I bought Dead by Daylight hoping for a much better experience than I had with Friday the 13th, but given that games, especially multiplayer games it seems, are wont to completely ignore accessibility, I had no expectations of being able to enjoy the game, or at least not die repeatedly.
But I was pleasantly surprised!
In my first game, I played as the killer (The Hillbilly, because what better character is there for a gay Muslim immigrant to play?) and the vast accessibility features wowed me.
There are subtle directional sound indicators (the red arrow on the right side of the above image) that tell you where the survivors are scurrying around trying to hide from you.
There are bright red scratch marks that last for a few seconds after a survivor has been somewhere near you (very helpful if the survivor isn’t visible but hearing players can hear them).
There is this indicator in the above image, which I’ll admit I don’t actually know what it indicates yet, but I DO know it corresponds with a noise in the game (if anybody is privy to what exactly this indicator indicates, I’d love to know).
Also really helpful in killer mode is that everything of importance; the generators the survivors are tasked with fixing, the hooks you hang the survivors from, etc., is displayed through walls and obstacles with an orange glow.
So even though I didn’t manage to kill even one survivor in my four games as a killer, it was just because I’m very bad, and not due to a lack of accessibility in the game.
Survivor mode is where Dead by Daylight falls short.
There are none of the aforementioned accessibility features for those playing as a survivor, which is by design, in part. An asymmetrical horror game would be hugely skewed for the survivors if they were given every bit of assistance the killer is, which would make for a completely un-fun game. So of course I don’t expect to see all of the directional sound indicators and scratch marks for where the killer has walked. What I do expect though, is to be given a visual indication of any instance where a noise saves your hide. And Dead by Daylight does not provide that.
The three images above tell of my first of MANY deaths as a survivor. Why did I die every single time? Because as you see in the first screencap, I’m trying to help out a fellow survivor and heal him. If I was a hearing player, I would have known that the killer was getting closer and closer because there’s the sound of a quickening heartbeat that plays when the killer is near you. So while a hearing player would know to ditch their fellow survivor and hide, I stood there, like an idiot, while the killer came and beat me with her weapon. There is no indication of the heartbeat sound whatsoever, and it would be so easy to add that. Make the edges of the screen pulse in red, make the damn controller vibrate in line with the heartbeat sound. Something.
So survivor mode is basically unplayable for deaf players (unless they have an affinity for punishing games, which I don’t) because you have a huge disadvantage that your hearing survivors don’t, because usually (unless the killer is as terrible at playing the killer as I am) it’s too late to successfully run and hide once the killer is near enough for you to see them.
Dead by Daylight is a really fun game though. And it’s not a complete waste of money because in at least one of the two game modes, they got accessibility for deaf players really right. Here’s hoping they fix the heartbeat sound issue so deaf and hoh players can enjoy being a survivor as much as being the killer.
Dead by Daylight is a really fun game. And it’s not a complete waste of money because in at least one of the two game modes, they got accessibility for deaf players really right. Here’s hoping they fix the heartbeat sound issue so deaf and hoh players can enjoy being a survivor as much as being the killer.