Hello, people of the fog!
If one were to create a Mount Rushmore of ’80s horror icons, you’d be hard pressed not to include Hellraiser’s pinhead on the side of this cliff. Even so, let’s face it, it would be an absolute nightmare to sculpt.
Few villains can claim to be as memorable, prolific, and downright original as this horror movie staple. All the more reason why it was so important to do Pinhead justice as we welcomed him into Dead by Daylight.
We brought in our creative team to shed light on the process, the pleasure and the pain of taking everything that makes Pinhead unique… and translating it into a video game.
The Hellraiser Chapter is now available in Dead by Daylight!
This cenobite atmosphere
To call Pinhead “recognizable” is an understatement, and no matter how fun the Cenobite Apex can be to play, if the look and feel isn’t right, fans’ connection to the character is lost. Getting it right starts with the source material.
“We watched and reviewed this original film over and over again to try to make sure our in-game movements and behaviors sounded good with Pinhead,” said Animation Director David Prenoveau. “After discussion with the design and art teams, we tested these moves on an existing killer – the trapper – to make sure we could actually feel that very specific Cenobite vibe even on another character model.”
It is said that during the production of the original Hellraiser, an explicit direction was given to Pinhead to control his movements and gestures. The goal was for the character to maintain an aura of full control at all times. The challenge then fell to David and his team to translate that same essence into Dead by Daylight, where killers must be very mobile.
“Pinhead is very stoic in the first two films. His movements are sober and effortless, ”explained David. “We just couldn’t imagine him doing things like kneeling down to pick up the survivors and throw them over his shoulder.”
“In DbD we have a basic mechanic common to all killers, like picking up victims and throwing them on hooks. For each of them, we asked ourselves’ how do we make sure this really looks like Pinhead? Our response was ultimately to use its chains and hooks as a tool for interaction. As a player, you control Pinhead’s chains and use them to manipulate survivors the way other killers should by hand. We hope this touch will make the player even more powerful when playing as Pinhead! ”
Tearing souls apart
When it comes to animating a killer in Dead by Daylight, each character comes with their own set of challenges. According to David, the challenges for Pinhead started with his most basic moves and went on to his most brutal animation.
“Just getting him to walk around was a challenge at first because in the movies he’s not a very fast character, but in the game he needs to move fast,” said David. “In the end, we found a compromise that worked both visually and served the gameplay.”
“Our final challenge was the Memento Mori: Pinhead’s unique murder animation. Taking cues from Frank Cotton’s disappearance in the original film, we incorporated that same bodily horror into our Mori as the chains pierce and stretch the skin of the survivor’s body and face as they are drawn into the cenobite dimension.
Play as Pinhead
With key appearances, movements, and animations locked in, the task then fell to the game design team to weave that same authenticity throughout Pinhead’s gameplay. Game Design Director Matt Spriggens explained the approach to creating the powers and perks of the Hell Priest in Dead by Daylight and what players can expect when playing as Pinhead.
“The main themes covered in the original Hellraiser movie were bondage, torture, pleasure and pain. “The Pinhead channels have really been the key for us to create this authentic experience. We’ve incorporated them into almost every aspect of the character, from her power and primary weapon to her Mori. This helped bring a sense of thematic harmony to both the gameplay and the aesthetic.
Pinhead’s Power: Summon Pain
In Dead by Daylight, Pinhead’s primary power is called Summons of Pain. Players can open a gateway, summon a chain from the depths of Hell they control and guide to a Survivor, cling to them and slow them down.
“This unique power allows players to bring an aspect of control to a ranged attack as they can guide their own projectiles. The biggest challenge for players then becomes to master the strategies and mind games to know where and when to place the catwalk to start the chain, ”continued Matt. “An important aspect of this power that players may not immediately think of is that you can open a gateway without actually summoning a chain allowing you to search for information without committing to a physical presence in certain areas of the map. ”
The game’s design team then turned their attention to making sure those same classic themes of Hellraiser pain and torture were well represented in each of Pinhead’s perks for players looking to torment survivors to the max.
The Pinhead Advantage: The Dead End
Deadlock crushes the survivor’s hopes by blocking the generator with the most repair progress whenever another generator is fully repaired.
The advantage of Pinhead: Hex: toy
Hex: Plaything increases the suffering of a victim by cursing a survivor when they are addicted for the first time. The Curse applies the Oblivious status effect, meaning they don’t hear a heartbeat as Pinhead approaches, creating additional tension.
Pinhead Perk: Scourge: Gift of Pain
Scourge: Gift of Pain creates several Scourge hooks around the map that apply negative, maimed, and bleeding status effects to any survivor who is removed from one of those hooks. After being healed, their repair and healing speeds are reduced until they are wounded again.
Solve the puzzle:
One of the most unique elements of the Hellraiser lore has always been the infamous and enigmatic Cenobite puzzle box, also known as the Lament Configuration. The Pinhead experience in Dead by Daylight just wouldn’t be complete without it playing a major role in the gameplay.
“We always wanted the puzzle box to be a big part of the chapter,” Matt shared. “This is the whole catalyst for the Cenobites coming to Earth after all!” Finding a fun and organic way to integrate it into our gameplay while respecting the mythology was the difficult part. ”
Whenever Pinhead is part of a trial, the Lament Configuration puzzle box will appear somewhere on the map waiting to be found by a Survivor… or the Cenobite.
“As the trial progresses, the survivors come closer and closer to the start of a chain hunt. The only way to postpone this threat is for a Survivor to collect the puzzle box. As a result, they are threatened with chains until they decide to solve it. If the Cenobite reacts quickly enough, they can teleport directly to the survivor who has it, ”Matt added.
“If Pinhead finds him first, he can trigger a chain hunt for any remaining survivors in a trial.” This should be an interesting piece of gameplay for both Killers and Survivors, and it came from exploring a bunch of different motivations why players would not only want to interact with the puzzle box, but also solve it. We’re really happy with the outcome, because we believe all of these boxes are checked. Intentional play on words. ”
The Hellraiser Chapter will be available in Dead by Daylight today for PS4 and PS5.
See you in the fog!