It’s hard enough as it is for game developers to capture lightning in a bottle, however after achieving such a feat it is literally impossible to capture that lightning once again with future installments as Overkill Software continue to demonstrate with its long-awaited third installment of the Payday: The Heist franchise.

Payday 2 released all the way back in 2013 and there’s no denying that it has been a monumental cash cow for the folks over at Starbreeze Studios and Overkill Software, given how the game has achieved over 40 million copies sold to date with the game regularly netting the company a hefty paycheck on a regular basis due to the abundance of in-game microtransactions and additional DLC content that has regularly been released over the years.

Payday 3, the third installment was originally announced on January 1st of this with with subsequent gameplay previews and demos being spawned within the last couple of months and I have to say that the game has left me speechless.

Not because the game was spectacular, quite the opposite in fact, the gameplay reveal of Payday 3 looked lifeless which comes as absolutely no surprise given the abandonment of the Diesel engine in favor of the Unreal Engine.

The art direction itself has seemingly been washed out entirely, to the point where you’d actually question if the new higher poly models actually have enhanced detailing over what was originally playable almost a decade ago if you excused the enhanced lighting and reflection.

The textures themselves look muddied and washed out, character models and objects seemingly look lower quality than the previous installment.

Payday 3’s core gameplay looks about as inspirational as the questionable graphical fidelity, it resembles a copy and paste, with some small new gameplay mechanics being introduced.

Overall the game itself does not resemble anything close to a product that supposedly has been in development since 2016, if anything it resembles a sort of mimic Payday 2.5 DLC upgrade rather than a whole new mainline installment, in comparison to the almost decade old incantation, Payday 3 looks and feels lazy.

But you’re not going to hear about that from anywhere else of course, because Starbeeze and Overkill have effectively monopolized the distribution of the Payday 3 beta access, nothing is shown live as it’s actually happening where a select few YouTuber “hypebeast” personalities such as “thekknowley” are personally chosen to show footage and talk about the game.

Of course, most developers do this, with Kylotonn doing exactly this during a live scripted broadcast for TDU: Solar Crown featuring Test Drive Unlimited super-fans like “BlackPanthaa“.

They do this because simply, they can, these internet personality super-fans are more than happy to eat right into the bullshit that developers spoon feed them, obfuscating the truth and reality about the game in particular, they of course refuse to disclose that they are being paid for their coverage, as they are seemingly flown out to play the game and discuss the game over video footage mandated by the developers themselves, though I highly doubt they paid for their own airfare, hotels and meals just to be given the exclusive right to play an in-house developmental build of Payday 3.

Never the less Starbreeze and Overkill seemingly have tried to make amends or rather somewhat confirm my suspicions of this being a sort of lazy rush job, by offering up the game for the low price of $39.99… but that’s for the actual base game, considering how Payday 2 has seemingly been turned on its own head post development as the game was turned into a casual microtransactional monster with a frightening amount of DLC additions you can sorta see where they intend on taking the upcoming sequel.

FOMO or the fear of missing out is a very real thing in the human mind, the false sense of exclusivity and limited time availability really gets people going and Payday 3 is no exception as the game currently has four variations of itself available for pre-order, with those being the $39.99 base version, a $69.99 silver edition, a $89.99 gold edition and a $129.99 collectors edition which is exclusive only to console platforms.

Depending on your choice of edition you’ll gain access to the game early, alongside in-game cosmetic options and of course the dreaded “season pass” entitling you to all of the games downloadable content of which there’s sure to be a lot of for either 6 to 12 months before you’re then expected to hand over even more money buying into the Payday money pit of which it’s expected to feature its own form of digital in-game currency to purchase such cosmetic items in-game.

Overkill are well known for lying about the future plans of their products, notably with Payday 2 Overkill repeatedly said at launch that they would never implement microtransactions or loot boxes, but in order to avoid that they were going to have standard paid DLCs for missions, aesthetics, and weapons.

Two years past release, during Crimefest 2015, they introduced a new item which could be a random reward for completing a mission. These were Safes. And they were basically loot boxes in the truest sense possible.

Typically the Safe item could be randomly acquired after finishing a mission, and the only way to open them was using specialized “drills” which just functioned as keys for the Safe, similar to the likes of CS:GO and TF2’s case / crate functionality. The items inside included varying rarity levels of skins for the weapons in the game which provided the guns with much higher stat boosts than you could normally get with any combination of regular weapon mods.

And although you technically could get some Drills from playing, the drop-rate was incredibly low, meaning that you typically needed to pay money as a microtransaction to get the Drills to open them. They ardently defended these and claimed that it wasn’t loot boxes. At the time, they were not beholden to any company that I am aware of, and in fact, it wasn’t until Starbreeze bought them when they actually removed the Safes from the game.

