PAYDAY 2 is a co-operative first-person shooter action game developed by Overkill Software and the successor to PAYDAY: The Heist. It was released on August 13, 2013, for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 via digital distribution and retail. An enhanced version for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 is set to be released on June 12th, 2015 for Europe and June 16th for North America.
As stated in a Steam announcement, official support for PAYDAY 2 will last until 2017.
PAYDAY 2 was announced when very little information was shared, other than Overkill Software would work on the sequel and 505 Games would publish it. In March, Overkill began showing previews of the game to major gaming publications.
The base game featured 12 heists, some of which take place over multiple days and locations. Overkill has released new heists through free or paid DLC, bring the total number of unique heist locations to over 20.
The skill tree system featured in the original PAYDAY has been more fleshed out, and has been compared more to an RPG-like leveling system, with five classes that players can choose to specialize in: the Mastermind can persuade police and civilians to assist the crew, the Enforcer can use heavier equipment and carry bags more easily, the Ghost can disable security systems and sneak through levels easier, the Fugitive can provide quick fighting skills, and the Technician class, which specializes in explosives and marksmanship, returns from the PAYDAY: The Heist Wolf Pack DLC, taking on elements of both the original Technician as well as the Sharpshooter upgrade path.
Similar to the original PAYDAY, heists have many dynamic events. For example, guards may have different patrol routes, safes and vaults may be in different locations, and the amount of cash and loot may be different. Some heists, such as Bank Heist, have different variants depending on the goal (i.e., cash, gold, deposit boxes).
Payday 2 follows a ten member crew:
- Dallas, Houston (at that time known as Hoxton), Chains and Wolf were available at release;
- Hoxton and John Wick were added during CrimeFest 2014;
- Clover and Dragan were added afterwards as paid DLC;
- Jacket was added alongside the release of Hotline Miami 2;
- Bonnie is the most recent addition, added during Spring Break 2015.
Overkill has attempted to address complaints from the previous game. The PC version is regularly updated, runs smoother and looks much better because of the larger studio and the bigger budget. Furthermore, the game has more downloadable content planned than the previous game. The console versions, however, have not received the same amount of positive feedback, due to the lack of updates and support. (See below)
As mentioned in a developer Q&A, PAYDAY 2 will feature special cross-overs into Overkill's upcoming 2016 co-op zombie survival, Overkill's The Walking Dead due to both games taking place in Washington D.C.
- CRIME.NET - A dynamic network of local contacts offering contracts to the PAYDAY Gang.
- Dynamic Heist Progression & Scenarios - Most heists now offer multiple approaches with multiple variations of level geometry and events that can either compliment or complicate your approach. Some heists even have multiple days (a maximum of seven)
- Reputation, Skills, and Perk Deck System - After each heist is complete, the player is awarded with their payday (including a card) and experience to level up their "Reputation." Every level 1 skill point is granted, with 2 bonus skillpoints each tenth level (10, 20, 30, etc). In addition to that, Perk Decks convert experience to perk points using a ratio based on your level, it starts at 100:1, and increases by 100 per perk point for every increment of 10 levels that you hit.
- Player Customization - Players are now able to purchase & customize masks, weapons and modifications for those weapons.
In PAYDAY 2, Bain introduces the PAYDAY Gang to CRIME.NET, a dynamic network of local contacts offering contracts in Washington, DC.
The following descriptions of each contact is derived directly from the Contractor Database:
- Bain - The shadowy figure behind CRIME.NET. No one, not even the crew, has ever met Bain and contact with the contacts and the crew is carefully managed to ensure minimum risk to all parties.
- The Dentist - Little is known about the Dentist. He represents a large clientele whom he refers to as his patients. He is a determined, meticulate planner who has taken a great interest in the PAYDAY gang. He is the only one who knows how to free old Hoxton.
- The Elephant - John Henry Simmons, called the Elephant by the press. A dirty Republican Congressman with mysterious connections that go all the way to the top.
- Gage - Gage is an Afghanistan War veteran, known for being in a wheelchair after an assassination attempt. He is the best weapons dealer within the border - and a good assassin at that. Anything you might need, he's your man.
- Hector - A detail-oriented former business administrator. Hector is the biggest drug trafficker on the Eastern Seaboard and is next in line for leadership of the Sinaloan Cartel in Mexico.
- Vlad - A Ukrainian who used to be a feared enforcer in the Russian Motherland. Vlad's been running his own extortion and crime racket in DC out of his local bakery for years.
