The makers of the PAYDAY series want you to know that the game’s still doing well, and PAYDAY 3 is still in the works. There’s just one snag: the game doesn’t have a publisher yet.
The note was included in an update from Overkill Software, posted over the weekend. Tobias Sjögren, who became acting CEO of Starbreeze Studios after Mikael Nermark resigned late last year, confirmed talks were still in the works to find publisher support.
“We’re working hard on the game and to secure the right publishing partner for it; it’s really important for us we find the right partner in crime,” Sjögren said.
In years past, Starbreeze might have looked at self-publishing PAYDAY 3. The franchise has been a huge success, but life hasn’t been great for Starbreeze over the last few years.
Sjögren is the studio’s third CEO, following Nermark’s departure for “unspecified personal reasons” in October 2020, and the resignation of Bo Andersson Klint in 2018 just as Starbreeze faced insolvency.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Starbreeze kept finding itself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Overkill’s first-person spin-off of The Walking Dead series sold so poorly that publishers Skybound Entertainment — the company who licenses Walking Dead video game spin-offs — cancelled its contract with Starbreeze, killing the console versions of the game before they could be released.
“Sales related to [Overkill’s The Walking Dead] amounted to SEK 34.1 million in the fourth quarter 2018. Costs related to development of OTWD has so far exceeded revenue,” Starbreeze said at the time.
Thanks to millions of losses and a 12 month reconstruction period, Starbreeze was forced to sell off a ton of its assets to stay afloat. Their Indian art house, Dhruva Interactive, was bought by Rockstar for $US7.9 million, slightly less than the $US8.5 million Starbreeze paid in 2016. The publishing rights to System Shock 3 were sold to Tencent, and if that wasn’t ugly enough, the company’s former chief financial officer was convicted of insider trading.
On the bright side, however, PAYDAY 3 is still motoring along. The company told investors that it was targeting a 2022 release for PAYDAY 3, although the company was also expecting to have received a first payment from a publisher for the heist sequel by now.
Sjögren, Starbreeze’s acting CEO, added in their most recent financial update that sales of PAYDAY 2 should keep them going through to the end of this year. “Our overall judgment is that development capital for development of PAYDAY franchise will now be sufficient through the end of 2021,” the acting CEO said. “It also enables us to close a publishing agreement for PAYDAY 3 in the best possible way.”
Question is: where on earth do you take PAYDAY 3 anyway? PAYDAY 2 ventured into a million different directions thanks to five years of steady content updates, including some bizarre jail heists that involved zombies and UFOs. Also, did you hear about the weird Stargate hidden underneath the White House?
I mean, if PAYDAY 3 goes full Stargate, I’m here for it. Sci-fi heists, sure. But I’d also just like to see more organised co-op games like PAYDAY that aren’t zombie-related. We’ve had some good ones over the last couple of years — Deep Rock Galactic and GTFO are doing great — but I’d love to see more games dabble in that space.