The timeline of PAYDAY: The Heist has no official order of which the heists take place in-universe, or canonically.
PAYDAY 2 used to also have no official timeline, and with the much larger array of heists, was more frequently debated, with only few things certain. That was the case until the release of the FBI Files, which contains an official timeline in the "Heist Database". However, some people question whether it is the actual timeline or just a possible order.
PAYDAY: The Heist (2011-2012)Edit
There is little continuity within the heists in the first game, with only the order of the heists in the heist selection menu indicating some sort of timeline.
All that is known for certain is that First World Bank is the first heist in the game, as based on its position on the list in the heist selection screen, the description of the heist, newspapers in Counterfeit, and the description of the heist's PAYDAY 2 remake plus comments by Bain, and Counterfeit occurs after at least Slaughterhouse, if not every heist in the game, as when putting the drill on the Frank Yaeger safe, Bain will comment on how unlike the "other ones", this drill won't jam. It is also presumed Undercover is the last heist to take place in PAYDAY: The Heist due to it being at the bottom of the heist selection screen list.
Hoxton Arrest (2012)Edit
At an unknown time between the setting of the first and second game, the original Hoxton was left behind after a job gone sour. However, all of this was after the first PAYDAY game as his lawyer in "Intro" song in the Merry Payday Christmas Soundtrack says "Look, they got you. You understand? They got you good. You were caught on tape at the Garnet Group break-in, your fingerprints were all over the panic room, and your apartment is filled with blueprints from banks in D.C." This suggests that they had already moved to D.C. He was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Intervention and incarcerated at the same high security prison, Hazelton, and cell as their previous driver, Matt, whom he regularly beats up, which he sees as "karma" for double-crossing them.
PAYDAY 2 (2013-Present)Edit
It has been confirmed by Overkill that PAYDAY 2 takes place after PAYDAY: The Heist.
Pre-FBI Files ReleaseEdit
Until the FBI Files were released, confirming PAYDAY 2's timeline, the order in which the heists took place was almost entirely up in the air. All that was known at the time was that Hector's heists took place in a definite order, along with The Dentist's and The Butcher's heists, though the order of The Dentist's heists are less defined. Additionally, some voice lines indicate a sort of order regarding Vlad's heists.
It was known for certain that Watchdogs takes place before Firestarter and Firestarter before Rats, both based on Hector's comments at the end of the former, and the elimination of the Mendoza cartel's D.C. operation in Rats would make Firestarter occuring after Rats impossible.
The Dentist TimelineEdit
In The Dentist's introductory video, he mentions the First World Bank and Election Day heists while talking to Dallas, along with teasing some of his heists, supporting that Election Day occurs before any of The Dentist's heists.
Hotline Miami is The Dentist's second heist, following The Big Bank. In the heist, the Payday Gang kills The Commissar so The Dentist can convince the District Attorney, whom has relations to the Commissar, to lower security around Hoxton. Since the Election Day heist is committed so The Elephant can have Hoxton be transferred to a lighter-security prison, Hotline Miami would have to occur after Election Day, as if it were the other way around, the act of lowering the prison's security would be moot, since Hoxton would be transferred to a different prison anyway.
The Dentist's next two contracts are Hoxton Breakout and The Diamond, though it was unclear in which order. In the Hoxton Revenge heist, The Dentist's fifth heist, evidence boards show footage of Clover breaking into the FBI office with the rest of the crew in Hoxton Breakout, even though she was released alongside The Diamond, released after Hoxton Breakout.
The Dentist's last teased heist to be released and last heist released so far is Golden Grin Casino, taking place after each of his previous heists.
The Butcher TimelineEdit
The Butcher's two heists occur in a certain chronological order, in a "What if?" scenario.
The Butcher's Forest contract takes place after Dockyard, in the event that the Payday gang fails to successfully steal the bomb from the docks, and the bomb is loaded onto the train that the gang assaults in the Forest heist. However, neither heist retcons the other, both heists canonically taking place in the PAYDAY universe.
In Meltdown, which takes place after Shadow Raid as indicated by the open, empty samurai armor vault, when one of the warhead cases is opened, Bain may reference the Mallcrasher and Ukrainian Job heists ("Vlad, smashing malls is one thing, stealing tiaras is one thing, but nukes?!"), indicating that those two heists take place before Meltdown, and likely Shadow Raid.
Post-FBI Files TimelineEdit
The release of the FBI Files not only confirmed that the heists added to the game post-release take place in the order they were released in, clearing up the mystery around Hoxton Breakout and The Diamond, it also confirmed the order the heists in the game since its release are in. It is shown in the Heist Database that Four Stores is not only Vlad's first heist, it is also the first heist in PAYDAY 2. It also confirms Jewelry Store to be Bain's first contract and Big Oil to be the Elephant's first. It also shows that Beneath the Mountain is Vernon Locke's first contract, though this might just be due to alphabetization.
Murky Station takes place before Boiling Point, as in Murky Station the crew and Jimmy steal the EMP bomb they need to access the hidden lab in Russia in Boiling Point. Also, Murky Station occurs after Locke's heists, as Bain mentions stealing the EMP bomb would earn favors for him.
- GO Bank, White Xmas, Stealing Xmas, and Santa's Workshop are the only heists known to take place during winter. The trailer for The Diamond heist shows a Christmas tree in one of the rooms, showing that it was previously meant to also take place in winter.
|Heists|| Release: First World Bank • Heat Street • Panic Room • Green Bridge • Diamond Heist • Slaughterhouse|
DLC: Counterfeit • Undercover • No Mercy
|Weapons|| Primary: AMCAR-4 • Reinbeck • M308 • Brenner 21 • AK|
Secondary: Mark 11 • Locomotive 12G • Compact-5 • GL40
Pistols: B9-S • Crosskill .45 • Bronco .44 • STRYK
|Deployables||Ammo bag • Doctor bag • Trip mine • Sentry gun|
|Enemies|| Regular: Security guard • Cop • FBI • Gangster • Blue SWAT • Heavy SWAT • Murkywater|
Special: Bulldozer • Cloaker • Shield • Sniper • Taser
|Characters||Dallas • Hoxton • Wolf • Chains • Bain • Minor characters|
|Gameplay||Assault Waves • Cable Ties • Civilians • Drills • Environmental hazards • Police Custody • Reputation • Risk Level (Overkill 145+) • Shout • Stealth • Upgrades|
|Miscellaneous||Achievements • Challenges • Companies (GenSec • Murkywater) • DLC • FBI • Gangs & Mafias • Masks • Options • Overkill Software • Steam Trading Cards • Timeline • Update history|