What Payday 3’s devs learned from 10 years of success and microtransaction scandals

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How do you travel up a crippled that’s been moving for 10 years? That’s a tricky scheme that nan developers astatine Starbreeze Studios would person to create and execute with Payday 3.

Launching connected September 21, Payday 3 will person nan reliable task of pursuing up its incredibly successful predecessor Payday 2, a bank-robbing multiplayer classical that’s been a staple connected Steam since 2013. With a caller overgarment of overgarment and a move to nan much elastic Unreal Engine, it whitethorn sound for illustration Starbreeze is poised to propulsion disconnected nan cleanable crime. But arsenic pinch immoderate heist, it’s ne'er arsenic easy arsenic it sounds connected paper. There’s a world of quality betwixt 2013 and 2023, particularly successful nan multiplayer landscape. It’s a acold much competitory scene; moreover games by nan biggest studios successful nan world find themselves shutting down wrong a year. If Starbreeze was going to get its bag, it would request an ironclad scheme — and it has one.

I sewage an wrong look astatine Payday 3 up of its launch, trying retired 2 heists successful nan upcoming PVE game. While it whitethorn not consciousness excessively different than Payday 2, Starbreeze’s acquisition crafting and supporting a 10-year juggernaut shows successful what’s shaping up to beryllium a much polished heist sequel. Pulling that disconnected wasn’t conscionable a matter of doubling down connected what worked, though. For Starbreeze, it was conscionable arsenic overmuch astir learning from Payday 2’s mistakes.

Ocean’s Eleven

After a theatrical preamble to Payday 3’s in-person media arena wherever I became an accessory to a unrecorded slope robbery, I was successful nan correct mindset to transportation retired immoderate integer heists. Despite not having played Payday 2 successful years, I quickly became reacquainted pinch nan basics arsenic I put together a loadout. After customizing a fewer weapons and choosing perks from a monolithic database of skills, I was fresh to make immoderate acold difficult cash.

My first effort didn’t precisely spell smoothly. My unit would dive into a caller heist called 99 Boxes, which would person america sneaking into a guarded installation and trying to bargain money retired of retention containers. When a teammate instantly alerted a defender to our beingness wrong 30 seconds, we had to spell successful loud. Doing truthful quickly gave maine a consciousness for Payday 3’s snappy gunplay arsenic I mowed down waves of cops. In betwixt those firefights, we’d person to usage immoderate navigation wits to find our loot-loaded retention instrumentality utilizing immoderate intel we could gather. Once we recovered it, 2 of my teammates would drawback a container of thermite and bring it backmost to pain nan fastener disconnected — each while fending disconnected nan fuzz.

Robbers and cops sprout 1 different connected shipping containers successful Payday 3.Deep Silver

If you’ve played a Payday crippled before, that benignant of Hollywood action group portion astir apt sounds familiar. Teamwork was cardinal arsenic we’d screen each other’s backs successful a maze of retention containers, buying america much clip arsenic nan fastener slow burned. Once we sewage our cash, it each ended pinch a tense tally backmost to our getaway car — a bloody flight scheme that only 3 of america would survive.

We’d get a much classical Payday acquisition successful our 2nd heist, wherever we’d person to break into a New York City slope and extract duffle bags afloat of cash. Here, we’d get to effort a quieter attack arsenic we started by casing nan associated to study its guards and information camera placements. Our first effort would commencement good enough, arsenic we’d sneak up to nan tile and softly return retired immoderate guards to break in. When we were yet spotted, we had nary prime but to return immoderate hostages while we burned a spread into nan bank’s vault from nan level supra it.

My unit would return to that ngo a fewer times during our session, trying to cleanable our scheme pinch each attempt. By our past one, we figured retired wherever we’d request to spell to unopen down nan information system, arsenic good arsenic find a fewer much useful entrances that we could break into unnoticed. Payday 3’s missions request to beryllium replayed, pulling immoderate immersive sim levers that telephone games for illustration Hitman to mind. The heists present are meant to beryllium mastered, rewarding teams who tin crippled and execute an Ocean’s Eleven-style plan.

Learning from mistakes

That iterative gameplay loop is simply a fitting metaphor for Payday 3’s existent development. In an question and reply pinch Digital Trends astatine nan event, Payday Global Brand Director Almir Listo was transparent successful explaining really Strabreeze architected nan sequel. It would person a fewer cardinal advantages this clip around, building disconnected nan 10-year occurrence of Payday 2. Listo notes that nan squad is overmuch much prepared to create a long-running crippled this time, particularly acknowledgment to a sturdier instauration successful Unreal Engine 4.

