Project W — benefit process explained

The iconic trench coat sports antagonist Albert Wesker, feared (and respected) by Resident Evil players everywhere. The skilled and enigmatic Ada Wong, whose survival skills make her a valuable ally – provided interests remain aligned. Rebecca Chambers, the STARS field nurse, whose medical genius keeps her teammates alive and inspired.

Each character comes with 3 unique perks, which should remain thematically appropriate and engaging from a gameplay perspective. It’s a meticulous process for the design team, especially when these perks are expansions of beloved characters from an established and acclaimed series.

The benefit process

As a game designer – and experienced Resident Evil player – Aram Tab explains that there are many steps to bring an advantage to Dead by Daylight. “Composing a list of benefit ideas is usually the first step,” he explains. “There are three priorities when conceptualizing benefits: gameplay, synergy and character themes.

“I speak with the Killer Designer and the narrative team before coming up with a list of benefits,” says Aram. “This list usually consists of 12 perks per character, and then we have a discussion with the whole design team. I introduce them one by one, we have conversations, and I take notes. I’m in charge of gathering the information from those discussions, summarize them, and adapt to feedback accordingly. The design team has a lot of experience with the game, and they always give amazing feedback.

From there, Aram halves the list of perks into a shortlist, weeding out contestants who may feel out of character or lacking gameplay-wise. After another round of discussion, the shortlist is narrowed down to the final three.

Dead by Daylight: Resident Evil: the advantages of Project W

Wesker, known in-game as The Mastermind, brings three new perks to the pool: Awakened Awareness, Superior Anatomy, and Terminus.

“Wesker is a classic archetype – the Mastermind, who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals,” says Aram. “The Virulent Bound Power that our Killer Designer created is fast, and I wanted to keep that momentum going with its perks. Superior Anatomy lets you close the gap on survivors with a super-fast vault. Combined with its power, that makes him really dangerous in a chase.

“Awakened Awareness is fun, because Wesker can’t be fooled. He’s always one step ahead. Sometimes in Dead by Daylight, you hook a survivor, you walk away, and that survivor is instantly unhooked. With Awakened Awareness, they won’t be able to sneak up on you because you’ll see their Aura. As for Terminus, he’s pure Wesker. His final plan is revealed at the end of the game, and now you’re in big trouble.

This chapter also brings two new survivors to The Fog: Ada Wong and Rebecca Chambers.

“Ada is my favorite character from Resident Evil, so it was a lot of fun doing some perks for her.“, Aram said laughing. “When I shared the full list of suggested benefits with the team, the votes were split. I really had to work around the shortlist and find the best fit. When you’re in that situation, you use the elements that I mentioned before: does it have good synergy? Is it good on its own? Is it thematic? Does it allow for interesting game situations?”

The second new survivor is STARS field medic Rebecca Chambers, and the team came up with three perks that capture her selfless presence in inventive ways. However, one advantage in particular – Hyperfocus – features a complex activation mechanism rarely seen in Dead by Daylight.

“This one is for players who think they can pass every skill test,” says Aram. “When it comes to skill checks, new players tend to miss them a lot while experienced players hit them easily. We wanted to see how easy it really is. We tested it, and we had a group of very experienced players who were missing skill checks because they were hungry for bonuses – which is exactly the point of this perk. Oh, are you good at skill testing? Prove it. There is a stacking bonus, but you have to chain Great Skill Checks which become progressively more difficult.

“I only tolerated this degree of complexity because I found the benefit super interesting,” he notes. “If a benefit is hard to understand, you should be happy with its potential.”

As Dead by Daylight players know, this final chapter includes the first perks following a major meta overhaul. “Before the last update, many of the same perks were used over and over again,” says Aram. “We felt it was important to shake things up.” This presented the design team with a unique challenge: to continue to build on this exciting foundation.

“It’s a whole new environment of benefits,” says Aram. “After talking with my fellow designers, we concluded that the new content needed to align with the mentality that the update was trying to capture. If you look at the new chapter for example, Wesker is all about detection and This is a very conscious decision, and we wanted to highlight parts of the game that might have been overlooked. This new content will provide some great options for build variety.

Step into the fog with Albert Wesker, Ada Wong and Rebecca Chambers in Dead by Daylight: Resident Evil: Project W – available August 30, 2022.


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