In the entertainment life of human beings, if there is a game that can be truly suitable for all ages and has a wide coverage, then hide and seek must be the leader. This kind of non-confrontational entertainment activates the natural hunting instinct of human beings. As a natural competitive behavior, it allows the hunter and the prey to exist in an unbalanced manner, and the criteria for showing the victory of both sides are also different. Now imagine what kind of chemical reaction will be triggered when this asymmetric competitive behavior becomes the game structure in the virtual world.
Let's look back nearly forty years ago, when the arcade game Pac-Man, designed by Namco's Toru Iwatani and released by Midway Games in 1980, first cleverly used hide-and-seek, a non-confrontational gameplay, in the arcade game Pac-Man. In this landmark game, Pac-Man controlled by the player, needs to survive the siege of several enemies and eat the pellets in the map alone to complete the game.
Pac-Man implements the traditional hide-and-seek gameplay as the game concept of the enemy as the chaser and the player fleeing. The player does not have any effective means of attack. Facing the enemy, he can only combat the enemy by escaping or eating pellets with special categories. The gameplay also preliminarily laid the prototype of the future asymmetrical multiplayer game.
The so-called Asymmetry, in the author's opinion, may be more like a competition between the enemy and the enemy in the case of unequal numbers, resources, information and rules within the framework of a specific game. Keeping the rules simple, a great example can be that the hunter cannot be eliminated but those being hunted may be eliminated in various ways. This gameplay reflects the essence of asymmetric games to a large extent.
Even now, decades after Pac-Man’s release, this type of gameplay is popular among millions of players.For example, the multiplayer FPS game Evolve, which took 3 years to create by developer Turtle Rock Studio, is a typical asymmetric competitive game. 4 players will play different types of warriors, and the monsters that need to fight can be played by only one player.The two sides then fight on the alien battlefield. Monsters will evolve with constant battles and time,becoming far more lethal, so soldiers need to eliminate these monsters before they evolve into their ultimate form.
A fan made game called Prop Hunt had a massive leap in popularity among players. This game was hosted by players in a server inside another game called Garry’s Mod.
In a community server, players are divided into two teams, one team needs to rack their brains to survive, but cannot perform attacks, while the other team needs to find them and use weapons to eliminate the hiding players. Because the player who is in charge of hiding has no attack ability, but can change into most of the items in the game, such as trees, potted plants, cans, large garbage bins and telephone poles, etc., and hide them by blending into similar environments.
Players who are in the hunting team can use a variety of weapons and items. But it is worth mentioning that in the game settings, invalid attacks (failed to attack the enemy player) will be punished by deduction of health, and any enemy can be successfully eliminated to restore the lost health, so to give yourself the best chance, you must be selective in what you shoot.
Counter-strike, known as the father of the competitive FPS, also implements a hunter vs hunted mentality to great effect. With the passage of time, the gameplay of Hide and Seek games has become more and more abundant, and game developers are no longer limited to computer-chasing-players games, they began to design player-chasing-players games.
When the gear of time moves towards 2016, there is a game that really brings asymmetrical confrontation gameplay into the field of view of domestic players, that game is Dead by Daylight. Due to the emergence of this game, domestic players and game producers have seen the charm of Asymmetrical Battle Arena (ABA).
If the ABA mode gives Dead by Daylight interesting gameplay, then the classic American horror style puts a gorgeous coat on it, with one player in the game portraying the hunter, who is the killer. These characters are mostly based on real horror stories and folk tales in American history. For example, the famous skin-faced killer from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as well as the American horror villain Freddy in the classic horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street, have appeared in the game for players to choose from. Players who play the role of prey are hunted by killers, and through team cooperation and calm tactical planning, must repair all the generators in the map, and then open the door to escape.
The production team has designed a variety of unique skills and attack methods according to the style of each hunter. It is safe to say that not only is there appeal in the gameplay but the horrific and terrifying atmosphere adds to the excitement. With the excellent performance of the Unreal 4 engine, it is the first time for me in a game that I felt the adrenaline rush of being chased.
In addition, the horror sound effects are huge talking points as one of the highlights of the game for many players. Whether it's the heartbeat that gradually increases in volume as the hunter approaches, the changing drum beats as the killer pursues the player, or the bell that appears every time the invisible butcher uses his abilities. Those playing the butcher will deliberately go invisible or start their chainsaw, just to let the sound effect reach the ears of the survivors and make them shudder from far away. Paired with the game's slightly somber graphics and creepy game music, a nightmarish world unfolds before our very eyes. Especially when being approached and discovered by the "killer", the sudden sound is enough to scare even the most hardy of players.
In terms of game mechanics, the killer played by one player will be able to torture the other 4 players who play the survivor with various weapons such as a kitchen knife and chainsaw.l Killers must knock down survivors by dealing enough damage to them. Once knocked down, killers place the survivors on an altar to be sacrificed. If no other survivor comes to their rescue within a limited time, then the sacrificed player will be eliminated.
Of course, the player in charge of the rescue must remain hidden from the killer or they will suffer the same fate. In addition to hiding from the killers, survivors must repair the generators so they can escape. When repairing generators, Survivors also need to pay attention to a major feature in the game, Quick Time Events or QTEs. If in the process of repairing a generator a triggered QTE fails, the repair progress will be delayed and the generator will make a loud noise revealing the survivors positions to the killer.
Quick Time Events are a system in which you must press a specific button within a certain time limit. In Dead By Daylight, not only do you have a short amount of time to do this but you must also press the button within a small meter. Do this well and you get rewarded, fail and you get punished.In addition, in order to improve the overall playability of the game, the developers have also set up a variety of skills and traps to increase the uncertain factors in the game, such as the increase or decrease of movement speed,player detection range and the medical treatment system to name a few. Skills are also divided into exclusive skills and general skills, this design can make the image of each character in the game more diversified and three-dimensional, full of their own characteristics.
In the game, there is also a skill tree system called blood web, where each time survivors and butchers play they get points to upgrade their skills or unlock new skills, such as supporting teammates faster, execution skills that the butcher has a certain chance to trigger and many many more. These added features greatly improve the depth and playability of the game.
It is worth mentioning that the game Dead by Daylight, in addition to teamwork, also needs players to constantly try and figure out the thoughts of others. This is one of the most interesting parts of Dead By Daylight when compared to other types of competitive games. The player’s voice will give away their positions so to learn the location of both friend or foe, all you can do is guess using the scary background music: Will the butcher leave? Will my teammates be fooled? Should I go and save this person? Who will save me if I’m caught?
With the vicious killer on one side and the defenseless survivor on the other, Dead by Daylight makes the asymmetry between players the core of the game, creating a unique horror game experience. After the game appeared on the live streaming platform Twitch, it quickly became a popular topic of discussion. With the addition of a number of well-known streamers, Dead by Daylight became popular on the platform in a short period of time.
Whether it be innovating or following the trend, many more developers will soon follow. In 2018, Identity V produced by NetEase also brought an asymmetric boom to the game market, but it differs in aesthetic from Dead By Daylight as it is dominated by gothic fairy tales, making players fall into an inescapable nightmare.
If you are tired of playing cat-and-mouse with NPCs and AI in virtual worlds, Dead by Daylight is sure to be a creative and atmospheric survival horror game. Asymmetric competitive games let us once again feel the fun of hide-and-seek when we were young, making every mouse click and every breath a key factor in the entire battle.
Hey, night falls tonight, and the gears in the factory have stopped turning. Are you going to be a hunter, or the prey?
Dead By Daylight