Imperfect Fantasies and Future Ambitions
Payday 2 is a pretty cool game. If you haven't heard of it yet, then read our review, and go buy the game. Well, if you have friends. Or the internet. It's a cooperative heist "simulator" where you and three other guys or gals steal money and kill police. How deliciously politically incorrect!
The game had a good few issues at launch, but most of these were fixed in subsequent patches. Now, in an interview with RPS, game director David Goldfarb speaks out about the success of Payday 2, some of the challenges they had during development, and a few ideas for the future. When asked about whether the game's success was due to a market starved for shooters fully dedicated to cooperative play, Goldfarb had this to say:
"To me, it's the high concept of a robbery game that's appealing to people. We imperfectly realised it in the first game, not that we perfectly realised it in the second game cause we definitely didn't. But I think we got closer to the fantasy in our heads. And I think we got closer to the fantasy in a lot of the consumer's heads."
A modest answer, and I believe he is correct. Payday 2 is a huge step in the right direction for the franchise, but is at the same time not a simulator of any kind. It's simply put a very arcadey shooter where you mercilessly gun down enemies without afterthought. The AI is one of the game's weak points, and you never feel like you're fighting a professionally trained police force. With that said, let's not forget that huge step I mentioned earlier. The gunplay, variety in the heists, stealth mechanics and so on are all drastically improved from the original Payday: The Heist. As for the imperfect realisation, he continues:
"We'd have loved to have had more missions and big stuff. But those are things that we're planning to do the next year or so. We will be able to add all the things we would have shipped with if we had infinite time and resources. We're not a big studio, and there's only 30 of us, so we're trying to do everything at once."
... And for the future...
"More heists and big heists are the two things that just jump out. The things I'd like to improve with stealth and some of the skills, are things we can do in the course of the next year, some of those things are for like Payday 3. And if you want to go way way out, there's lots of stuff you can talk about. Do we wanna add vehicles?"
Vehicle sections would be a lot of fun, but only if done right. And this would likely take twice the effort, so it may be far fetched to hope to see it as early as in Payday 3. There are still other elements that could be added into the mix in the future, according to Goldfarb. Things like a versus mode and mod tools. These are currently not in Payday 2 simply due to the limited budget and people at Overkill. With the enormous success Payday 2 had - paying back the development costs a week before the game even launched - I'm willing to go out on a limb and guess that we'll be seeing a lot of cool new ideas coming out of future sequels in the franchise.
For now, we'll have to be happy with what we've got so far, and with the DLCs planned for the coming months.