Overkill, the developers of co-op shooter Payday 2, recently revived the years-old game and its community with several updates that added new weapons and collectables, adjusted the capabilities of several guns and other weapons, and controversially added several microtransactions for an update titled “Black Market”. The game plays very differently now, according to players rating the game on Steam and other platforms, and the small fan base of Payday 2 fans are angry that contrary to Overkill’s promises to not add in microtransactions, they’ve done it anyway and resolved to ignore the community’s feedback on this issue. The game’s developer had an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit recently, and it did not go down very well with the game’s fans.
The AMA was held by Overkill’s Almir Listo, producer of Payday 2, and was intended to serve as a Q&A session for the game’s Crimefest celebration, which heralded the new updates. Listo noted in his opening post that Overkill didn’t want to go first to the media to talk about Crimefest, but rather wanted to start off with the game’s community and fill them in via an AMA. When asked about their about-turn on their decision to not include microtransactions, this is what Listo had to say about the online debate.
“At the time, I meant what I said. I never thought we would’ve had the pleasure of working on Payday 2 for at least another four years,” he said in his answer to Redditor Charlie905. “We have a partnership with 505 Games that stretches to 2017, but we of course want to continue as long as you are playing!”
When pressed about the team’s responses to the controversy online, Listo’s response seemed to signal that the decision to monetise the game further either wasn’t something he had power over, or it was something that they couldn’t back away from now that the commitment had been made.
“Everyone in the Overkill crew has [read up on the response online]. Every 3D-artist, Sound designer, Art Director, Producer, CEO – everyone. We’ve been reading as much as we possibly could while not working on Crimefest itself. A lot of people with different intentions came from nowhere and things got very heated very quickly,” said Listo.
“But as the smoke is settling, I believe we’ve become stronger because of it; and I think you’ve managed to help us find some glaring faults that we need to work on, like the communication with modders, the transparency regarding features such as weapon game balance, Infamy 3.0 and so on,” he added.
A much longer reply in the same thread to a different question outlined what changed to make Overkill move to supporting Payday 2 with microtransactions. With the game not bringing in additional revenue from sales on Steam and other deals, the pressure was on the team to make money from the extra content they were scheduled to product until 2017 in their partnership with 505 Games. Given that Overkill also had a Linux, Playstation 4 and Xbox One port on their to-do list, they had to implement microtransactions to help fund the game’s additional expansions as well as pay for the salaries of new staff.
“We understand that there is a lot of fury, anger and disappointment with us adding this. From an economical standpoint however, completely based on statistics, we can already see that the Black Market update is working as we intended. Going forward, we hope we can convince the parts of the community that resist this change that this was the right decision to do to ensure the stability of Overkill as an independent developer and the future growth of Payday 2,” said Listo.
Is that enough to placate the existing player base who now find themselves stuck with safes they can’t open without paying money for them, or at the mercy of other players exploiting some of the overpowered weapons that have been added in to the game which require a real-money purchase? Probably not. Payday 2 now sells for $19.99 on Steam. The Game of the Year edition sells for $49.99 and includes the first Payday, Payday 2, and several choice DLC items added in to the mix.
But those are only the bundle packs, as well as the games themselves. The amount of DLC available if you bought the base game runs in at $110.73, or approximately R1500 at today’s exchange rate. If you bought the GOTY bundle, you have a free game added in, but there’s still $66.87 worth of DLC to buy, on top of the guns, skins, modifications, and other odds and ends in the game proper. There’s no telling how much all of the in-game microtransaction-gated content costs, but it might be just as much as all the DLC on offer, if not more.
Payday 2 is currently available on PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and will be coming to Linux next year. It definitely looks like one of the more expensive shooters to invest in, and if that’s your sort of thing, then perhaps it won’t bother you as much.