- The Butcher - The Butcher's business is weapons - their procurement, sales and distribution. With Gage on an "extended vacation", she is looking forward to a long and fruitful business cooperation with Bain and the PAYDAY Gang.
CRIME.NET in-game serves as the matchmaking service. There are two methods of connecting to CRIME.NET: CRIME.NET and CRIME.NET OFFLINE; CRIME.NET requires internet access, while CRIME.NET OFFLINE does not.
CRIME.NET OFFLINE allows individual players to play with bots in heists. Joining a CRIME.NET OFFLINE game is impossible. CRIME.NET has all the same capabilities as CRIME.NET OFFLINE (except for pausing, even if playing alone), but it allows multiple players to collaborate on the same heist.
PAYDAY 2 is a cooperative first-person shooter with RPG elements. Up to four players can cooperate in a heist.
In each heist, players are required to complete objectives, usually in an effort to steal cash, intel, or valuables.
During the heist, the police will assault with waves of enemies in an attempt to eliminate the players. The players must overcome them and complete the objectives before escaping. For some of the heists, a stealth option is available, allowing players to finish a heist without police intervening. But should the alarm be sounded, the police will begin their assault.
PAYDAY 2 includes several features to allow players to customize their experience including heist assets, masks, skill trees, and weapons.
Assets are tools that the player can purchase using in-game spending cash to assist in completing the heist. Most heists offer some form of assets and typically have unique ones as well.
For instance, an ammo bag may be purchased for use in a bank heist and will be available once the heist starts. In addition to that the player can opt to purchase insider info, which is exclusive to any variant of the aforementioned bank heist.
In addition to choosing your preferred character (Chains, Dallas, Houston, Wolf and/or the recently added John Wick, Hoxton, Clover, Dragan, Jacket, and Bonnie), the player can unlock new colors, masks, materials, patterns to customize their appearance. By default, players will utilize the iconic masks of each character.
At the end of each heist during the card drop, the player has a chance to earn one of the aforementioned components. There is also a chance that one of those drops may contain an infamous variant of said components.
It should be noted that once a mask (excluding the difficulty-reward, Infamy-reward, certain DLC achievement-tied and Poetry Jam masks) is customized, it will no longer be available for re-purchase until it is re-acquired via card drops. Any customization items applied to the mask will also be lost (colors, patterns, and/or materials).
Skill trees are an RPG-esque feature which allows the player to balance between an adaptive and/or specialized playstyle. There are five skill trees in which the player may pursue: Mastermind, Enforcer, Technician, Ghost and Fugitive. As players complete heists and gain experience, they will progressively gain levels; dubbed "Reputation". Each new level will unlock a single skill point (with multiples of ten giving three).
To allocate these skill points, players must use spending cash earned from completing and unlock tiers by allocating enough skill points to gain access to more skills. Each of the skill trees offer new abilities (body bags or silent drilling) to assist the player in completing heists.
Skill tree allocations can be divided into two sets: lower and upper tier. Lower tier skills (tier 1 to 3) costs one skill point to unlock the basic variant and three to unlock the aced variant. Upper tier skills (tier 4 to 6) costs four skill points to unlock the basic variant and eight to unlock the aced variant. Additionally, each skill may be "Aced" by putting additional points into it. An Aced skill may provide a bigger bonus or a different, sometimes entirely unrelated new ability.
The player may revert their skill point allocations via the "respec" option. This refunds them of all points invested into a certain tree for re-allocation, though half of the previous expenditure of money into that tree is lost.
Players can earn weapon attachments and other prizes upon successfully completing heists. For longer heists, this takes place at the end of the final day. Weapon mods are either attachments (such as scopes and suppressors) or modified/replacement parts (such as new stocks, foregrips, etc). Each weapon only supports specific mods, though most mods are usable on more than one weapon.
Each weapon mod affects the appearance and stats of the weapon. Some include a tradeoff (for example, increasing accuracy but decreasing concealability), while others only make positive changes. Players should take care to look at the mod's effect on the stat table, as some descriptions are not always updated.
After a weapon mod is found, it is placed into the player's inventory. The player may use spending cash to attach a mod to a weapon. The mod can be removed from the weapon and returned to the player's inventory at any time, but will cost the same amount to attach it again. For this reason, it is more cost effective to have two of a weapon with different mods than to take the mods on and off (e.g. owning a Compact-5 with a silencer attached for stealth and another with no silencer for greater damage, rather than repeatedly paying to remove and attach the silencer as needed).
