Dead by Daylight drops Leatherface masks over blackface complaints

Dead by Daylight
(Image credit: Behaviour Interactive)

Behaviour Interactive will remove The Cannibal's unlockable faces in the next Dead by Daylight mid-chapter update, following complaints that they're being used to incite racist harassment against players.

The Cannibal was added to Dead by Daylight in the Leatherface DLC released in 2017. He has the ability to unlock the faces of Dead by Daylight's four original survivors by sacrificing them 25 times, and can then wear those faces as a grisly cosmetic. One of those survivors, Claudette Morel, is a Black woman, leading some players and viewers to complain that the game was enabling a form of blackface.

(Image credit: Behaviour Interactive)

The cosmetic has also been used in racist abuse of Black players in livestreams. ("Tunnelling," an activity described in the video below, is the act of ignoring everything else in the game (including other players) in order to focus on one survivor in particular, even when it's strategically disadvantageous.)

Complaints about the mask aren't new—this Reddit thread asking if the mask should be removed, for instance, is almost a full year old—and Behaviour Interactive has finally decided to address the issue by removing all of the unlockable masks from the game.

"Members of the community have shared their experiences with people targeting and harassing them while using some of these masks," the studio said in a developer update. "These reports were disheartening to hear, and we absolutely condemn this behaviour. We are not comfortable having these masks in the game when they are used as a tool to spread hate. To that end, we will be removing The Cannibal’s unlockable faces in this upcoming Mid-Chapter."

Any Dead by Daylight player who has used The Cannibal prior to the rollout of the update will be given 6,000 Iridescent Shards, an in-game currency used to purchase Teachable Perks from the Shrine of Secrets, in compensation.

Predictably the announcement has sparked some backlash, including a handful of negative user reviews on Steam and negative comments on Reddit and Twitter. But there's also support for the decision from content creators and Behaviour Interactive employees, including senior character artist Eric Bourdages, the creator of the masks, who said on Twitter that he's "glad they are being removed."

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The latest Dead by Daylight mid-chapter update will make a number of other changes to grade rewards, add-ons, and perks. It's set to go live on the Player Test Build servers on Wednesday.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.