The developers of Dead by Daylight announced on Wednesday that David King, a character introduced to the game in 2017, is gay. Reactions ranged from joy to outrage, and a Reddit thread discussing the decision was eventually locked.
“Homophobia will not be tolerated, if you see any, please report it”, a mod wrote in the wire. “This post is locked as it has gotten out of hand, but please check out our Update Set megathread if you want to discuss anything about the update (including this one).”
Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer horror game in which a team of survivors tries to outsmart a killer inspired or straight out of slasher movies like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween. It doesn’t need much backstory to work, but in 2019 developer Behavior Interactive added The Archives, which expanded the game’s lore with tomes that include audio stories and animations. The latest Tome, Devotion, features a new story by David King that “explores a deep personal connection” and plays out now – snippets of the stories are released over time.
Other characters’ romantic preferences have been hinted at in previous tomes – a character’s wife is mentioned, for example – but none have been made explicit, and until this new David King story, one might have understand that the 30 survivors of Dead by Daylight are all heterosexual. . In fact, in David King’s previous story, a former girlfriend is mentioned. (“Her ex has moved on and she doesn’t want to see his face.”)
“The fact that our character roster openly had no confirmed LGBTQIA2+ representation was something we were determined to change,” Behavior Interactive said in its blog post (here’s a LGBTQIA2+ definition). “After consulting extensively with the GaymerX organization, who shared their expertise in integrating LGBTQIA2+ themes into established games, we felt confident in the direction we have chosen.”
Many fans responded positively to the announcement, applauding the increased representation. Some players noted that by adding to an existing character’s backstory rather than introducing a DLC character, Behavior chose not to use the moment as an opportunity to sell inclusion. David King is one of Dead by Daylight’s most popular characters to play – he’s in a “comfortable position in the top ten”, says Behavior – and players will likely continue to choose him for the same reasons they always have. .
David King is one of the central characters in our brand new Tome, but he’s also a first step towards more representation in Dead by Daylight. Learn more: https://t.co/tTSozggnWj pic.twitter.com/zieDbEAaa8April 27, 2022
Other fans felt the ad was tacky, flattering, or didn’t go far enough. Some would have preferred a new character to be introduced, one of the arguments being that it’s not impossible to think that David King was randomly chosen as a token gay character, given his existing backstory.
“He’s literally a stereotypical British chav who would probably brag about his success with women in pubs. Like I’m gay and I’m not saying gay men can’t be hypermasculine fight junkies, but that’s not looks really out of place.” says a player. “Corny bends honestly.”
A number of negative or confused reactions have also come from people who didn’t know the announcement coincided with a new David King story – or who didn’t know Dead by Daylight contained stories, like me about a year ago. hour – and therefore believed that the developer had consulted GaymerX just to write a blog post stating that a character was gay. That would indeed be weird, but it’s not. The developer has announced that David King’s new story will establish that he identifies as gay, not just that he is gay.
The rest of the backlash comes largely from people and pundits who reject not just the idea of representation, but the identities themselves represented, and took the announcement as a cue for outraged soapboxing.
Using code PRIDE2022 in the in-game store will now unlock our new updated Charm, as well as the old one. Wear it with pride. 🌈 pic.twitter.com/7Z44vOtEs9April 27, 2022
Some of the positions in the thread now closed on the Dead by Daylight subreddit fit that description, though most player reviews were more along the lines of the “corny pandering” comment. Celebratory posts (“As someone who has been a Main David for years, this makes me feel pure bliss”) and counterpoints are also scattered throughout the Reddit thread. One player said he thinks others are mostly uncomfortable with accepting that an established character isn’t who they assume they are.
“I’m a gay guy, I’ve had four girlfriends”, the the player said. “[David King’s] Tome lore is probably going to be a coming out story, something I can relate to and something I’m sure a lot of other gay people would feel represented. What I mean is that it’s hard to call it symbolism because it happens in real life to almost all homosexuals. You don’t come out of the womb and you don’t let everyone know you’re gay. Homosexuals don’t even go out once. I have to let people find out for themselves that I’m gay or tell them myself every time I change jobs or meet new friends, and it’s always disconcerting to anticipate their reaction to confirmation of my direction. For that reason, I really hate that “Well, he wasn’t gay before, so I don’t like him now” argument because it happens to us in real life.”
On the game’s official forums, Dead by Daylight Community Manager Peanits developed on some of the decisions. Regarding David King’s past, “people often learn things about themselves over time,” they said. And regarding suggestions that a new character would have been better, Peanits said that putting the game’s first gay character behind a DLC paywall could have been seen as “promoting pride for profit”, as some gamers put it. also suggested. They also noted that new characters usually don’t have much backstory, so establishing their sexuality right away might overdo it. David King is already a fleshed out character, and so his sexuality will be part of him, but not everything there is to know about him, according to Peanits.
As for the future, with the ice broken, “it will be much easier to address these topics head-on and/or in a more subtle way,” they said.
Devotion is Dead by Daylight’s 11th Volume, and published Thursday. Besides David King’s story, it also features a tale about twins, a pair of conjoined twins from the 17th century (in case you forgot which game we were talking about). There is also an updated Pride Charm in-game, which can be acquired for free from the in-game store with the code “PRIDE2022”.