Dead By Daylight developer accused of ‘transphobia’ by trans voice actor who says she was ‘tricked’

A screengrab of The Unknown's cheerleader outfit. The creature is tall with misshapen limbs and male features, but is wearing a long wig and a cheerleading skirt and top

Behaviour Interactive recently updated its hit online survival horror game, Dead By Daylight, adding a new killer called The Unknown: a malevolent, shape-shifting entity voiced by a transgender woman.

However, following complaints about The Unknown’s appearance – in particular, an outfit where the creature appears as a grotesque giant dressed in a cheerleader costume and a wig – the woman who voiced the character claims she was “tricked” into helping to create a trans stereotype, and took to X/Twitter to complain.

A long written statement that reads: "I voiced the character 'the Unknown' in Dead By Daylight. At the time of voicing, it was a great experience. I was told at the time I was voicing the character that there was no model and that the creature was supposed to be amorphous. They had no model design before I recorded my lines. So it's my assumption that the design team took my medical history and my ability to use multiple voices as an opportunity to create character models that encapsulate my medical history as trans, and capitalize on catering to the transphobic community. I was tricked into voicing a stereotype. Since yesterday, I have been virally harassed for being trans, by thousands of people.
The character’s voice actor, who we’re choosing not to name for her safety, hit out at the character design.

In a long statement, which appears to have since been deleted, she accuses Behaviour Interactive of basing the character on her trans identity, and describes the cheerleader “man in a dress” character skins as “transphobic”, adding that she believes she has been put “physically at risk” by the developer’s choices.

On 14 March, the voice actor clarified her initial statement about The Unknown, writing: “I wasn’t kept in the loop with what the character’s final look would be, I was given an ambiguous description for the part, and even though I tried my best to find out, continually asking for more info, that wasn’t possible. This is why I was upset. The skins themselves were never the issue, lack of communication was.”

She added that the doesn’t want Behaviour Interactive to face a boycott. “They are not transphobic… Behaviour is a good company, and has been nothing but kind and supporting through this tough process of receiving mass harassment for my involvement in the character.”

Dead By Daylight‘s The Unknown is described as having no gender, but is an “inhuman entity that adapts its appearance as needed.” In the game, the creature is depicted as a tall, bent, twisted and malformed humanoid with a voice that moves between masculine and feminine.

You may like to watch

On the official Dead By Daylight forum, one user commented: “The cheerleader outfit in particular evokes a rather harmful stereotype of trans women, a masculinised body in feminine clothing depicted as dangerous and grotesque. The fact The Unknown happens to be voiced by a trans woman (which otherwise would be a such a great piece of trivia) makes the choice to launch with these cosmetics feel particularly egregious.”

Another Dead By Daylight forum user agreed, saying: “Ignoring the lore, the appearance of these skins seems to resemble a transphobic caricature. While I understand the company’s perspective on using the same model rig for both male and female skins, the cheerleader skins may unintentionally perpetuate harmful stereotypes. I’ve already witnessed instances where these skins were used for transphobic bullying.”

However, several other Dead By Daylight forum users said they didn’t see a problem, with one writing: “I understand where you are coming from, but, per the lore, The Unknown is simply trying to pass as human. If certain people choose to twist this, well that doesn’t particularly surprise me. There are bigots everywhere and unfortunately they’re not going away.”

Behaviour Interactive was praised in November for introducing the game’s first transgender character, Tubarāo, an “unbreakable” trans man originally from the game Rainbow Six Siege. 

This malicious content and attitude is unacceptable”

A spokesperson for Behaviour Interactive told PinkNews:

“Since our latest Chapter release, folks have taken it upon themselves to divert our work from its original purpose and use our newest Killer to target and harass players.

“We want to say loudly and unequivocally that this malicious content and attitude is unacceptable and has no place in Dead by Daylight. This community should be a safe place where EVERYONE can find a true sense of belonging.

“These people have also directly targeted the voice artist behind The Unknown, resulting in her being at the centre of hideous attacks. She is highly talented, and we were privileged to collaborate with her. Her voice acting experience is perfect for the character we were designing, which needed a wide range of voice tone and expert-level technique. The reception for The Unknown has been phenomenally positive and this is in big part thanks to her dedication and amazing work.

“We will continue to express support to our voice actress, to all of our community members as well as standing actively against hate in our game.”