The Rise And Fall Of Payday


In the weeks since Payday 3's launch, it's been hard to shake the feeling of disappointment at the state that it has launched in. After the surprisingly enduring success of Payday 2, you would have thought that Starbury Studios would be going out of its way to ensure that the co-op shooter follow-up strikes while the iron is hot, releasing at a time where co-op multiplayer Shooters have a bigger market than they've ever had, and coming as a followup to a successful known quantity, the pieces were in place for Payday 3 to continue the series meteoric rise, or well, they should have been because things have certainly not gone right for the game since it's come out in September from the state that it launched in to the chaos that's been surrounding the process of Star Bree beginning the process of fixing it.

PD3 has stumbled right out of the gate, and so much of the momentum that the franchise had built up over the last several years has dissipated, all thanks to that bad press. The PD series graph, which had been consistently rising for over a decade, suddenly feels like it's plummeting, and the bank's vault is brimming with cash waiting to be transported out of it.

There are a lot of guards on patrol who keep an eye out for what happened when the first payday was released for PS3 and PC back in the day. It was very much the opposite of a big deal, coming from a smaller studio and released as a digital-only title, which back in 2011 was far less common than it is now.

It was a smaller-scale title that went on to achieve greater success, more so than perhaps most would have anticipated, while reviews for payday The heist was lukewarm at best, but word of mouth was strong, and those who did play the game had plenty of good things to say about its co-op mechanics, entertaining shooting, and intense heist.


Even if it was a little rough around the edges, within a year of its release, Payday the Heist had sold over 700,000 units, though not in earth-shattering numbers. Those were impressive sales for smaller digital-only games nonetheless, and most importantly, they were enough to warrant a sequel, because that's where the payday franchise really took off.

A couple of years after the first game's launch, Payday 2 came out and marked the beginning of an impressive explosion in popularity for the series with its pre-orders alone. Payday 2 had sold enough copies to begin turning a profit, and within a month of its release, it had sold 1.58 million units.

And that early success was only the beginning because the game went on to enjoy a far longer time than most would have expected. In fact, as early as 2023, it had sold over 40 million units worldwide while also having one of the largest active communities on Steam, with over 8 million lifetime players on the platform.


Of course, Payday 2 has had its fair share of ups and downs, in spite of the success that it has enjoyed. The disparity between the game's PC and console versions is a major issue that plagued the game for years on end, thanks to the frustrating optimization issues across platforms brought about by the diesel engine on which the game was developed.

Meanwhile, in 2015, a couple of years after its launch, Payday 2 also attracted plenty of controversy with its inclusion of pay-to-win microtransactions. Made worse by the fact that the game's developers had said prior to its release that all of its microtransactions would be purely cosmetic. Additionally, even from a content and mechanics perspective, it was clear upon Payday 2's launch that it was very much a work in progress.


In spite of its issues, however, the game had plenty going for it with everything from its heist to the smart and significant ways in which it expanded upon the original Co-op formula, creating a solid, steady foundation for the game to build on and build on it did Payday 2 was supported for several years, far longer than most people would have anticipated, including the developers.

Post-launch support for the game technically ended in late 2018, but a year later, it was announced that support had resumed once again. When all was said and done, looking back at Payday 2, it was hard not to be impressed with how the game grew and improved over the years. The cops have arrived, and they don't look happy.

By now, you should be able to see me. This is interesting. An executive working at Wix has a safe deposit box here. In this, Bank enters Payday 3, a game that feels very much like a case of one step forward, two steps back. Payday 3 surely makes some notable improvements over its predecessors, from its excellent shooting mechanics to some of its more interesting ideas with the skill system while playing through the heist.


It still remains an exciting endeavor on the development side of things. Meanwhile, with the game having shifted to Unreal Engine, it also has parody across all platforms, something that, as we've mentioned, was a big issue with Payday 2. The Escape Band is on its way to the Main, but those improvements are lost in a glut of poor design decisions.

baffling choices and technical issues, all of which have let down Payday 3 in some fundamental ways. The game's always online nature for starters has irked plenty of players quite a bit, as have the many connectivity problems it's faced since release. In the days and weeks after its launch, finding a lobby full of players to play with in Payday 3 felt almost like an impossible task, which meant having to play with bots, which in turn meant having to suffer their brain-dead AI and utter incompetence.

article game series

Another major issue that has crippled the game in the early stages of its life is its grindy, infamy progression system and the inordinate emphasis it places on challenges, which feels like it's almost missing the point of why people want to play Payday. Add to that some of the baffling omissions, like there being no quickplay options and the game lacking enough content to keep players occupied for too long, and things have certainly not gotten off to a great start for Payday.

3 to top it off, all of that has been made worse by the chaos surrounding the release of its first patch, which was delayed multiple times due to what were described as critical development errors, only to arrive last week, a month and a half after the game's release, with over 100 fixes. Unsurprisingly the game has drawn widespread criticism from players since its release, and that has been reflected in its numbers.

Though it managed to attract an impressive 3.1 million players in September alone, there were periods following its release where its concurrent player numbers were consistently falling below those of Payday 2. Thankfully, payday 3 doesn't seem to be a completely unsalvageable mess. For starters, at its core, the game boasts excellent shooting mechanics, and heists are still a lot of fun, at least when the game is functioning as intended.

Wind the clock back to 2011, a time where digital media was still in its infancy, where the live service fad was barely even an idea, and its easy to see how unique of an experience the original Payday was. When its sequel launched a couple of years later, it represented another major step forward for the franchise, and in spite of its own struggles, over the coming years, with consistent support, the co-op shooter managed to turn itself into something of a juggernaut. In spite of the success the series has enjoyed, however, with Payday 3, it has very much taken several steps back, with significant issues holding back its design in a number of ways. Here, we take a look back at the history of Payday so far, how it has let itself down with its latest release, and whether it can still make a recovery in the months and years to come.
Similar articles: