PAYDAY 2 is a co-operative first-person shooter action game developed by Overkill Software, and is 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.
PAYDAY 2 was announced in February 2013 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 game features 12 heists, some of which take place over multiple days and locations and are constantly changing due to the new Crime Net system.
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 four classes that players can choose to specialize in: the Enforcer can use heavier equipment and carry bags easier, the Mastermind can persuade police and civilians to assist the crew, the Ghost can disable security systems and sneak through levels easier, and the Technician class, which specializes in explosives and marksmanship, returns from the 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 four member crew of Dallas, Hoxton, Chains, and Wolf. Hoxton is now a different person who took up the mantle of the original, as the previous Hoxton was incarcerated in prison following the events of the first game.
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 review (see below).
In each heist, players are required to complete objectives, usually in an effort to steal cash or valuables. The police will attempt to stop them, but players are expected to fight through them with firearms if stealth is not an option or fails.
A shout is a multipurpose action that both players and AI teammates can perform. By default, it is done by pressing F on the PC, R2 on the PS3 and RB on the Xbox 360, the same button used for interactions. It is used for:
- Calling out to a teammate. If one has the Inspire skill, it can be used to provide a speed boost to a nearby teammate. If the Inspire skill is aced, you can revive a downed teammate from a distance.
- Ordering civilians to stay down.
- Attempting to intimidate non-special law enforcers so that they become hostages.
- Pointing out special enemies.
- As of update 10 it can also be used to spot cameras or guards if the players are still in stealth mode.
Civilians are innocent bystanders who are present when a heist begins. They serve several purposes in gameplay.
Police will attempt to rescue civilians and get them out of the area, which might distract them from focusing on the players.
The players are discouraged from killing civilians; killing a civilian will immediately deduct funds from the player's spending cash (regardless of whether the heist is completed) and add a trade penalty to that player if he or she goes into custody. The civilians have mindless AI, and tend to run around randomly whenever there is gunfire. This makes them a huge liability, as they may run towards shooting players, stand up in front of shooting players, run through trip mines, run in circles around police, and perform other actions that can cause them to accidentally be killed and penalize a player.
The players may yell at civilians to intimidate them and get them to lie on the ground, which makes them slightly less likely to be accidentally killed by the players. Civilians who are lying down can be tied to become hostages.
A hostage is a civilian who has been restrained with cable ties or a law enforcer who has been intimidated using the Mastermind's Dominator skill. They are a means of rescuing crew members from police custody. While it is possible to wait for a crew member to respawn on Normal or Hard difficulty, a hostage exchange is significantly faster.
Once a crew member is taken into custody, Bain will automatically attempt to negotiate with the police. However, he cannot negotiate during a police assault. The amount of time required for negotiations is 5 seconds plus 10 for each civilian whom the crew mate has killed, and is indicated by the timer next to the crew member's name at the bottom-left corner of the HUD. If multiple crew members are in custody at once, then each of their timers will decrement independently.
Once negotiations are complete, the crew must trade a hostage. If a hostage already exists, then they will be highlighted in yellow; if not, then the crew must either tie down a civilian or successfully intimidate a law enforcer. Once a hostage is highlighted, they will remain tradable even during an assault.
If a civilian hostage's cable ties are removed, they will attempt to flee; however, a player with more cable ties can recapture them.
Gangs and special units cannot be taken hostage.
In Payday 2, the role of security cameras is different from the original game. While in stealth mode, a player who stays in a camera's view for too long will cause the alarm to go off; this occurs much more quickly if the player's mask is on. However, neither crouching nor speed of movement change the detection speed of cameras, so when you must pass in front of a camera while masked and no guards are around, sprinting is the best option. An alarm will sound if anyone is killed in front of a camera or a camera notices a corpse.
Certain heists allow the crew to enter a security room and kill the operator of the security cameras. This will prevent the cameras from sounding the alarm, and even allows the players to look through the cameras. Though the cameras themselves do not move and have a fixed field of view, the player looking through a camera may pan with the mouse and zoom with the forward and backward movement keys ('W' and 'S'). When a player looks through a camera, guards and items of interest within the camera's view (whether or not they are visible in the player's view through the camera) will immediately be highlighted for several seconds on all players' screens.
A player who is looking at the camera feed cannot see his HUD. Thus, a player using cameras just to highlight guards and objects may find it advisable to enter camera feed view mode, quickly "flip" through all the cameras and exit, repeating this whenever the highlight fades. This will allow him to keep an eye on his environment in case a guard or civilian shows up. Players can, however, use the in-game chat when viewing the camera feed.
A player requested there to be Titan Cameras.  Overkill saw this, and as of update 24, Titan Cameras are now only on certain missions on Death Wish difficulty. They act as Titan safes (which cannot be lock picked or blown and can only be drilled, which takes even longer) where they cannot be shot or melee. There are only two ways around this, use an ECM Jammer or take care of the security guard watching them. However, some missions like Ukrainian Job don't have anybody watching them, so this causes a problem. (Edit: you have to "use" the camera system after taking out the guard standing near it in order to disable them on Ukrainian Job. Unknown why this is the case in this one mission.)
An assault wave is a period of time in which law enforcers spawn at a higher rate and are more aggressive. Enemies will start moving into the heist area several seconds before the beginning of the assault wave. Each wave's duration is several minutes long, and varies according to the difficulty level. The music will also change 30 seconds before an assault starts, and when the assault ends. Once the assault wave is finished, Bain will also inform the player, and the remaining law enforcers will withdraw back and regroup to prepare for the next attack.
