Monty Python alum John Cleese is now in Payday 2. The Hoxton’s Housewarming Party update in Payday 2 adds a number of features focused on players now being able to customize and upgrade their safe houses. The new additions include masks, weapons, a shooting range with a damage calculator, and the ability to repaint the escape van used at the end of missions. (Gee, I wonder if that will include van skins to buy later?) The new safe houses come with another benefit. That’s John Cleese voicing Aldstone the butler!
The veteran actor is no stranger to videogame voice work. John Cleese was in Jade Empire, James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing, The Elder Scrolls Online, Fable 3, and more, going all the way back to Monty Python & the Quest for the Holy Grail.
After the recent skirmish in the Payday 2 player community over the paid DLC and weapon drops, developer Overkill is kicking off the new year with a DLC based on Goat Simulator. In the Goat Simulator Heist DLC, the crew of robbers has to gather cocaine-filled goats and… The whole thing is dumb. Just dumb. At this point, there’s no good explanation for the staying power of the Goat Simulation phenomenon.
It’s $6.99 on Steam and will go live tomorrow. Yes, that makes it about $3 less than the actual Goat Simulator game.
On October 15th Starbreeze and Overkill updated Payday 2 on the first day of the game’s annual Crimefest event with a feature that immediately caused chaos in the community. The Black Market Update added locked “safes” to the loot tables that could only be opened via the purchase of “drills” sold for $2.49 each. The safes contained a random assortment of weapon skins. Unlike the similar “gun case” system used in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Payday 2’s skins improved the stats of the base item. As expected, this update was met with negative reactions from the players. Some people accused the developers of changing the game to a free-to-play economy with pay-to-win transactions. Since the weapon improving skins could only be obtained by purchasing the drills needed to unlock safes, it was a charge that stuck. Adding fuel to the fire was this 2013 promise from Payday 2’s then producer Almir Listo:
We’ve made it clear that PAYDAY 2 will have no micro-transactions whatsoever (shame on you if you thought otherwise!)
Things obviously changed since that quote from Almir. While neither Starbreeze nor Overkill have publically commented on the issue, they have released a patch that added the drills to the loot tables as well, giving players the chance to obtain them for free. Since no one outside of the development studios knows the spread of items on the loot tables, it remains to be seen if this will placate disgruntled players.
Actually, it’s Keanu Reeves’ grim killer from the eponymous movie John Wick. Overkill Software, in cooperation with Lionsgate has added the guns akimbo hitman to Payday 2 for free as part of the multi-stage “Crimefest” update. (Akimbo guns wasn’t in Payday 2 before this?) Wick officially comes in update 40, which puts it ten behind Keanu’s actual age. According to the trailer, Wick and longtime Payday gang member Chains have history.
If crime is your business then business is good. According to Starbreeze, developers of Payday 2 and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, they’ve turned a 15-year $14 million financial loss record into an almost $16 million net positive thanks to their latest games. Starbreeze CEO Bo Andersson Klint credited the turnaround to the company’s reorganization and focus on its own franchises in the latest earnings report. He went on to say that Starbreeze’s current success is based on a “pulse” schedule of sales and DLC releases on Steam. Klint also noted that Starbreeze has secured another $6 million from publisher 505 Games to commit to two more years of content support for Payday 2.
In related news, Starbreeze released the Death Wish update for Payday 2 on PC yesterday. It adds two more enemy types, (including the Elite Bulldozer pictured above) a new Death Wish difficulty level, more collectible masks, free in-game brass knuckles, and 35 more achievements. The update is free for all owners of Payday 2 on Steam.
Okay, funtime is over kiddies. It’s time to get serious. Up to now, Payday 2 has been going easy on you. No more. As of today’s update, the cloakers are back. These Sam Fisher-esque dudes were the bane of heists in the first game, but for the sequel, they’ve been on sitting this one out. Polishing their nightvision goggles. Charging their stun batons. Practicing their fancy parkour. Now they’ve clocked in.
Returning from PAYDAY: The Heist, the Cloaker has come to spoil the fun and stop the heist. Good thing Gage has some new goodies for players’ inventory to keep that from happening. The Cloaker is a free update that is added to the game for everyone. He’ll gladly beat you with his baton, free of charge.
The cloaker update coincides with the release of a $5 pack that includes a couple new weapons and masks.
One of the complaints that some players of Payday 2 had was that at higher levels the game could get to be kind of a grind. There’s only so many times you can rob the same bank and vandalize the same mall before it all blurs into one monotonous crime spree. (Maybe the game was a meta-commentary on the supposed glamour of the criminal lifestyle?) Starbreeze added a few new heists since launch, but they didn’t do much to relieve the grind. Rather than try to fix the game for those that dislike it, how about catering to those that love it as it is?
