Last time in this column, I discussed the prospect of Twisted Metal’s Sweet Tooth being a Killer, thus featuring what would be the first video game killer in Dead by Daylight. Since that column was released, Pyramid Head has joined the ranks of the Hookers (Google “Samination” if that joke escaped you), knocking off an entry on my list of “hey, what if?” characters that will keep this column alive and well for some time. While we’re entertaining the notion, let’s go for another iconic villain from a celebrated video game series.
No, I don’t mean the Silent Hill nurses, but I wouldn’t say no to those.
No, I don’t mean Wesker from Resident Evil. But that’s a thought.
No, I don’t even mean Pighead from Manhunt. Hey, the first game is underrated, and for a Rockstar game, that’s saying something. The second one, well, wouldn’t have made it in today’s climate, but that’s for another article.
No, for this entry into “You Tried to Make Me a Killer,” I am visiting the very definition of despair. A devious diva full of contempt and insanity who set into action The Biggest, Most Awful, Most Tragic Event in Human History. This installation’s killer will be The Ultimate Fashionista, aka The Ultimate Despair, Junko Enoshima from the Danganronpa series.
Now hold on. I realize that I’ve merely invoked the name of an anime character, and one that is cosplay and TikTok fodder the world over. But before you call me a “fucking weeb” and close out the tab, hear me out on this one.
Junko is perfect as a vessel for The Entity to carry out its mission. The Entity feeds on hope, the determination of the Survivors, and when that hope is lost, The Entity smiles upon its Killers, as its branch-like fingers carry the victim off of the Hook and into the heavens. The game loops unto itself, as the Survivors meet their end, only to wake up back at the campfire, before being drawn into another trial to do the whole damn process over again until the end of time.
Junko Enoshima is like The Entity if you stuffed the contempt for humanity into the body of a young woman, gave her insane analytical skills, and microdosed her with LSD until the end of days. She orchestrated the Killing Game in the original Danganronpa, and even when she faces the ultimate punishment at its conclusion, the effects of her life’s work are felt throughout the rest of the games, especially the long-in-the-tooth spinoff action game Ultra Despair Girls. When a group of little kids, barely in middle school, are worshipping their “Big Sis Junko” like the second coming, and are inspired enough to carry on her message and M.O. of despair and destruction, Junko works for no one. As a tool of The Entity, she’s not the hammer, she’s the whole fucking utility belt.
On the subject of tools, Junko, known in The Entity’s realm as The Despair, will have her trust army of Monokumas, the black and white robotic bears serving as the revolving-door-policy Headmasters of the Hope’s Peak Academy. This power, which we’ll call Monokumania, will have a number of Monokumas randomly stuck in lockers throughout the trial grounds. After all, the other character most commonly associated with the franchise that isn’t Junko is the high-pitched bear himself. At one point in the planning stages for this one, I considered having Monokuma as the Killer, but since he is remotely controlled, this felt like the more sensible option.
Normally I would paraphrase my own notes, but this power has a cubic crapload of text, so instead I’m going to write it out like a Killer Power would be written out.
The robotic bears, under the control of the Ultimate Despair herself, are used as tools of carrying out punishment and decimating hope. As tools to carry out complete chaos, The Despair controls her animatronic ursines to induce despair in all who stand in her way.
Upon starting the trial, there will be 4 Monokumas inside of lockers throughout the map. These Monokumas will be inactive until The Despair finds them and activates them.
Once The Despair has activated a Monokuma, she can go into the locker and remote control the Monokuma. Doing so will grant The Despair the Undetectable status, but also the Blindness status.
Monokuma has a slightly reduced movement speed, and cannot attack Survivors.
Monokuma has a greatly reduced Terror Radius (8 meters).
If Monokuma has not been spotted by a Survivor, he can alert The Despair to the position of a Survivor within his Terror Radius, setting off a Loud Noise notification and showing his position.
Once Monokuma raises his Alarm, the Survivor must either run away from Monokuma until the Alarm subsides, or attempt to disable the Monokuma.
Attempting to disable the Monokuma will present the Survivor with a series of difficult Skill Checks. Missing any of these Skill Checks will cause the Monokuma to immediately self-destruct, alerting The Despair with a Loud Noise notification and damaging the Survivor, as well as anyone within Monokuma’s Terror Radius.
Multiple Survivors may attempt to disable a single Monokuma at a time.