Mod effects stack but are constrained; for example, if adding two mods that increases the stability of a weapon to the maximum value possible, adding a third mod that would otherwise increase stability will have no effect. Careful balancing of mods can improve the weapon with no downside, if the negative effect of each mod is canceled by a positive effect of another.
Before CrimeFest Update #39, the skill trees allowed players to be granted special skill bonuses that were sparsed into the different skill trees in addition to the strickly speaking skills. As of the update #39, the skill tier bonuses have been removed from the game, being replaced by the Perk Decks system which works in a similar way, but limits the player's access to beneficial bonuses. Most of the tier bonuses have been revised into Perks, but some have been removed entirely in update #39.
Downloadable Content (DLC)Edit
Overkill plans to release more DLC and add-on content for PAYDAY 2 than for the original PAYDAY. They will be released between August 2013 and July 2014. David Goldfarb and Almir Listo, the game's former Director and current Producer at Overkill, announced that there will be at least five DLC packs for PAYDAY 2. A DLC Season pass was announced by David Goldfarb on Twitter, but has yet to be developed.
Several pieces of content present in PAYDAY 2 were created as results of Overkill's many collaborations with other studios, gaming companies or authors. Notable examples of such collaborations are the Hotline Miami heist and Jacket Character Pack (with Dennaton Games), The Bomb Heists and Golden Grin Casino (with Lion Game Lion), the 2 Humble Packs (with Humble Bundle) and the SpeedRunners masks (with DoubleDutch Games).
Aside from game developers, Overkill Software have also expressed their intention of working with certain gaming hardware companies such as Dell or movie corporations. Notable examples of such collaborations are the John Wick update (with Lionsgate Studios) and the Alienware Alpha masks. A standard copy of PAYDAY 2 is included for free among other things upon purchase of an Alienware Alpha device.
Pre-ordering gave players access to the PAYDAY Loot Bag, which contains the following:
- A unique red dot sight weapon modification available for use on all rifle weapons
- A unique Skull mask
- A unique mask pattern titled "I LOVE OVERKILL"
- A unique color pattern consisting of the colors red and black
- A bundle of in-game cash.
On the 24th of June 2013 Amazon sent emails to pre-order customers stating "We've been informed by 505 Games that the Lootbag DLC will no longer be offered as a pre-order incentive on the PC version of this game". The DLC information page on Amazon now only lists the 360 and PS3 versions.
Career Criminal EditionEdit
The Career Criminal Edition will, in addition to the standard game, grant the following:
- The PAYDAY Loot Bag, which is described above.
- Two beta keys – one to keep and one to give to a friend. A beta key grants access to the PAYDAY 2 beta release, which was released on the 24th of July.
- PAYDAY 2: The Original Soundtrack – A digital copy of the PAYDAY 2 original soundtrack, available for download pre-release. The tracks are composed by Simon Viklund.
- Crime.net discount – Discounts on all in-game purchases (guns, masks, skills etc. not DLC)
- Bain's Guide to the Criminal Underworld – A digital issue of the must-have guide on heisting, written by Bain. The hunt for Baldwin continues.
- Printable heist blueprints.
Console Collector's EditionEdit
The Console Collector's Edition includes:
- Dallas' mask
- Tyvek wallet, which looks like a roll of $100 bills
- A pair of surgical gloves
- PAYDAY 2 Original Soundtrack
As a follow up to the PAYDAY Secret ARG, Overkill Software announced in June 2013 the final prize was that selected players could contribute to the beta testing of Payday 2. Initially 20 people got the beta test invitation, earlier than others from the Payday: The Secret group, and players with beta-keys that pre-purchased the Career Criminal Edition. During this part of beta testing several game builds with different tweaks were released and tested.
PAYDAY 2 public beta keys were released 24th July to buyers of the Career Criminal Edition. This game build contained 7 playable missions over 11 levels.
Payday 2 Beta has been also released for PS3 and Xbox360 on August 13th 2013. The Beta is still available for purchase as digital copy on PS-Store/Xbox Live Store and as a disc version.
Right after the release of the game, it received positive reviews. Aggregating review websites Gamerankings and Metacritic gave the PC version 78.52% and 79/100.   The Xbox 360 version was rated 75.00% and 75/100   and the Playstation 3 version was rated 71.54% and 74/100.  
