On the eve of its 60th anniversary – and a few days before the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia – the video game saga Dead by Daylight adopts the colors of the rainbow. Survivor David King blows the closet door flying, becoming the first gay character in gaming history.
“The LGBT community is very important. Feeling supported, feeling that you can express yourself freely, these are things that all humans should have access to. This is very important to us,” says Dave Richard, creative director at Behavior Interactive, the Montreal studio behind Dead by Daylight.
But what is Dead by Daylight?
It is a multiplayer, asymmetrical horror game created from scratch by the Montreal studio Behavior Interactif. Players can choose their clan (killer or survivor) to play cat and mouse in gloomy and threatening environments from which potential victims must escape.
Since launching in 2016, Dead by Daylight has become home to some of horror's greatest icons, welcoming bogeymen like Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger, Leatherface and Ghostface to its ranks. The pool of survivors includes the Laurie Strode, Ash Williams and other Cheryl Masons of this world.
The Montreal studio has been trying to deviate from the heteronormative narrative for a while now in certain chapters and volumes of its Dead by Daylight. It was just a matter of finding the perfect context to do it, as well as “taking the necessary time” to do it the right way.
GamerX, a firm specializing in inclusion in the world of video games, came to lend a hand to Behavior Interactif in this process.
It is therefore in the new volume of the archives of Dead by Daylight, entitled Devotion, that we discover more about the past of David King, in particular his personal conflicts about his sexual orientation. A former boyfriend is evoked, like the difficulty that our hero once experienced in accepting his homosexuality.
Other than this portion of the story, the impact on the gameplay experience is minimal. Because no, David King has not been modified to sweat homosexuality. The approximately 50 million players of Dead by Daylight will therefore find the character as they have always known him.
“As in reality, whether you are heterosexual, bisexual or gay does not change anything. He does not change personality or look. We just wanted to add more content to its history and context,” says Dave Richard.
This isn't Behavior Interactive's first inclusion effort; the Montreal studio had already solidified its role as an ally to the LGBT community with the addition of a charm in the colors of pride, two years ago.
Other studios have also explored gay, lesbian and bisexual storylines in recent years. We need only think of The Last of Us Part II which gave its heroine a spouse, Mortal Kombat which (albeit discreetly) included a homosexual character in its stable, or even The Sims which allows players to choose the sexual orientation of its characters.
"In the future, it should become normal," concludes Dave Richard.
The 11th Volume of the Archives, Devotion, is currently available.