The existent scheme is for Starbreeze to erstwhile again create a shooter it tin support for 10 years. To do that, it’ll move its attraction distant from marque collaborations initially and present “proper post-launch” updates. That includes its upcoming Year of nan Bad Apple update, which will bring 4 missions and a planned move to Unreal Engine 5. Listo notes that nan cautiously planned roadmap is simply a motion that Starbreeze is much prepared this clip astir and won’t find itself struggling to make contented arsenic it’s amazed by its ain occurrence arsenic it was successful 2013.

A robber shoots astatine cops successful Payday 3.Deep Silver

That self-reflection was important to Payday 3’s development. In speaking astir what nan squad learned complete nan past decade, Listo emphasizes that nan team’s mistakes guided nan sequel conscionable arsenic overmuch arsenic its successes.

“In our industry, 1 of nan cardinal things developers thin not to do good is ain up to our mistakes,” Listo tells Digital Trends. “You effort to shove it nether nan rug. You request to dainty your narration pinch nan organization and players successful nan aforesaid vein you would a important other: pinch truth, pinch respect, and pinch ambition that complete clip you tin resoluteness thing together truthful agelong arsenic you tin build connected that communal relationship.”

When reflecting connected what nan squad learned from Payday 2, Listo cites 2 circumstantial incidents that shaped nan early of nan series. Speaking astir what he calls nan “microtransaction ungraded of 2015,” Listo explains nan backlash that occurred aft Strabreeze went backmost connected its committedness to ne'er bring further monetization to nan shooter. The workplace took that blowback to heart, learning much astir its players’ values successful nan process.

“I said astatine nan clip of motorboat that we were ne'er going to do this. Shame connected you if you deliberation otherwise! And past we did it!” Listo says. “The different point that we learned is that moreover though it’s a PVE game, group will still beryllium really huffy if you tin salary to boost your character. Even if we play connected nan aforesaid team, you want nan aforesaid rules to use to you arsenic they do to me. We gamers person a very beardown civilized compass that we abide by erstwhile we play video games. And I deliberation you really request to respect that and unrecorded up to that.”

It wounded our estimation and that’s thing we’re looking to retrieve from pinch Payday 3. 

That isn’t nan only regret that Starbreeze has taken to bosom complete nan years. Listo besides cites nan team’s determination to termination console support arsenic different correction that had to beryllium rectified for Payday 3.

“Having 1 organization is simply a immense thing,” Listo says. “We stopped support for Payday 2 connected consoles measurement backmost when. I deliberation that wounded america tremendously. It wounded our estimation and that’s thing we’re looking to retrieve from pinch Payday 3. Showing nan console organization that we do care, we do respect you arsenic pinch PC players. With Payday 3, it’s going to beryllium 1 organization nary matter what level you play on.”

Listening to nan community

Throughout our conversation, organization was a recurring taxable for Listo. He made it clear that instrumentality feedback shaped Payday 2 and had a nonstop effect connected its sequel’s development. When I asked him conscionable really important organization is to nan Payday series, he recalled a astonishing anecdote, successful which an full questline germinated from an offhand instrumentality comment.

“When we released Payday: The Heist, we had 4 characters: Dallas, Hoxton, Wolf, Chains,” Listo says. “But for Payday 2’s launch, we had removed Hoxton and added Houston, Dallas’ younger relative featuring Hoxton’s mask. The organization was furious astir that astatine launch. Where nan frick is Hoxton, my favourite English boy!? And 1 dude connected Reddit said ‘Maybe’s successful jail.’ And we publication that remark and said ‘… yeah, he’s successful jail!’”

Men pinch masks clasp guns successful Payday 3.Deep Silver

Starbreeze would spell connected to create an full suite of contented based astir that idea, retroactively confirming that Hoxton was so successful jailhouse each on and sending players connected a ngo to bust him out. It’s a communicative that possibly champion encapsulates why Payday 2 has remained a accordant multiplayer deed while truthful galore others person failed. Starbreeze understands nan value of listening to its organization and reacting to it. It knows erstwhile to beryllium elastic and present meaningful contented its fans will attraction about.

While I had nosy playing a fewer rounds of Payday 3, it’s my speech pinch Listo that really leaves maine willing successful nan shooter’s future. I get nan consciousness that Starbreeze has cracked nan concealed to unrecorded work occurrence for illustration a well-locked vault. The workplace knows erstwhile it’s clip to perceive to its players, ain up to its mistakes, and make nan changes its dedicated organization deserves. If it tin proceed to do that pinch Payday 3, a multiplayer shooter pinch a much modern backbone, I ideate there’s a batch of golden successful Strabreeze’s future.

Payday 3 launches connected September 21 for Xbox Series X/S, PS5, and PC.

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