Dead by Daylight dev breaks down The Skull Merchant & tech as a “tool for fear”

Key art featuring the Skull Merchant with the Dead by Daylight logoBehaviour Interactive

With a brand new Chapter on the way in Dead by Daylight, Dexerto spoke to Creative Director Dave Richard to learn more about Tools of Torment, The Skull Merchant, and where this will take the asymmetrical horror in the future.

On March 7, 2023, Tools of Torment, the 27th Chapter in DbD, brings a new Killer, two Survivors, and more into The Fog. One of the more controversial parts of the DLC is The Skull Merchant’s technological focus — something that we haven’t seen explored in The Entity’s realm up until now.

Article continues after ad

Previously speaking with Dexerto almost exactly a year ago about Sadako Rising, Creative Director Dave Richard now gives further insight into The Skull Merchant’s backstory and how “horror can be found anywhere”. There’s plenty of food for thought for fans to mull over here, including what could be on the horizon in DbD after Tools of Torment drops.

“It’s up to us to define and even push the boundaries of the genre”

The Skull Merchant Drone in Dead by DaylightBehaviour Interactive
The Skull Merchant utilizes Drones are her Power in DbD.

Why did it feel like now was the perfect time to introduce a Killer like The Skull Merchant, and tech itself into DbD? We haven’t really seen something like Drones before.

“Technology as a tool for fear is something that we’ve been thinking about for quite some time. We love this idea of something as omnipresent and inconspicuous as drones are, which when placed in the wrong hands, serve a dark and macabre purpose. It just felt like the right match with The Skull Merchant – a highly intelligent, apex hunter tinkerer.”

Article continues after ad

What does introducing The Skull Merchant and her focus on tech mean for the future of Dead by Daylight? Does it suggest more tech influences going forward, like killer robots or cyborgs?

“While I cannot comment on what’s coming to Dead by Daylight, I can tell you that our goal is always to expand on stories. Horror can be found anywhere — it’s up to us to define and even push the boundaries of the genre.”

There have been lots of humanoid Killers introduced as of late, from The Knight to The Skull Merchant and Wesker. Will we see more monster-type Killers like The Dredge anytime soon?

“We love to diversify our offerings, and again, expand what’s considered scary. While I cannot comment on what’s to come – I urge players to keep their eyes peeled on the game!”

Article continues after ad

Current Perks, like Prove Thyself, feel very much like a Teamwork Perk – will we see this dynamic expanded from what we have with Renato and Thalita?

“Yes indeed – every time we introduce new gameplay, we do so with the intent to reuse it in the future. I think the Teamwork Perks work very well with many other current Perks, and so we’ll be exploring how we can use this in the future.”

“Adriana is a complex human being”

Thalita and Renato Lyra with the Skull Merchant in DbD on The Hunting Camp MapBehaviour Interactive

In regard to The Skull Merchant’s backstory, what was the decision behind such a big focus on, in particular, her parents’ lives and the influences of that in her own?

“It’s important for us to build rich characters in Dead by Daylight. Much like in ‘real life’, our past informs who we are today. Adriana is a complex human being and her past certainly has played a role in that. Her Dad was a huge influence on her life and we love this meta backstory that perhaps can explain how she got where she is now.”

Article continues after ad

One of the manga Adriana’s father wrote is identical to the kind of Killer she becomes and mentions a ‘nightmarish realm’ which seems, in essence, The Fog. What was the thought behind her adopting this persona, and her father almost
influencing her future?

“In Dead by Daylight’s world, some people, whether characters in game or family members mentioned in a character’s lore, have a connection to other Realms. Indeed, Adriana’s father has a special connection to The Entity’s Realm. He has a vision of this daughter as The Skull Merchant and his manga becomes the outlet for this vision to come to life.”

“And indeed, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, Adriana reads the manga and becomes consumed with becoming this apex predator, in turn, The Skull Merchant.”

Article continues after ad

“We just thought it was really interesting to think about what makes a person who they are,
and can the future, in a way, inform the past?”

Image showing the new DbD Killer, Map, and Survivors being added in Chapter 27, Tools of TormentBehaviour Interactive
Tools of Torment introduces plenty of new content for Dead by Daylight fans to sink their teeth into.

The Skull Merchant seems to be the manifestation of killer boardroom maneuvering made physical. Is there a broader point about corporate greed and flipping companies at the core of her character?

“I don’t want to make a generalization, of course. But in The Skull Merchant’s case, I think she is
an extremely competitive person, and because of her personality, she made it to the top of the
business world. Indeed, I don’t believe that she’s been transformed by the business world – she
was able to thrive in it because of who she is.”

Article continues after ad

While Adriana’s Power focuses on Drones — as does the character in Sonhadores Sombrios — details on how she learned to build this type of tech aren’t discussed in her backstory. Is this something that will be explored in future Tomes?

“While I can’t say what’s coming or not, I can tell you that Adriana is extremely brilliant – she is resourceful and creative and has access to tech. She is a tinkerer, interested in the mechanical aspect of technology. So it’s not too hard to imagine that she is self-taught and very into experimenting.”

In Thalita and Renato’s lore, when hiding in the factory from The Skull Merchant, it mentions the forest turning into a sunny beach — is this a tie-in to Hooked On You to connect the two titles together?

“No, indeed this is purely a coincidence.”

Dead by Daylight: Tools of Torment is out on March 7, 2023.

Related Topics