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Dead by Daylight board game nearly had a legacy campaign mode based on The Archives

Mode made it through several rounds of development before being cut.
Dead by Daylight board game miniatures
Image: Level 99 Games

The Dead by Daylight board game was almost a legacy game with a campaign based on the video game’s Archives mode, its designer has revealed.

Level 99 Games’ D. Brad Talton revealed to Dicebreaker that Dead by Daylight: The Board Game was originally developed with a campaign mode in mind, featuring legacy elements like those seen in games such as Pandemic Legacy and Gloomhaven.

Legacy games typically feature a campaign made up of several connected playthroughs, with each session introducing new gameplay rules and permanent changes to the game - often by tearing up cards, putting stickers on a board or writing on components - based on the players’ decisions and whether they win or lose. Talton confirmed that both aspects - a story-driven campaign and permanent modifications - were discussed for the Dead by Daylight board game.

Specifically, the upcoming board game’s scrapped legacy mode was based on The Archives, a narrative-focused mode introduced to the Dead by Daylight video game that provides extra detail on the game’s universe and opportunities for players to unlock rewards through specific challenges.

“Your characters would gain some abilities or even just some story baggage as they went through multiple trials,” Talton said of the board game’s take on the mode.

The legacy mode made it through “a couple rounds of concept development”, before ultimately being left on the cutting room floor as the biggest feature dropped from the final release.

“In the end, we decided that it was at odds with this idea of the functional collector's item,” Talton said. “And it made the game less approachable for the audience that we had in mind to add this legacy aspect. So we decided to take those out, and just make it more of an arcade-style experience.

“Because of the way that the game is balanced, and the way that a [board] game is sort of discrete in its limited components, and the limited play times, [the legacy mode] would have taken away from the experience. You lose that pick-up-and-play aspect; you lose a lot of accessibility with this aspect. And you force the same group of people to the table, in a game that we're trying to make approachable to casual players. So that's why we ended up not doing a legacy game in this case.”

Dead by Daylight: The Board Game sees one player control a killer who must pursue the other players’ survivors around each of the game’s maps. The survivors are trying to restart a number of generators and escape, before the killer can capture them and gain enough points to win. Each survivor and killer has a unique loadout of perks - which can be fully customised in an advanced mode - as well as being able to pick up helpful items as they move between locations on the board.

The collector’s edition of the board game will include all of the video game’s characters - not including cameos from licensed characters from movies and video games - up to last year’s All-Kill DLC. The base game, which will see a retail release following the game’s Kickstarter campaign, will feature 13 characters from the full roster of more than 30. Each session is estimated to last up to an hour with between three and five people, and will be a completely standalone experience with no connected or campaign elements.

“We wanted to make a game that you could break out at a Halloween party and play for an hour and then go on with your festivities,” Talton said, “or that you could break out at a regular board game night and just play. For that reason, we built the size of the box and the contents of the box and the tone of gameplay around those ideas.”

Dead by Daylight: The Board Game is due to launch its Kickstarter campaign on March 29th, ahead of a planned release in October ahead of Halloween.

About the Author

Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis

Editor-in-chief, Dicebreaker

After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.

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