Daylight’s issues can often become insufferable – almost encouraging you to Alt + F4 from the game sometimes – but there is a layer to the game that almost always brings players back. The love-hate relationship that both newbies and veterans have with this game will simply never go away, and in some way, that’s sort of what makes Dead by Daylight special.

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