Financially troubled Starbreeze has brought heist-'em-up Payday 2 out of retirement, announcing that development on new content has restarted - but that, contrary to its earlier promises, it won't be free for owners of the Ultimate Edition.
The sequel to 2011's Payday: The Heist, Payday 2 launched in 2013 from developer Overkill and publisher Starbreeze. Starbreeze, however, has had a rough time of late: The company pulled out of funding a virtual reality joint venture with Acer before cancelling the developer programme, announced it would have to cut costs following the failure of Overkill's The Walking Dead, then ousted its chief executive officer and applied for reconstruction to protect itself from insolvency. Since then, the company has lost Overkill's The Walking Dead outright, sold the rights to System Shock 3 and Dhruva, and in May this year warned of a liquidity shortfall that will see the company fold within 12 months if additional funding can't be found.
Now, Starbreeze believes it may have a new source of income in the form of renewed development on Overkill's Payday 2, which ceased last year - but the news comes with the admission that the company is going back on its promise of free content for anyone who purchased the game's Ultimate Edition.
'At one point in time, our company believed that the interest and engagement in Payday 2 would decline over time, as new internal games were released. Resources were needed on new projects and production of Payday 2 was scheduled to stop and no more updates to come. By popular demand this deadline was extended a few times, but development on Payday 2 ultimately shut down December 2018,' explains Starbreeze's new chief executive Mikael Nermark in an announcement to players. 'It was also believed that the sheer amount of six years of DLC-releases was confusing for returning or new players and a blocker for people to get into the game.
'At the same time, getting the game with all of its content, was coming in above 200 USD, a respectable sum for any game. Hence, Payday 2: Ultimate Edition was born as a packaged deal. It was basically the promise of "get everything Payday 2 in a package, until we release the next instalment of PAYDAY." Now we’re breaking the Ultimate Edition promise of forever-free-content. The reasoning for this is plain and simple: We want to move forward and make more of Payday 2, and to do so we need your support to continue producing content. New DLCs will be a mix of paid and free updates.'
Reception of the news has been mixed. While many fans have welcomed the idea that Payday 2 will receive continued updates, some have indicated that they won't be paying for any additional content that they were promised would be free. 'So hold on, basically you are saying that you guys ♥♥♥♥ed up, nearly destroyed your company and now you expect to be able to demand that your actual fans start PAYING for content on a game that is old and finished while you also break your previous promise on content pricing,' one player, identified as Arevi, posted to the Steam discussion page, falling foul of Valve's heart-based swearsie-filter. 'And you think thats [sic] cool? As a fan heres [sic] my answer: Go ♥♥♥♥ yourselves.'
Nermark's full announcement is available on the Steam page, but does not include information on when the first new DLC will arrive.
February 17 2020 | 09:00