Negotiations for a teammate's release will not occur during an assault wave; however, players can still make a hostage trade if it was triggered before the assault, and below Hard difficulty, the release timer will continue to run, which means the teammates in custody will usually be released before other players can trade them.
Hostages can actually delay the time it takes for an assault wave to begin, which gives the crew more time to prepare and complete objectives, though the law enforcement have a higher probability to go for the hostages when the wave begins, or if a hostage rescue team is sent in.
Only a handful of missions have never ending assault waves, specifically the overpass escape.
There are five difficulty levels, which are set when selecting a Crime.net contract:
- Normal – Risk Level 0
- Hard – Risk Level 1 •
- Very Hard – Risk Level 2 ••
- Overkill – Risk Level 3 •••
- Death Wish – Risk Level 4 ••••
Each difficulty level corresponds to a "Risk Level", which appears as a heist asset, with the exception of Death Wish. As the risk level increases, so do the rewards, strength of the enemies who spawn, and length of the assault waves.
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, Hoxton, Wolf and/or the recently added John Wick), 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 four skill trees in which the player may pursue: Mastermind, Enforcer, Technician, and Ghost. 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.
- Four-player co-op.
- Crime.net – The dynamic contract database allows the player to find and choose from available jobs by connecting with local contacts such as Vlad the Ukrainian, the shady politician "The Elephant", the South American drug trafficker Hector, and the mysterious criminal mastermind "The Dentist".
- Dynamic scenarios – Each heist has random geometry, and sometimes rare events.
- Skill selection – As players progress, they can invest in any of four special skill trees: the Mastermind, the Enforcer, the Ghost and the Technician. Each features a customization tree of associated skills and equipment to unlock, and they can be mixed and matched to suit the player's style.
- New mask system – Players have the ability to craft their own unique mask
- New weapons - sniper rifles, assault rifles, compact PDWs and SMGs.
- Weapon modifications – optics, suppressors, fore grips, reticles, barrels, frames, and stocks affect the performance of your weapon.
- You may name your own weapon but name changes are only visible to individual users.
- Dynamic heist progression – Each job allows for multiple approaches, such as slow and stealthy ambushes, to running in guns blazing. Hit the target any way you want, and watch as the heist unfolds accordingly. Days are also added, meaning one heist could take the course of 1-7 days.
Instead of the list of heists that the original PAYDAY offered, Crime.net offers a dynamic map that rapidly offers many different contracts for heists. Each icon on the map has a randomly selected heist and difficulty, and remains on the map for approximately 30 seconds. Rarer heists usually have higher payouts.
Heists in Crime Net can be selected with an empty lobby, or be entered with a group who has already started. Highlighting a heist offer a description and reveal the difficulty, risk, and the breakdown of the payout. The white stars indicate the initial payout, while yellow stars indicate the risk level. Red heists are Pro Jobs. If the crew fails a Pro Job, it will no longer be available to retry. Some heists are rarer and more valuable than others, others offer a high payout but a higher risk as well.
Overkill Software has launched the website Crime.net in May, where players can sign up for news and promotions from 505 Games products (Overkill Software and Starbreeze Studio).
Main article: DLC (Payday 2)
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, Almir Listo, the game Director and Producer at Overkill, announced that there will be at least five DLC packs for PAYDAY 2. A DLC Season pass has been anounced by David Goldfarb on Twitter, which will be available later on.
A DLC heist titled Armored Transport was made available free to those who pre-ordered the game or at a cost of $4.99 to those who did not.
Only the PAYDAY Loot Bag DLC is available on the console systems (The Sweettooth Mask is a free PSN exclusive).
Gage Weapon Pack 01 was the first DLC centered around the addition of new weapons. It is priced at $4.99.
Gage Weapon Pack 02 was the second weapon centered DLC, at a cost of $4.99.
Gage Sniper Pack, the third Gage weapon pack, was released on the 8th of May 2014 at a cost of $4.99.
The second DLC heist, titled Big Bank, was released on the 17th of June 2014 at a cost of $6.99.
The Gage Shotgun Pack was the fourth Gage weapon pack. Aside from shotguns, it also introduced several new melee weapons. It is priced at $4.99.
You can also download the official manual of the game here.
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 PS3 and Xbox 360 ports of the game have remained largely the same since launch, with plenty of technical issues, imbalance and lack of digital content compared to the regularly updated PC version.
Overkill have since released new updates and DLCs for the PS3 version of PAYDAY while no news has been revealed so far about the Xbox 360 version.
The PAYDAY 2 Official Soundtrack was released to Steam on October 16, 2013, for $4.99. 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.
- Mayhem Dressed in a Suit – 03:08
- Master Plan – 03:30
- Time Window – 02:39
- Black Yellow Moebius – 03:40
- The Mark – 06:54
- Full Force Forward – 04:10
- Tick Tock – 02:50
- Fuse Box – 03:28
- Razormind – 04:35
- Calling all Units – 02:42
- Where's the Van?! – 02:46
- Hard Time – 04:10
- Clean Getaway – 03:18
- Mayhem Dressed in a Suit (Remix) – 02:36
- Let's Go Shopping! – 03:01
- Armed to the Teeth – 05:59
- Sirens in the Distance – 04:06
- Wanted Dead or Alive – 03:39
- Death Wish – 03:10
- Shadows and Trickery – 04:43
- And Now We Wait – 04:17
- Ode to Greed – 3:12
Christmas Soundtrack Track ListingEdit
- 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
PayDay 2 official Soundtracks credits Simon Viklund.
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 these mods as they do not affect gameplay.
- ↑ 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/