The Infamy update for Payday 2 adds exactly what grind-addicted folks want. More levels! Better than that in fact! A chance to start all 100 levels over and unlock special Infamy levels! Just like the Prestige program in Call of Duty, players that max their criminals in Payday 2 can elect to go back to level 1 and grind their way through all the levels again. Players lose all their skill points and spending money, but they get to keep all their masks, guns, and equipment – although they may have to claw their way back to the appropriate level to use those items. Every time they max out, they can unlock another Infamy reward! Up to 14 times! Grind, grind, grind!
The Infamy update is free for all owners of Payday 2.
Console players of Payday 2 can now purchase the “exclusive” pre-order bonus DLC for $4.99. The Lootbag DLC includes a red dot sight for rifles and shotguns, some in-game cash, a “unique” skull mask, and two cosmetic patterns. The old marketing image, (viewable here) clearly states that it was supposed to be only for pre-orders.
“These items will not be available to purchase after launch.”
There’s no word yet on whether or not PC players on Steam will be able to purchase this pre-order DLC. It’s as if there’s no honor among thieves.
As much as I like Payday 2 — What else is any serious Payday fan going to say about this sequel? — it’s nearly criminal how badly developer Overkill has mismanaged the overall experience. I just want to play Payday 2 the way I want to play Payday 2. I just want to grind an easy mission. I just want to quickly jump into a game with other people. I just want to play a practice game to figure out how to mix methamphetamines. Do I use the caustic soda before the hydrogen chloride? I just want to be the baddest bad-ass shotgun toter I can be. But developer Overkill won’t let me.
This week, Josh Bycer, Tom Chick, Rob Harvey, and Jason McMaster are up to no good in Payday 2. Find out who sucks at making meth, who got lost in the apartments, who broke his legs wearing a monkey mask, who got burned up in a bus, and who is the master of the Payday 2 quiz.
Pick-up groups are a sometimes harsh reality of Payday. But the irony of the above screenshot is that the guy turned out to be really nice. He bumbled around the nightclub a bit while me and the other two guys chatted at him to get the last bag of money. Jerk, get the last bag of money, we typed. Someone finally spoke into voice chat. “Jerk, go upstairs and get the last bag of money”. At that point, a fella is just as likely to drop out of the game as he is to go upstairs and get the last bag of money. Fortunately, Jerk went upstairs and got the last bag of money. Then, in the post-game lobby, he thanked us for our patience and explained that he was “so fuckin high”.
After a few weeks that were no real threat to your wallet, it’s the week of August 12. Which is no week of August 19, but it’s close.
If you liked Payday, you need — yes, need — Payday 2. Developer Overkill really lived up to their name with this one. Unfortunately, I’m not going to sink much time into such a deeply progression-based game when my progress is just going to be wiped at release. So after sampling a press build, I’m poised to pounce as soon as the game goes live tomorrow. Or tonight. What time is it?
Unfortunately, there’s one problem. That problem is Europa Universalis 4, also out this week. Paradox’s strategy games have been getting exponentially better in terms of design smarts — Victoria and Crusader Kings are nothing short of revolutionary, and their sequels are better in every way — and also in terms of interface, AI, and quality control. I can’t wait to sink some serious time into this fourth version of their magnum opus series. But there’s one problem. That problem is Payday 2.
Also, there’s another problem. Occult Chronicles is Vic Davis’ fiendishly clever and fiendishly fiendish strategy game about exploring a haunted house. After a beta period of letting players bang on it while he does his usual fine-tuning, Davis releases the final version this week.
Also this week Craig Hubbard, the man from Monolith who arguably invented Kate Archer (pictured, because she’s awesome) in the No One Lives Forever series, releases an early access version of his new studio’s game, Betrayer. It’s just an alpha, but given its pedigree and how absolutely weird it is to play a black-and-white shooter about zombie conquistadors, it’s a viable wallet threat for anyone who doesn’t want to wait until the game is done.
In this new golden age of co-op shooters (thanks Left 4 Dead!), Payday: The Heist is one of the best games you can play for hearty accessible gunplay, a gratifying long-term leveling system, and a handful of dynamic memorable heists. And this weekend you can play the PC version for free. Give it a shot and remember that you have to grind the easier missions a few times to build up your character for the tougher missions. Be sure to play with the difficulty settings for greater risks and therefore greater cash rewards. Because cash is, of course, your experience points in Payday.
Once you’re sick of the bank, which is the equivalent of the game’s tutorial, try the crackhouse a few times to see how it can unfold. And when you really want a challenge, see how many of the diamonds you can snag — they’re basically big fat xp gems that are yours for the taking! — before setting off the alarm in the Nakatomi Plaza skyscraper mission. That one is actually my favorite for how unpredictable it is. Just ask the CFO.
Although Payday: The Heist works best with three other players, you can bring along AI buddies. They won’t use any of the game’s nifty toys, take hostages, or have the common courtesy of bringing along extra ammo for you, but they do have their own infinite supply of bullets and they’re very conscientious when it comes to reviving you.
Payday is available on Steam free of charge through Sunday at 1pm California time.