If a Survivor opens a locker while The Despair is inside of it, the Monokuma she currently controls will be deactivated and return to a random locker in the map. The Despair will damage the discovering Survivor, but be stunned for several seconds afterwards.
Admittedly, I’ve crossed storyline streams here, as the Trigger Happy Havoc Monokumas do not directly interfere. The Ultra Despair Girls Monokumas are the main baddies and attack at will. What we have here with Monokumania is more or less the Siren Monokumas, since those models rarely strike the protagonists. If I had the Monokumas attacking, it makes the actual Killer Junko carrying a weapon pointless, and goes against the core of the Dead by Daylight meta. So as a compromise, Junko will carry the combat knife once wielded by her sister, The Ultimate Soldier, aka Mukuro Ikusaba, while Monokuma will be the spy.
Given the Monokuma’s smaller Terror Radius, they could be used the way an Evil Within I Shape is, startling the absolute bejeezus out of unsuspecting Survivors. This makes sense in terms of lore, as anytime Monokuma interjects in a scene outside of a class trial, he comes from Randy Orton levels of nowhere. And while he doesn’t directly interfere, he does set up his controller for a killer good time. Add to this that hilariously daft control room scene from the first game, and we make sense of having the pink-haired princess hiding out while her scary bearies do some dirty work.
The self-destruction is true to the rule about violence against the Headmaster, and allows for a risk/reward factor to the game. It’s not so much that if you don’t go to disarm the robot, it’ll keep blaring its horn, but it’s on you to get as far away from the little bastard before you can be found out. Even still, if he’s set off near a Generator, that’s taking time away from objectives, as well as potential map pressure, as well as the “oh god, where are they, can they see me” factor we especially get with the stalkers Shape and Ghostface.
When it comes to Junko’s natural Perks, her build serves to punish risky behavior, as well as rewarding players for playing the long game. With one of the biggest gripes of players being that Generators get done too quickly, a Perk feels like a Band-Aid on a blown-off limb, so instead we’re giving Junko a series of small buffs as the game goes on, almost like Freddy’s Fired Up meets Hex: Devour Hope.
The Despair’s Perks
Level 30 - Despair
You feed off the hopelessness of those subjected to the trial.
Anytime you hook a Survivor, all other Survivors suffer a 5%/7%/10% penalty to healing, repairing, or sabotaging for 30 seconds, or until the hooked Survivor is safely unhooked.
Level 35 - Punishment Time
The game doesn’t allow for accomplices. Only the true blackened will survive if they can avoid accusation. Get found out and get punished.
If a Survivor drops a pallet or sabotages a hook within the Killer’s Terror Radius outside of a chase, the Survivor performing the action is Exposed for 7/10/12 seconds.
Level 40 - Mood Swing
The longer things go on, the more you get bored with things. Keeping things fresh and exciting is how a Killing Game stays interesting.
When a Generator is completed, you gain a status effect based on how many Generators have been completed, including the one that activates this Perk.
3 Generators - gain a 1%/2%/3% speed boost for 10 seconds
4 Generators - breaking a Generator within the next 20/25/30 seconds will immediately regress it 10%.
5 Generators - you see the Aura of the Survivor(s) that completed the last Generator for 3/4/5 seconds.
Despair more or less speaks for itself, though Punishment Time plays off of another rule of the Killing Game: destruction of property. Add in the lack of incentive for accomplices, and saving a fellow Survivor’s ass could be a deadly game. In this sense, we’re toying with Perks not unlike The Pig, specifically her Make Your Choice perk. Perks like these could tinker with Survive with Friends groups, and a wayward Monokuma could leave more than one Survivor’s ass in the wind.
For Junko’s Mori, I think of nothing more fitting than her supposed doom in the first act, in which the Spears of Gungnir come out of nowhere and impale the girl, interrupted in any vital spot imaginable. Considering Junko subjected her own sister, who was disguised as Junko in the first chapter of the game, to this gory fate, it is an instantly iconic execution, and one that deserves recreation here in Dead by Daylight. With the press of a button on her trusty e-Handbook, the poor sap in front of her gets turned into Swiss cheese.
And finally, the trial grounds for a Danganronpa chapter would have to be the first floor, dorms and school included, of the Hope’s Peak Academy. A place devoid of hope, built on destruction, and steeped in innocent blood, it serves as a fitting arena for the death and despair to come. While I’m not exactly holding my breath for a crossover of this magnitude, all I’m saying is that with this year marking the tenth anniversary of Trigger Happy Havoc’s initial release, it wouldn’t be a bad time to do so.