Payday studio Starbreeze is working on a co-op multiplayer D&D game, and the more I think about it the more it makes sense

Project Baxter concept art - Starbreeze Studios' licensed Dungeons and Dragons game
(Image credit: Starbreeze Studios)

If you've ever thought to yourself that the Payday games are great but they'd be even better if they replaced the guns and bank vaults with swords, spells, and treasure chests, Starbreeze Studios has some oddly-specific good news. Its next big project is a "co-operative multiplayer" game set in the fantasy RPG world of Dungeons and Dragons.

To be fair, I don't know if Project Baxter, as the new game is known internally, will really be something akin to Payday: D&D. Starbreeze described Baxter as "the next AAA title in our niche of cooperative multiplayer games" in its August financial report, when it was still negotiating for the license, but also seemed eager to differentiate it, saying "it is a completely new project, in a completely new genre, compared to Payday."

Still, it sure sounds like the new game won't stray too far from Starbreeze's familiar formula: The new game "will carry the signature Starbreeze game cornerstones," the studio said in today's announcement, including "co-operative multiplayer, lifetime commitment through a games as a service-model, community engagement and a larger than life experience."

"It is hard to imagine a better pairing than Dungeons & Dragons and Starbreeze—both with their foundation in cooperative and community driven experiences, 'play it your way' and infinite replayability," Starbreeze CEO Tobias Sjögren said. "When looking at prospective IPs for our future projects, Dungeons & Dragons was always at the top of our list and I'm incredibly happy to announce this license."

I actually find it quite easy to imagine a better pairing than Starbreeze and D&D. That's not a knock against Starbreeze, but let's be honest, it's probably not the first studio to leap to mind when you think about fantasy RPGs. It's first and foremost a shooter studio: Along with the Payday series, it's also responsible for The Chronicles of Riddick games, The Darkness, and the woefully underrated Syndicate. D&D-style games? Not so much.

Of course, fantasy RPG trappings can be applied to shooters, as we've seen in games ranging from Heretic and Hexen to Amid Evil and Immortals of Aveum, and I'd expect that's what we're looking at here: Less Baldur's Gate, more Baldur's Guns. Starbreeze does actually have one game that very loosely fits that mold to its credit, the 2002 third-person ARPG Enclave, which was remastered earlier this year for current-gen consoles.

And the more I think about it, the more it kind of makes sense. At its core, D&D is about putting together a crew, busting into places you're not supposed to be, whacking the guards, and stealing money and valuables that belong to other people. And that's Payday, right? So maybe Starbreeze is really onto something here.

Whatever's cooking, we'll likely be waiting a long time to get a good look at it: Starbreeze's new D&D game isn't expected to be out until sometime in 2026. For now, the studio's big focus is likely still on Payday 3, which finally got its first big patch last month after a rocky launch.

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.