Payday 2 is almost ready for prime time and, just like the sequel to any good big-budget Hollywood heist film, the team at 505 Games is upping the ante with thes series' second outing.
We announced earlier this year that Payday 2 would be a fully-featured disc-based game this time around. The original Payday was a $20 downloadable title, allowing players to team up, don some wicked masks and take on a handful of bank robberies and various other types of heists in a tactical first-person shooter setting.
According to Designer David Goldfarb, the development team has turned the dial up to 11 for Payday 2, packing in as much content and as many new features as possible to turn it into a fully fleshed out console/PC action game.
For starters, Payday 2 will feature 35 maps for teams of criminals to master, more than five times the number of missions in the original game. A revitalized skill system and class-based crooks means players will also have more control over the way they play the game.
The dynamic scenario system from the first Payday makes a triumphant return, meaning you'll never play the same mission twice. A large number of parameters are variable, meaning things like how many cameras are wired in a bank and where they are located can change. The available on-site resources can alter. Which types of law enforcement and their methods for trying to bring you down will change, as will win conditions. The getaway van might be parked in an alley one time and down the road the next. Or worse, the van might be missing when you get there, forcing the players to scramble back across the map in hopes of being picked up by a rescue helicopter.
“Basically, we took everything and we pushed it further,” Goldfarb said. “We also wanted to give players a better selection of missions. In the previous game, some of those missions could last 30 minutes to an hour. We still have those longer missions in Payday 2, but we also have quick missions that you can get in and out of in five minutes.”
My team and I were set to rob a small bank during the demo session. I watched as one of my cohorts strolled casually into the bank, all while Goldfarb was explaining that we should try casing the bank first and, “Oh, wow, are you really going to walk in there like that? This is bad.”
It WAS bad, it turned out, as our opportunities to discover helpful resources, like stacks of planks to board up some windows, were lost. By the time I grabbed a drill out of the back of a truck and made it into the bank, the authorities were already breathing down our necks.
We managed to survive, however, fighting off waves of increasingly aggressive police, nearly getting choked by tear gas that was being pumped in through the ventilation system, and then finally hauling heavy bags of gold to our getaway van. When all was said and done, two of my partners and I were cheering over our success.
“You guys left me behind,” the fourth teammate said. For the record, he was the one who walked into the bank like he owned the joint. Leaving him behind, of course, was a complete accident.
Goldfarb explained that loot has become a big part of Payday 2, much of which is comprised of one use items that make the next mission a bit more enjoyable for the player; thus adding value to the items being stolen as they pay for things you can use, then need to buy again for use in a future mission.
“Basically, it's kind of a heist simulator RPG at this point,” Goldfarb added. “This game delivers the robber fantasy. There aren't many games that do that. That, coupled with the meta game of the skills and the loot system, I think, are what make it unique.”
Goldfarb touted the large amount of customization options and the new loot system as being his favorite additions to the formula, saying that the systems were built to be fun and keep the player coming back for more.
505 Game’s Payday 2 is scheduled to arrive in late August for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.