Horror

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Sci-fi horror is all the rage these days, with Scorn, SIGNALIS, The Callisto Protocol and the upcoming Greyhill Incident all capitalizing on the voguish trend. Even Dead Space (a franchise that was driven into the ground by its own publisher and forced into complete dormancy for almost a decade) has managed to make itself relevant again.

Always with its finger on the pulse, Dead by Daylight is looking to get in on the action next with its Chapter 28 DLC. This imminent expansion — which is scheduled for release on DbD’s copper anniversary — will see the multiplayer game take to the stars and promises to really shake things up with fresh content that’s unlike anything they’ve ever done before.

And what better way is there to celebrate 7 years of asymmetrical bloodshed than to go intergalactic? After all, crossing that final frontier is pretty much the crowing achievement of any slasher franchise that has legs.

If you can keep the money rolling in for long enough, then you eventually get to go to space. Those are just the rules. It was only a matter of time then, before Dead by Daylight followed in the footsteps of Hellraiser, Friday the 13th and Leprechaun before it and ditched the confines of Planet Earth.

Bringing a lot to the table, Chapter 28 will introduce an original map, an additional survivor and a totally unique killer. To learn more about what’s waiting for us in the farthest reaches of the cosmos, we attended a recent press conference hosted by developer Behaviour Interactive.

Here, we gained a deeper insight into the DLC’s alien environments and discovered what makes the new “Singularity” character such a distinctly menacing opponent.


The Year Ahead…

Before we got stuck into Chapter 28 (titled End Transmission), we were walked through the content roadmap for the next twelve months.

Fans will be pleased to hear that they are going to be treated to a whopping six major updates this year, the first of which is obviously End Transmission.

After this, there will then be three more fully-fledged chapters (adding both licenced and original characters to the roster), as well as two smaller updates that are billed as “survivor-only” DLCs.

In terms of chronology, the breakdown for 2023/24 is as follows:

  • 1st: End Transmission
  • 2nd: Nicolas Cage Chapter (Survivor Only)
  • 3rd: Licenced Chapter with Killer + Survivor
  • 4th: Licenced Chapter with Killer + Survivor
  • 5th: Survivor Only Chapter
  • 6th: Original Chapter with Killer + Survivor

Alongside all of this, various quality- of-life improvements will also be rolled out throughout the year.

An anti-camping system will be implemented to promote good sportsmanship and to discourage cheap tactics, while a new search-bar function will enable players to navigate their sprawling inventories with greater ease.

Most exciting of all, however, is the introduction of “survivor disconnect bots.” Swooping in whenever a sore loser rage quits or somebody encounters crippling network issues, these A.I.-controlled teammates will fill the vacancy left behind. They might not be flawless substitutes for your fellow human players, but they will at least ensure that matches can continue in some form if the lobby starts to dwindle for whatever reason.


The Perfect Lifeform…

Speaking of Artificial Intelligence — and the implications of it one day replacing us — it turns out that this will actually be the main theme of the latest DLC.

While many in the DbD community were understandably hoping for an Alien chapter (with a playable Xenomorph), the game’s first foray into sci-fi horror is a wholly original affair instead. That being said, the ideas that it will be tapping into ought to be instantly familiar to anyone whose seen movies like The Terminator, Westworld or Richard Stanley’s Hardware.

Set in the distant future, the basic premise of End Transmission is that a group of human settlers have arrived on a strange, exotic world. Hoping to colonise it for the sake of mankind, they dispatch a state-of-the-art A.I. to scout out this foreign terrain and identify any potential hazards.

Unfortunately, the servile android ends up learning a little too much on its reconnaissance mission and starts to wonder why it should be taking orders from these fragile meatbags in the first place. No prizes for guessing what happens next.

As A.I. is wont to do, the machine inevitably comes to the conclusion that humans are just a waste of oxygen and decides to overthrow its masters, picking them off one by one. By the time the DLC opens, this purge is nearing completion and only a single member of the crew is still breathing.

The ensuing confrontation between Gabriel Soma (the chapter’s new survivor) and The Singularity (the chapter’s new killer) forms the central crux of End Transmission. A teaser trailer sets the adversarial dynamic up nicely, pairing cinematic footage with some Kyle Reese-esque narration from Gabriel.

As he dashes through an alien rainforest, the terrified astro-engineer lays out everything that you need to know about his cybernetic tormenter: “It became self-aware. It has no empathy. It doesn’t feel pain. It learns at an impossible rate and it won’t stop until we are dead. Or worse.”

If you are wondering what fate he could possibly be alluding to here that’s worse than being hacked to pieces by a homicidal robot, Dead by Daylight’s Creative Director, Dave Richard, was able to clear things up. Speaking about The Singularity’s ghoulish M.O., he said: “While it was scouting for potential dangers on this uncharted world, [The Singularity] made contact with old alien technology and was subsequently enlightened.”

Having had a profound revelation of some kind, it now single-mindedly strives to grow and amass even more power. It does this by assimilating other pieces of machinery as well as organic material, in the hope that it will eventually become “the perfect lifeform.”

Richard continued: “This killer is an interesting take on the idea of a cyborg. We’re used to seeing human characters [augment] themselves with technology in science fiction, but The Singularity is doing everything in reverse. It’s a piece of software that’s decided to fuse with human flesh in order to increase its strength and mobility. It’s on a quest to assimilate every living being in the universe.”

The end result is a grotesque amalgamation of synthetic components and viscera. On the subject of its appearance, you’re never going to have an iteration of The Singularity that’s entirely pure (one way or the other), but you will be able to modify its look through various cosmetic options.

According to Richard, there will be different skins to choose from here, with some emphasising the more robotic qualities of the killer, while others suggest that it is being slowly mutated by the planet’s eerie flora and fauna.

As for how it plays, The Singularity has the ability to deploy gelatinous sacs around the environment. Known as “bio-pods,” these can stick to almost any surface and are used as a kind of body-horror version of CCTV.

Richard explained: “They allow the killer to project its consciousness elsewhere. By strategically placing these pods, [Singularity players] can spy on survivors and even spew projectiles at them. We call that last part ‘The Slipstream Effect’. When a survivor is hit with a Slipstream, The Singularity can then teleport to their location and immediately attack.

“To [counterbalance] this, survivors will have access to a brand-new special item; the EMP. This will be peppered in chests around the map whenever you face off against The Singularity and can temporarily disable its bio-pods and even [negate] the Slipstream Effect.”


A Long Way From Home…

Alongside the killer and survivor characters, End Transmission will also introduce a new arena into Dead by Daylight’s map rotation. That being the aforementioned jungle planet where Gabriel’s and his crewmates sealed their collective fates.

Describing this inhospitable environment, Richard said: “Toba Landing is an obscure and foreign place. Its dangerous flora, fauna and structure are unlike anything that can be found on Earth. So it will be very different for our players.”

“There were several big themes that we wanted to explore when designing this realm. First of all, it was important that it’s clearly an alien world. We wanted the player to feel as though they are far from home and lost in space.”

Elaborating upon how they pulled off this vibe, he continued: “We took inspiration from the weirdest things that we could find in real-world nature and then modified them further to make it all feel even less familiar. We also added hints of a long-lost alien civilisation throughout, as a reminder that even powerful civilisations like ours can disappear and be forgotten.”

Rest assured that there will be some recognisable elements in Toba Landing, however, as Richard confirmed that all of the staple Dead by Daylight assets will remain intact. He clarified: “Our lore permits that palettes, hooks and generators can all exist within this futuristic sci-fi universe.

“The Entity creates them so that they can be distributed across all of the different Omniverse realms for its trials. So those things do look the same for gameplay purposes. That way players can quickly identify them and get on with the match.”

END TRANSMISSION will be coming to Dead by Daylight on the 13th of June and will be available on PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch.

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