Before we get going here, I want to give a huge spoiler warning. If you haven’t seen James Wan’s Malignant yet, you probably shouldn’t be anywhere near this article. In fact, you should be really far away because it contains big spoilers that would ruin your enjoyment of watching the ultra-campy horror flick. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s set the table for how Malignant’s “monster” Gabriel would be a super cool Dead by Daylight killer – but also really hard to pull off, especially due to external game tools like voice chat ruining the possible implementation. Malignant is currently in theaters and available on HBO MAX.
First, let’s talk about Gabriel. Gabriel is a super-evil monster that basically lives inside an otherwise normal human, Emily. It’s conceptually a tumor taken to the level of a living, breathing, and slightly extrasensory (control of electronic devices and other spooky disruptive skills). In the film, this is revealed as a third-act surprise that pretty much everyone saw coming, but with plenty of “big reveal on an old-timey VHS tape” flair that’s highly impactful. So, Gabriel is literally inside and attached to our normal human protagonist and comes out to wreak absolute havoc. It’s a really freaky reveal inside the film and feeds into the campy late ’80s early ’90s horror vibe. While we can argue all day that camp can’t be intentionally created, as we did back in film school, but we should probably move on to how awesome this villain could be in Dead by Daylight.
The most obvious implementation would be to have the monster work like a spy – appearing as a survivor as Emily until “Turning into” the creature Gideon coming out of the back of your head. This would be great fun, creating a bit of an Among Us or, more appropriately, The Thing tension right in a DBD game! However, this element would also be an absolute nightmare to work out because voice chat would instantly ruin any chance of fooling a group of friends. Without voice chat, you could easily have “Emily” take on the skin/loadout of any other survivor in the game, making for a really weird and distrusting group when you see two of the same character working on a generator.
This would actually be especially fun in one of those scenarios where all four survivors decide to use the same skin cosmetics. Again, external voice chat like Discord (often used by teams of survivors) would really ruin this because it would be easy to identify the odd-one-out. You’d also have to deal with how to handle terror radius alerts, though tuning that would be substantially easier as the killer could simply have no terror radius in Emily form and a normal one in Gabriel form. That part is easy and workable. This could create awesome situations, with you working on a generator one second with an ally, and then all of a sudden, you’re being attacked, grabbed, and hooked by your so-called friend as they morph into Gabriel.
Gabriel’s ability to mess with lights, electronics, and communications translates easily into a perk set involving generator manipulation and more. That’s a much easier kit to come up with instead of solving how to handle an unreliable survivor aspect.
Licensed killers in Dead by Daylight have expertly captured the essence of the antagonists and parent film franchises, and this one would be really cool. However, it might be an incredibly difficult killer to implement. What do you think?