When they removed the Safes from the game, they let everyone keep their skins, and of course this was a very lucrative situation for them since the skins and Safes could be sold on the Steam market, they eventually re-added Safes, but with no microtransactions attached. The Safes would open automatically with no drill required, but completely random and terrible rates for anything decent.

And the list was truncated, so the higher-end stuff couldn’t drop at all. At some point a few years later they re-added most of the missing Safe types. Sometime in 2021 or 2022 they once again completely removed Safes from the game again, and you can once again only get stuff from the Steam Marketplace, or once per day you have a chance when you complete a mission to get a randomized skin.

After that, they still have a few other blunders, one that burned a lot of people was the repeated “Final” versions of Payday 2. They had released it on PS3 and XB360, only to basically abandon those platforms, citing problems with getting updates approved and being able to get DLC’s out for them, which lead into the upsell tactic to get people to buy the game on next-gen consoles.

Meanwhile, on PC, they released a “Complete Edition” at least twice which was supposed to be the “final” version of the game. But during the last time they had bundled everything, they really, really made it a point to say that they were done with Payday 2, and if they ever came back for ANY REASON, that any future content would be free which of course didn’t happen.

Safes or rather, loot boxes aren’t the only major blunder that Overkill have had in recent times, those would be the failures known as RAID: World War II and Overkill’s The Walking Dead, both spectacular flops promising a payday inspired game but resulted in a completely untested mess that quickly became abandoned, essentially these games pushed back Payday 3’s development repeatedly as the game evidently had been retooled extensively following each subsequent delay.

Overkill and Starbreeze were bleeding money from terrible mismanagement, repeated massive failures for their few releases, and bad direction for future games, so naturally they’d go back for one large milking spree from their profitable cash cow.

Update 237

Overkill and Starbreeze released an crippling update for Payday 2, known as Update 237. This took their 10+ year old game, which was about to have its final DLC release before Payday 3 releases, and it broke the entire thing from top to bottom.

Their intent was to release Payday 2 on the Epic Game Store and more potential players into the game. Seems stupid, considering the game is 10+ years old now, and it has already been on nearly every platform, but whatever. The problem is, that wasn’t all that they wanted to do… They also wanted to change the long-standing Steam-based servers over to Epic’s servers for some retarded reason.

So they implemented Epic’s servers into Payday 2 during Update 237, and it broke almost everything in the game. People could no longer even play single player, because it now required logging in to the Epic Servers, which weren’t working for their game for some unknown reasons.

Making things even worse, even if you could get into the game, there were many missions which were now broken, because various objects were unable to be interacted with due to network changes. Many players were also arbitrarily given the “Cheater” label or even assigned with Steam VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat) bans because their cheat detection systems detected false positives as a result of all the bugs the server changes caused.

This also broke the crucial mods that were required to really enjoy the game.

Ever since Update 237, they’ve released nearly a dozen additional patches and fixes, all of which are not really fixing the systems which worked perfectly fine before this. Frame-rates tanked, match-making still isn’t working for most people, the Cheater label and VAC bans that some people had to deal with have not gone away (and probably won’t), and generally the game is still not in a very playable state.

The only mitigation is to use the command line “-SteamMM” in your Steam launcher before running the game, to tell the game to use Steam’s servers for Match-Making, which fixes a lot of the lag issues and some of the interaction bugs. But other stuff is still broken. And the mod creators are getting very discouraged since everything needs repeated updates every couple of days now to accommodate the frequent patches.

But unfortunately the final nail in the coffin for Payday 3 comes in the form of Overkill’s bait and switch tactic with the motive of having no DRM of any sort or verity, with the Steam / Epic Game Store listings for Payday 3 featuring nothing of the sort but then suddenly out of nowhere Starbreeze and Overkill have introduced a trifecta of cancer.

Those being no modding support combined with online-only DRM and if that wasn’t bad enough Payday 3 will incorporate DENUVO Anti-Tamper DRM as well.

The revelation dropped out of nowhere with the kind folks over at Overkill seemingly answering a self asked question as to why they incorporated such heinous tech as DENUVO Anti-Tamper by completely dodging it with a non-explanation.

DENUVO is highly regarded as being a genuine cancer on system resources, it has been proven countless times that the removal of DENUVO in games improves game load times, frame rates and most importantly improved frame time stability providing a gaming experience with less stutter.

I’ve seen countless individuals desperately trying to simp for Starbreeze / Overkill by pinning the blame towards the likes of Deep Silver but I don’t really care whose fault it really is (Overkill’s) because there has been too many red flags for the Payday franchise in such short succession, Payday 3 looks like a complete disaster in the making as they’ve butchered Payday 2.

Combine this with always online garbage and DENUVO Anti-Tamper DRM, Overkill can shove it and keep their trash. Payday 2 was one of the last few decently fun games in recent times and it just boggles the mind to see just how rapidly these buffoons are fucking it up.