Troubled Swedish publisher Starbreeze is apparently going back to what works, announcing today via Steam that Overkill's co-op heist shooter Payday 2 is returning to active development. The studio is re-branding the current 'ultimate' version of the game (which was meant to be the final release, live-action secret ending and all) as the Legacy Edition, and letting players buy DLC separately once more.
This comes after a series of upheavals at Starbreeze, which the announcement is quite candid about. While Overkill (a subsidiary studio) hopes to release Payday 3 some time in 2022 or 2023, the plan seems to be to fall back on the studio's most popular game and a heist-hungry audience to make ends meet, now that parent company Starbreeze sold back the publishing rights for System Shock 3 and Psychonauts 2.
Even before that, this has been a brutal year for both publisher and developer. Overkill's The Walking Dead tanked and was removed from Steam amidst disputes with license-holder Skybound. Starbreeze also laid off a significant portion of its staff in order to stay afloat.
There's no date on when we'll see the fruits of the renewed effort on Payday 2, but the announcement claims that a new update should be rolling out "soon™". Given that Payday 2 is still one of the more popular multiplayer games on Steam over six years from launch, it seems like a good call, both for the publisher and series fans, and a possible route for the company to get back on its feet after a major restructuring earlier this year.
Along with this announcement, Payday 2 has gone on sale once more, with the complete Legacy collection edition (including all but one bit of YouTuber cross-promo DLC) reduced to just £14.23/€18.91/$18.91 on Steam. A good price for a lengthy and enduringly popular shooter featuring crossovers to the worlds of John Wick, Hardcore Henry, Hotline Miami, Point Break, Scarface and even Reservoir Dogs.
When you lay it all out like that, Payday 2 is pretty weird. Cool, though.