Why Payday 3's Music Isn't As Fun As Its' Predecessors

So the first patch is out, and it's expected to be underwhelming. Although the developers aren't entirely to blame for the state of the game, whether you believe it's the publishers or the shareholders or whatever, to me, it doesn't matter. I'm still a consumer of a product they deemed good enough to ship out, so to me, there's no excuse but to expect better.

What I'm going to be talking about today is the music of Payday 3 because, to me, it's very important; it's my strong suit; it's what I understand best; and I have some suggestions that could make the game a lot better, which it desperately needs right now. I have payday to thank for one of my most-viewed articles, which is a remix of The Diamond.

Heist to me, it's the pinnacle of what payday's music can achieve, along with many other tracks like Gunmetal, Gray Stone, Cold Razor, Mine, etc. The incredible music makes me want to revisit Payday over and over and over again, and it's been that way for at least several years. At this point, this article is going to be unscripted, so please bear with me.

I do have a few bullet points I wanted to go over that I've written down here to preface. Music is rarely something you can just fix because, well, music is subjective. It can be hard to pinpoint logically what could be wrong with the music, especially because Payday 3's music isn't bad by any means; most people will find the music satisfactory or even great, and that's okay.

Everyone has different tastes, so I don't think it's good, or rather, it's not that it's not good. It's lackluster in my opinion, and the reason why I think it's lackluster is a conversation. Of expectations, it starts with its predecessors, Payday 1 and 2, which already established a really strong foundation for how the music should be played.

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By the way, I'm talking specifically about the assault phase. I think the stealth portions of Payday 3 are completely fine with what the old music has that the new ones don't. Just sort of as a general rule of thumb, there is a musical technique called syncopation. Like I said, it could be more nuanced than this, but I have to generalize because music can be really difficult to logically dissect, like I said, but for the uninitiated, we'll keep it simple.

Traditional western songs in common time have a rhythmic flow that can be divided into two parts, generally the beat and the offbeat, whenever you tap your foot to the beat of any song. The offbeat is whenever your foot is in the air, so when you emphasize the offbeat in music This is called The reason this is so important is because it often gives a song a bouncy characteristic that makes it rhythmically more fun and interesting in electronic music.

These are audio processing techniques, and they're known as ducking and side chaining, but even in a traditional musical sense, Payday 3's music lacks variation in rhythm, and that makes it boring. This is especially apparent if you compare its flow to the music in Payday 1 and 2. It feels very sedentary and rhythmically stays in one place throughout the entire piece with a few minor exceptions here and there, so the idea here is that I have a problem with how the music feels rather than how it sounds, and this wouldn't really be an issue if we didn't have something to compare it to.

Energy is important for a game like payday. I mean, what would someone expect? going to a club or a rave or watching a movie and they come across a high-octane action scene, what would someone expect during an assault phase or a heisting article game? It's probably energy. It's what makes the first two games so incredibly memorable and fun to play.

By definition, this is an interruption of the music's flow, which is really appropriate given the sort of gameplay loop you'd expect from Payday. The police assault is sort of an interruption to your heisting flow. If I were in charge of making the music for a game like Payday, this is where my mind would go first: how do I express blood-pumping adrenaline through music while I think the game nails its instrumentation?

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progression and melodies It lacks a lot of flow and tension through its rhythm, especially the back end of the sound stage. If you could imagine the music being played on a stage, the accompaniment of the main melody is usually what's lacking here. Payday 3's music sounds like payday, but it doesn't feel like payday.

This is an important philosophy if you want to create a great game. Better music makes the game more fun to play. Some people might call this a bias towards Simon Vickland because he's the one that did it at first, but Carl Norin made a song called Death Row, like Castlevania made music for Payday 2 and Aleso's PayDay music; they all serve as proof of that syncopation.

It's an empirical thing that it's not just a bias syncopation, and such techniques are what make EDM artists and pop songs hip-hop rap whatever they use to accentuate the energy and give their music more oomph on the back end. I'm not trying to rag on Gustavo here; I think he has great melodies and has great potential.

I'm more bothered by how this game's overall vision is mismanaged or maybe misunderstood. Not Gustavo as an artist specifically, but I have my own interpretation of what I expect from Payday 3's music to be able to achieve that level of energy that you'd expect from a Payday. You might notice it's basically the same; like I said, I like Gustavo and his compositions already.

First, I made the percussion a lot more prominent; the kick is stronger; the high hats are more prominent; and I gave the snare a little bit more energy. There are a couple more effects that I added here and there in order to bring up the intensity. Here are all the bells and whistles that I added without the original.

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The important thing to focus on here is that it's the little things that enhance the listening experience. You can definitely hear what I mean after this comparison; at least that was my goal when doing this interpretation, and if you do personally think No Rest for the Wicked isn't the best example, it's one of the better assault tracks in the game.

I still think my point comes across well, just based on principle. Many people might disagree with my interpretation, and if you do. This is just one aspect in which I think it could elevate the experience a lot outside of gameplay. I mean, many years down the line, people are going to be talking about Payday as a franchise, revisiting the music to relive the initial experience.

People talk about the music of Payday the Heist and Payday 2 all the time, but for Payday 3, at its current trajectory, it's not the music people are going to be talking about; they're going to be talking about how the game failed to maintain its player base with questionable design choices, a lackluster progression server, and gameplay issues.

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A deep dive explaining why I don't think Payday 3's music is as fun as its predecessors and how that affects the game as a whole. Although these are just my opinions, I'm open to discussion, so please leave your thoughts in the comments.
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