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Dead by Daylight: Interview wth Game Director Mathieu Côté at PAX East

by Melanie Zawodniak - March 29, 2019, 8:59 pm EDT
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When Dead by Daylight was announced for Switch at last month’s Nintendo Direct, I was pretty excited as a regular player of Behaviour Interactive’s survival horror game. Although the Switch version of the slasher film-inspired multiplayer game wasn’t playable at PAX East, I got the opportunity to sit down with the game’s director Mathieu Côté and learn more about Behaviour’s efforts to bring the game to Switch and their newest big addition to Dead by Daylight’s cast.

Matthew Zawodniak (MZ): So I know you don’t have the Switch version of Dead by Daylight here, but I was hoping you could tell me a little bit about the new version.

Mathieu Côté (MC): Nintendo creates consoles that are unique - that they create an experience around - and the Switch is no exception. The Switch is a console in its own right when you’re sitting in your living room and it’s docked, and when you take it on the go it’s a completely different experience, and we wanted to make sure that when we brought Dead by Daylight to that platform we did it in the proper way. That means we needed to make the game work for the Nintendo Switch. It’s gonna be the exact same experience, the game’s not gonna change drastically, but the UI for instance has to be redone with the different resolutions and to be able to accommodate all the different modes you have with the console.

MZ: So it’s gonna be exactly the same game as it is on the other consoles?

MC: Absolutely.

MZ: Is the content going to be caught up with the other consoles? Will Switch owners have new updates the same day as other systems?

MC: Yes, the idea is to have the exact same content so that the game can continue to grow and be exactly the same on all platforms. So we’re going to keep putting the content out, and we’re gonna keep- I mean, obviously every console has a different rule as to the submission process and how these things go, but we’ll do our best to make sure that they’re all synced up so that whenever we release content it’s available everywhere.

MZ: Are there any unique challenges to bringing the game to Switch?

MC: Yeah, obviously the fact that the console acts very differently whether it’s docked or not, whether you’re on the go. It means that we need to be able to deal with essentially what is two machines. It acts very differently in both ways. The controls are a little bit different too, so yeah, there were a couple of challenges. But like I said, Behaviour has been doing that kind of work for so long, we wouldn’t trust anybody else to do it.

MZ: So is this port being done by Behaviour in-house?

MC: Absolutely. It’s a different team, so it’s not the main team that’s working on the game. It’s another team that’s now sort of tacked-on, and their sole purpose is to create that version.

MZ: How did the port for the Switch get started? Did you guys take the initiative, or did Nintendo approach you?

MC: We’ve been in contact with Nintendo for many years now. We’ve done projects with them in the past, so it was an ongoing conversation and it just felt like the time was right.

MZ: Speaking more generally about Dead by Daylight, obviously your big announcement for PAX East was that Ash from The Evil Dead would be coming to the game. How did that come about?

MC: It was an interesting situation where we met some people, they own the license for the show Ash vs. The Evil Dead, and they knew the game and they thought it was a good fit. And on our side, a lot of us on the team grew up with these movies. Ash Williams is a cult character, and we’d been wanting that for a long time so it was just a perfect situation. There were only a few things to iron out and it was done.

MZ: And he’ll be a survivor, right?

MC: Yes, he’s a survivor, and he’s a standalone, so he’s outside of our cycle of chapters. We didn’t want to break that, and we’ll keep having chapters every three months.

MZ: So normally the cycle is that the survivor comes in a package.

MC: With a map, a killer, yes.

MZ: So he’s his own thing?

MC: He’s a standalone, and he’s just essentially- I mean we released a chapter two weeks ago, and he’s coming next week. So he’s right there, right now. And for us it makes sense for him to be a standalone survivor.

MZ: Is it challenging to try to stay true to his character? Because his thing is kind of to be this big badass, and as a survivor you’re supposed to be really helpless.

MC: But that’s the thing, the character of Ash Williams has been portrayed in many ways. And it’s true, he’s a hero, but he’s a reluctant hero - he’s a victim of fate in a certain sense. Evil always finds a way to chase him, and really really bad things happen to him. He’s not winning all the time, which is great. So for us, it needs to be credible to see that character in a terrible situation that goes very badly, and Ash fits that. And sometimes he can win, and you also believe that. So there’s very few characters that fit that mold, and for us it was perfect. He was the right survivor to bring in, and there are only a few in the realm of licensed characters that exist, and he’s one of them.

MZ: So one more question that we’ve been asking a lot of developers as well. Last week Cadence of Hyrule was announced as a crossover between Crypt of the Necrodancer and The Legend of Zelda. So what we’ve been asking everyone: If you had the opportunity to work on any Nintendo franchise, what would you work with and what kind of game would you make?

MC: That’s tough. I mean, if you asked me personally, I mean, obviously I’m a bit of a Mario fan, I’ve got him everywhere.

[Mathieu pulled up his sleeves to reveal several tattoos of Mario characters.]

MC: But professionally it’s tough to answer because we’re right now discussing with Nintendo for a few things, so I don’t want to spoil anything. But that said, I wouldn’t be against seeing The Trapper in Super Smash Bros.

Dead by Daylight is scheduled for release on Nintendo Switch this Fall.

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