Payday 2 Preview: Overkill Making ‘Dark Souls of Heist Games’
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We need to pick the thermal drill up from where it has been stashed in the back of a truck outside the bank. A man moving through the parking lot looks over at the four of us with suspicion as I pull on my American flag clown mask, and a second later, one of the other players is waving a gun in his face, forcing him to the ground and zip-tying his hands.
We enter the bank from the back and start to try to sneak around the guards, but about one second passes before we’re seen, identified and forced to defend ourselves. A guard gets shot. An alarm sounds. The heist is already in danger as waves of police start to arrive.
Payday 2 is not a game you’ll want to play with random newbs on the Internet, that’s for sure. My four-player demo with a few other journalists and developers turned into a disaster almost immediately, with my team of bank robbers firing out the bank’s windows and fighting off enemies while I tried desperately to get our thermal drill through the vault door. Meanwhile, ammo dwindled because none of us had spec’d our characters to bring more, and by the time SWAT teams arrived, we were down to silenced pistols.
But for as badly as our heist went, it still was indicative of how fun the Payday idea can be. As Game Director David Goldfarb of Overkill Software explained, his goal is to make Payday 2 “the Dark Souls of heist games.”
The primary goal of the Payday sequel, it seems, is to realize the original vision of the heist game. Goldfarb said Payday 2 has five times the missions (Payday had just six), and that the game would make it feel like you were actually earning new abilities, weapons and mods because of your successes (or failures) in each robbery.
“I wanted to make the game systematically support robbery,” Goldfarb said. To that end, the loot you get on jobs is much more important: you’re not just robbing stuff and having that money disappear, with a payout coming for each completed job.
Instead, loot you gather in each of your heists is important and fuels what you can do with your character. You’ll actually earn the money you steal and keep it, and find special drops like mask components that open up new customization options. As you earn more money, your individual safehouse will become “more pimped out,” Goldfarb said. You’ll even have a vault showing off the stuff you’ve accrued, and other players will be able to check out your safehouse in between missions — sort of like a trophy case dedicated to your life of crime.
But that will make getting jobs that allow you to advance tougher, Goldfarb explained — you’ll rarely see jobs “at your level,” and they’ll be tougher to complete. Easier, lower-paying jobs will pop up much more frequently.
The goal with the spread of tougher jobs is to make thinking about and planning for those heists a bigger part of the game. As we demonstrated during the hands-on demo, you won’t be able to stumble into any job with any team; you’ll want to bring good teammates with you and make sure that you have a good spread of abilities and roles planned in order to be successful, just like a real crew of criminals approaching a real robbery.