Dead by Daylight’s diverse cast of Killers and Survivors gained its first LGBT+ character recently when the rough and ill-tempered David King was confirmed to be gay. This revelation was shared within the latest Tome from the in-game Archives mode, a feature which yields lore tidbits and rewards for completing challenges. Given that this is the first LGBT+ inclusion in-game, Dead by Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive gave this announcement its own dedicated news page, too, for those who aren’t frequent visitors of the Archives.
Speaking to ComicBook.com, Dead by Daylight creative director Dave Richard said that the studio worked with the GaymerX organization to determine two things: If there was “a good fit for an LGBTQ narrative,” Richard said, and if the community and the developers were ready for that sort of story. Based in part on the analysis from GaymerX, Behaviour determined David King would be the candidate for this initiative.
Dead by Daylight has been active in the LGBT+ community for a while now both in terms of in-game accessories and supporting diverse content creators, so why was now the right time for an LGBT+ narrative? Richard told us that near the start of Dead by Daylight, a Survivor was intended to be a “shell character” supplemented with scraps of context so that players could form their own stories. As the game evolved with the Archives and more characters were added, relationships started appearing naturally in characters’ backstories. The Killer known as The Nurse had a husband, for example, and Ace Visconti is framed as a smooth-talking ladies’ man, but LGBT+ stories were absent from those bios. Richard said the community pointed out this discrepancy which led the developers to look for ways to rectify that omission.
“And so our LGBTQ community told us, ‘Well, you have this, so you’re not following your own rule,'” Richard said. “And we said, ‘You’re right. You’re absolutely correct.’ So let’s make sure that we do this. Okay, let’s take the time to develop the right angle and the right story to have a great narrative that will not feel token. And I’m seeing that for David King’s narrative.”‘
But David isn’t a new character, and he wasn’t always described as “gay” – at least, not as far as the lore of Dead by Daylight is concerned. In Memory 342 of the game’s second Tome, an ex-girlfriend of David’s was even mentioned. That doesn’t contradict or invalidate Behaviour’s recent announcement, but until now, that’s all players knew about David in terms of his sexuality.
Retroactive announcements like that are sometimes criticized by those who would’ve wanted to see a new character created rather than see an existing one retconned. Richard said an LGBT+ narrative in a new Chapter was something considered – and is still planned for the future – but that this retroactive reveal was decided on with speed in mind.
“Definitely making a whole Chapter around an LGBTQ narrative was and is still part of our plan in the future,” Richard said. “But we wanted to make sure that this content was in the hands of our player as soon as possible. And doing a Chapter, especially when it’s let’s say out of our comfort zone, it takes time, way more time. And we plan the Chapter way in advance. So we’re not as nimble. So we would have to wait even more. That’s why we chose to do it retroactively. It’s one of the reasons.”
Even before this announcement about David, parts of the community had drawn their own conclusions, or at least expressed their wishes, about that Survivor and others through fanart and shipping different characters with one another. If you browse through any trending Dead by Daylight topic on social media, there’s a fair chance you’ll stumble across some David King x Dwight Fairfield ships. Richard didn’t go into every specific factor in the decision to choose David for this LGBT+ announcement, but he said community sentiment including those ships definitely played a part.
“Of course. Yes, it did weigh in the balance in the choice of David,” Richard said when asked if he’d seen all the fanart and if that sort of thing was weighed by Behaviour. “David is a popular character. He’s loved by a lot of different players, no matter the background, but he is definitely a favorite into the LGBTQ ships with Dwight. So definitely that was weighed in.”
So, how does this announcement set a precedent for future Tomes and the expansion of Dead by Daylight’s lore? Does every Survivor or Killer from here on out need their own big reveal on par with David’s? Richard doesn’t believe so.
“No, definitely not. It’s not something that we’ll start to do, like having stats in the bio that says their exact age, their exact sexuality and stuff like that,” Richard said. “We don’t do this. We leave a lot to the interpretation of our players. And it also helps when identifying to these characters to leave some elements to interpretation of our players.”
Those looking to learn more about David King can play through Tome 11 which is currently available in Dead by Daylight and also shares insights into the stories of The Twins and The Observer. Behaviour also has an in-game pride charm which can be redeemed now with a special code.