The game has sold more than a million copies as of 2014, with 80% of those sales being digital. PAYDAY 2 was a hit, pulling Overkill's parent company, Starbreeze Studios, out of financial loss.  
Despite the huge success of the PC version, the low level of attention towards the console ports of the game has attracted a lot of negative feedback from the gaming community. Namely, players bemoan the outright lack of patches, fixes and content updates for the Xbox 360 version even after almost a year since the launch date. This is due to Microsoft not approving of the content update system of PAYDAY 2.
The console versions of the game (Xbox 360 and Playstation 3) remained largely the same until October 2014, where Overkill released an update for both versions bringing DLC and many gameplay changes. On the Steam forums PayDay 2: Crimewave Edition thread, Overkill has stated they will drop support for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions, citing technical limitations.
Overkill have since released new updates and DLC's for the PS3 version and eventually the Xbox 360 version. DLC's include Gage weapon packs 1 & 2, Armoured Transport, and a free mask for the 360 players for their patience.
Christmas Soundtrack Track ListingEdit
The A Merry Payday Christmas Soundtrack was released to Steam as well on December 19, 2013, for $0.99. It has Hoxton singing Payday themed Christmas presumably from Prison.
- Intro - 02:16
- A Merry Payday Christmas - 03:29
- A Heist Not Attempted Before - 03:31
- If It has to be Christmas - 03:44
- I've Been a Bad Boy - 02:57
- Christmas in Prison - 03:54
- Deck the Safe House - 01:50
- If It has to be Christmas American Version (Minor changes to the lyrics and the composer singing instead of Pete Gold) - 03:29
- A Merry Payday Christmas Instrumental - 03:29
- A Heist Not Attempted Before Instrumental - 03:31
- If It has to be Christmas Instrumental - 03:44
- I've Been a Bad Boy Instrumental - 02:57
- Christmas in Prison Instrumental - 03:54
- Deck the Safe House Instrumental - 01:50
Mods and ToolsEdit
A number of fan-made programs exist to allow further control over the PAYDAY 2 experience. This guide gives an overview of some of the available mods. The game's asset files can be explored with the PD2 Bundle Tool available here, documented here.
GEM, the Graphical Enhancement Mod, optimizes both the game's appearance and performance and is described here.
Shadow Map improves performance and reduces input lag and is covered here.
SweetFX is a mod that works with almost every DirectX game, its use for PAYDAY 2 is covered here.
OVERKILL has confirmed that players will not be banned for using mods as they do not affect gameplay.
Controller Support Edit
PAYDAY 2 does support controllers, however, only Xbox 360 controllers and any controllers using the Xinput system will work. Once you have PAYDAY 2 open, make sure you START WITH THE CONTROLLER, otherwise it will not work. There are some keyboard options still available to the user such as the chat feature.
Controller support does however lack certain useful features. Notably controller players will not be able to do any of the following :
- Drawing directly on the map during Preplanning,
- Naming weapons in the inventory,
- Naming skill builds on the switch build screen.
In order to perform any of these actions, a controller-using player must therefore, quit Payday 2, relaunch it using the mouse and keyboard, make the desired modifications to weapon and skill build names, then quit Payday 2 again and relaunch it a second time, using the controller to pass through the introductory videos to the main menu.
- ↑ http://store.steampowered.com/news/externalpost/steam_community_announcements/517125768656400821
- ↑ http://www.overkillsoftware.com/games/overkills-the-walking-dead/
- ↑ http://www.starbreeze.com/timeline/
- ↑ https://twitter.com/locust9/status/337629192944504832
- ↑ http://www.reddit.com/r/paydaytheheist/comments/1g74x7/i_am_almir_listo_producer_of_payday_2_ama/cahdwxi?context=3
- ↑ http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000725933
- ↑ http://www.gamerankings.com/pc/682607-payday-2/index.html
- ↑ http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/payday-2
- ↑ http://www.gamerankings.com/xbox360/707322-payday-2/index.html
- ↑ http://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-360/payday-2
- ↑ http://www.gamerankings.com/ps3/682608-payday-2/index.html
- ↑ http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-3/payday-2
- ↑ http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/payday-2-review/1900-6413620/
- ↑ http://www.ign.com/games/payday-2/pc-142404
- ↑ http://www.pcgamer.com/payday-2-sells-1-58-million-copies-80-percent-of-sales-were-digital/
- ↑ http://www.gamespot.com/articles/payday-2-sales-pull-starbreeze-out-of-15-year-loss-in-six-months/1100-6418040/