Dead by Daylight developers have announced that they will be removing The Cannibal’s unlockable masks from the game following reports of racist harassment. The changes will take effect in the upcoming Mid-Chapter update, which entered the Player Test Build on Wednesday 5th January.
The Cannibal, perhaps better known as the iconic villain, Leatherface, from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre film series, was introduced to the game in 2017. As Leatherface, players are tasked with hunting down four survivors before they can escape the game arena in the 4vs1 asymmetrical horror title.
The Leatherface DLC met with controversy, however, when it was revealed that the Killer would feature unlockable cosmetics for completing in-game challenges. By sacrificing each of the game’s four original survivors 25 times, The Cannibal would gain the ability to wear a new mask based on that character’s appearance. As the films on which the character is based show Leatherface wearing the skin of his victims, this seemed like a logical addition to the game.
However, two of the four survivors, Claudette Morel and Jake Park, are people of colour, being a Black woman and a Korean man respectively. This led many players to criticise the cosmetics as a form of blackface, with the Morel mask, in particular, drawing a lot of negative attention. The situation grew worse when a number of Black players reported that the mask was being used for racist harassment.
Now, Dead by Daylight’s developer, Behaviour Interactive, has announced that the feature will be removed from the game altogether.
“Members of the community have shared their experiences with people targeting and harassing them while using some of these masks,” they wrote in their statement. They followed with “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.”
They concluded by saying “We will not tolerate hateful activity and will continue to take every step necessary to protect the community.”
Alongside the removal of the masks, the Mid-Chapter update also includes a range of other changes. These include perk updates, a new betas tab that opens up content testing for console players, and a reworking of the Grade reward system. The developers have also shared some information on their long-term future plans for the game.
Video by sistakaren.