Payday 3's technical playtest starts next week on Steam

Payday 3 closed beta image
(Image credit: Starbreeze Studios)

We got some hands-on time with the upcoming heist-shooter Payday 3 last month and found that in the broad strokes, it doesn't stray too far from its predecessor. We reckon that's mostly a good thing, but you'll soon have the opportunity to judge for yourself in a closed beta test that's set to kick off on August 2.

The Payday 3 beta will feature all four characters from the previous game, each with their own unique set of skills, and one playable heist called "No Rest for the Wicked," a job that can be approached quietly or loudly as you see fit. All difficulty levels will be playable in the beta, but there will be caps on your character progression. Beta gameplay can be captured or streamed, but you can probably expect some rough edges as you go. Starbreeze emphasized in an FAQ that this is a "technical test," so it is "prioritizing meeting our technical goals over letting people try the game."

"The main purpose of this beta is to test our servers and the stability of the game experience," Starbreeze said.

Based on executive editor Tyler Wilde's recent tale of heisting woe, Payday 3 still needs work, but it sounds like it could be a lot of fun too. Co-op games where everyone comes together in a display of competence and professionalism are great, but in my mind the real magic happens when it all goes wrong and you're forced to scramble. You never know how it's going to work out—maybe you recover, maybe you don't, maybe everyone gets mad and quits—but one way or another it's an interesting time.

To get into the Payday 3 beta, head over to the Steam page and click the "request access" button—or, if Xbox is your thing, go to the Xbox Insider Hub, hit up the previews menu, and select Payday 3. Participants will be chosen at random and notified via email if they're granted access—and no, for the record, preordering the silver, gold, or collector's edition of the game will not guarantee you access.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.