How Starbreeze Killed The Payday Franchise


Pay A3 numbers are down month by month; they're bleeding out somehow. The loyalists will try to defend this, saying that the reason for the low numbers is due to recent releases with players jumping to newer games, but that's [__]. All the games released recently have been colossal disasters, suffering horrible ratings from both critics and players, not to mention it only takes a glance at Payday 2's player base in comparison.

To see that that's completely false, there's clearly no lack of payday players who could jump into payday 3 at any moment; it's that they choose not to. Why well, in order to understand what really went wrong, we first have to look back in time to how Payday 3 was created, and in order to tell you that tale, we will first have to time travel back to Payday 2.

The year is 2013. Star Breeze is in a dire state after their problematic development of Syndicate for Electronic Arts and finds themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. Their only hope for recovery is that their next game becomes an unrivaled success. It is their only parachute. Everything or nothing, Payday 2 needed to succeed, and boy did it.


Payday 2 launched on August 13, 2013, and was a monster hit by lightning in a game's extreme popularity, causing it to sell extremely well along with every DLC it happened to receive. Star Breeze turned from a developer that was barely holding on to one that had so much money they didn't know what to do with them that will become clear very shortly in 2015; they invested 88 million into publishing Raid World War II, a game that looked more like a Payday 2 DLC than its own diverse thing.

However, only 3 months into its release, it had an average of 71 players a month. It's safe to say that the $8 million they invested was not returned until May of 2015. They would spend around $7.5 million.

While CEO Bo Anderson was spending money like a drunken sailor, Bree was struggling. Big time, they were working on a game called Overkill: The Walking Dead, but the problem was the engine. They were forced to work on Valala. The one that Bo Anderson spent over $7 million on was completely unusable.


It made developing the game a constant nightmare, as the engine was simply not working as intended, and all the time that was being wasted on trying to get it functional was leaving them farther and farther behind in the pipeline. Not only were other game engines like Unreal taking massive steps forward while they were staggering, but the release date was getting closer and closer while they were simply nowhere.

Eventually, it was an obvious decision that VWA had to be replaced, and although switching to Epic was a good thing, it happened far too late, considering the two years of work they had done in Valha.

Yet it's because of Payday 2 that they were able to stay in business, despite the fact that no one was intelligent enough to even think for a moment to start putting some money away for the development of Payday 3. Tell me, dear viewer, can you see the massive iceberg that is approaching in the background?

With only a year and a half of development, Overkill: The Walking Dead hit the game store, and the reception was about what you'd expect: a complete and total disaster as well as a financial flop. With the game failing to recover, let alone bring any revenue, the situation was once again on edge despite Payday 2's incredible success.

payday 2

The amount of money that was lost in BO Anderson's delusions of greed was simply too much to ignore, and he was promptly fired for his extreme incompetence. But the holes he left in the budget were too big to fill. This right here is our critical moment: Star Breeze has stopped the development of Payday 2 in order to focus on The Walking Dead.

But due to the extreme failure the game had turned into, they had no choice but to go right back to their original Cash Cow, so in 2019, the ultimate edition of the game was changed to Legacy Collection. Previously, anyone who bought the ultimate edition was entitled to receive all future DLCs. Without further payment, the ultimate edition is basically discontinued, as any content coming in the future will be paid for separately.


By doing so, Star Breeze hopes to be able to fund enough money in their pockets to get themselves back in a good position. It's 2019, and the development of Payday 3 is barely being started. Meanwhile, Starbre has wasted all of their money on VR movie experiences, unusable gamers, and games with monthly players you can count on one hand.

Tell me, viewer, are you starting to see the giant iceberg that's closing in on this already unstable ship, with their money drained from stupid investments? now in late 2019. Star Breeze has to juggle both brand new DLC for Payday 2 as well as early development for Payday 3. It doesn't take a genius to realize that splitting your attention into vastly different directions isn't the best way to maximize either, but due to the stupidity of their previous overlord, they were left with no choice.

The COVID certainly didn't help them in the matter, but a 50 million EUR investment will play on in 2021. Did the last Payday 2 DLC happen on June 28th? 2023, while Payday 3 would release on the 21st of September. Lackluster customization created entirely to get you to pay for future cosmetic DLCs.


DLC no one is going to stick around for that. Just look over at The Avengers or Suicide Squad if you want to see how that business model is working out for them, and Suicide Squad will at least give players free playable DLC. Star Breeze won't even give you a free mask; they'll charge you up the ass for anything and everything the game has to offer.

It feels like we are paying full price for a game that will be finished years from now, and we won't be awarded anything for sticking around. The sad truth of it all is that even if Star Breeze weren't as greedy as they are and they were to at least make the cosmetics free, it's hard to know if the payday formula is simply able to work in 2024, and it's very possible that will lead to the end of Starb Studios and PayDay as a whole.

price of greed

With Payday 3 flopping, they've officially killed their one and only form of income, their biggest franchise, like GTA for Rockstar or Hitman for AAA. This is their main attraction, and you can ask what happens when you kill that main attraction. The truth is, payday is really dying. A long-term side effect of Star Bree's brainless spending back in 2015, while Payday 2 was lightning in a box that players got hooked on, is anything, but the developer's unwillingness to learn from previous mistakes along with the extreme desire to charge more money for all future content leaves Payday 3 as a game that is simply undesirable.

How Starbreeze Has Killed The PAYDAY Franchise. Deep dive into how Starbreeze's success with PAYDAY2 turned into a failure for PAYDAY3 as well as a look towards PAYDAY 3's possible future and The Price Of Greed for Starbreeze Gaming Studio.
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