By MICHAEL GINGOLD
THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE’s iconic madman Leatherface isn’t just getting a big-screen resurrection (see review here) this season; he just jumped into Behaviour Studios and Starbreeze Publishing’s hit horror game DEAD BY DAYLIGHT. At this past weekend’s New York Comic-Con, RUE MORGUE spoke with Behaviour game director Mathieu Coté about adding Tobe Hooper’s creation to the rogues’ gallery.
In DEAD BY DAYLIGHT, available for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, players can take on the roles of either survivors or killers; the options also include, respectively, HALLOWEEN’s Laurie Strode and Michael Myers, on a map based on Haddonfield, IL. Leatherface is the sole icon from TEXAS CHAINSAW to be added to the DEAD BY DAYLIGHT gameplay, and Coté and co. were excited to get him.
Were there any difficulties in getting the rights to use Leatherface?
Actually, the process was pretty smooth; it was just a matter of reaching out to the right people. We were super-excited to be able to get our hands on [the character’s look from] the 1974 original movie, because that’s the classic one. As soon as we started talking, I believe the people we were talking to over there really got what our game was about. They had a sense that we understood the character, which was great, because it’s important to us that if we bring in licensed characters, we can do them justice and be respectful of what they stand for and how they behave. We have to have gameplay mechanics, power sets and things that will highlight their true characteristics, and make them feel right in the hands of the die-hard fans.
Were you able to talk to Tobe Hooper at all before he passed away recently?
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to. We talked to a few other people. But we were happy to be able to do a little bit of a homage, in a sense, to him.
What went into incorporating Leatherface into the existing game play, and did you have to alter it significantly at all?
Actually, he fit right in. One of our earlier characters, the Hillbilly, also wields a chainsaw, though he’s very, very different because he’s all about speed. In fact, one of the things we did when we created him was make sure that he was fast, and very different from Leatherface, who shambles about and is sort of clumsy. So when we came to doing Leatherface, we made sure to respect that, so his power is sort of centered on that crazy chainsaw dance that he does, where he goes nuts and he creates a vast area of absolute devastation around him.
So he’s very different from the game’s incarnation of Michael Myers?
Absolutely. When we created the gameplay mechanic around him, the whole process of his power is based on stalking. So Michael goes into the map, he’s sort of an ordinary guy, and then as he watches you intently from somewhere, he becomes more and more powerful, and if you let him just stare at you, he will become the most powerful force in the game. It’s a completely different kind of gameplay; you have to avoid being seen by him, and if he does spot you, then you have to break his line of sight as much as you can.
Did you consider bringing other TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE characters into DEAD BY DAYLIGHT?
In the case of Leatherface, we decided to go for a stand-alone killer, as opposed to HALLOWEEN, where we also got Laurie Strode and the map. It was partially the licensing agreement, and also because we were testing the waters to see if a killer by himself was something people would be interested in. And he showed that yes, that’s something people want. We might go ahead and do the same thing for a single survivor stand-alone, for instance—someone very iconic. There are characters out there who have survived through a lot, through many adventures, who could be interesting to bring in.
Was there any thought of tying Leatherface’s addition to the game in with the new LEATHERFACE film that’s out this fall?
That’s sort of a good synchronicity, but it wasn’t on purpose. We didn’t know at the time that there was a movie coming out, so it’s really nice for us. But we don’t have the license for that movie; it was only the character from the 1974 film. It’s just an example of the stars aligning.
Are you looking at any other movie maniacs to add to DEAD BY DAYLIGHT in the future?
It’s very important for us to continue bringing in our own characters, and enriching the lore and the story we’ve weaved so far. But obviously, there are a few of the top five movie killers out there that we’re always going to keep an eye on. If there’s an opportunity, if we find the right people and they’re interested and we can come to an agreement, of course—there are a few other classic villains we would love to invite into the game.
Are there any non-film-related killers set to become part of the game soon?
Not specifically, but we do take inspiration from local folklore from different regions of the world. We have a lot of Chinese and Russian players, and the last killer we did on our own was the Huntress. She’s Eastern European, and very inspired by the myths from around those parts; she hums a Russian lullaby as she walks around and throws hatchets at people. Those are very rich places for us to look into, and we want to make sure that players around the world will encounter what’s lurking under their beds. Everybody’s got their own nightmares, their own bogeymen, and we want to dig into that.