Masks in tow, Cryss and a team of fellow games writers bravely entered a Vault below Waterloo station, to sit down and discuss the upcoming co-op shooter, Payday 2, with Andreas Hall-Penninger, a QA Engineer at OVERKILL and a man who knows the difference between being a low level crook and a smooth criminal.
Obviously replayability was one of the key tenants of the original Payday. What keeps the sequel fresh during a second run?
“Payday 1 was sort of built around randomisation and we wanted to make that a much bigger thing now. I’ve played the game for a year and I’m still surprised sometimes. We did small things in Payday 1, but now it’s everything even the buildings and the environment.”
“Our fans are playing the beta right now, I’ve watched it so much and I realised that on one level they always put their bags in one place, a container. We cannot change it because of that, so now we made a 20% chance that container might be gone the next time you play. We’ve done a lot of those things, for example the cars by the bank, some of them might be gone. Some doors might be closed, there might be more cameras, there might be more guards and there might be a civilian in an apartment watching you, so you always have to keep an eye on your surroundings.”
Payday 2 is built around CrimeNet. Can you tell us a little more about it?
“It’s a dynamic mission system. In Payday 1 you had a list of levels, you picked one and that’s it. It’s a role playing game now, so we wanted you to feel like a criminal even in the menu.”
“When you enter CrimeNet, you sit there with your friends and you’re waiting for the perfect job. Starting at level 0, you get the easy ones; the jewellery store knock up or the grocery store heist. As you progress as a criminal, get better as a criminal, you’ll get access to the bank heist and the art heist, those kinds of things. So that is all dynamic, they pop up and then they disappear and they might come back in another pay grade or difficulty.”
Will any of the features we’ve seen today be implemented in Storm?
“In Storm? I can’t talk about Storm *chuckles*. You tried but I can’t, I’m sorry.”
What prompted the move to physical media? Could you see a fully priced sequel in the future?
“I hope so. We worked so hard on Payday 2 and all guys they love Payday 2, so this is what we’re going to keep doing and we’re going to make a lot of DLC, a lot of DLC.”
Payday is essentially a co-op game, how does it fare for solo players or smaller groups?
“We have team AI, you can play with team AI. It’s just like Left 4 Dead; you want to play with your friends, right? Communication is essential; the fun factor is playing with friends.”
How exciting was it to bring Payday to the Xbox, and what stopped you first time around?
“I didn’t work on the original, just on the DLC, so I’m not sure about that question. [Bringing Payday 2 to Xbox] is nice; I mean it’s hard work. It’s been tough to port it to consoles, but we get new players and people seem really happy about it.”
You had “The Heist” as the subtitle for the previous game. Is their going to be a tag line for Payday 2?
“We have considered it. I’m not sure yet. We have one, but it’s on hold. We’ll see…”
Are you able to give us a hint?
“Well the game is all about money right now. You never spend money in Payday 1 and that’s a huge difference, so there you go. We’re not sure yet but it’s probably just going to be Payday 2.”
You could never really pull off the “perfect heist” in the original. Is that a possibility this time around?
“Yes it is. I think you can stealth through 80-90% of all levels and there are 26 levels right now. We are not forcing players to do it, but we want it to be an option, because people expect it to be an option. Did you play the bank in Payday 1? You walked into the bank, put on your mask and that was your only option. Now you can walk through the back door, go through the roof or its entirely up to you. Some people still like to play guns blazing and they still have the option to.”
In the first game everyone had access to ammo bags and med kits. What was the reasoning behind cutting that down in the sequel?
“We didn’t want to give everything to everyone. We thought it was better to have people make a choice, spending money and points to invest in their character. You get people to play with each other in another way too, you felt like you really missed the ammo bag. You’re probably going to ask your friend “OK can you spec Enforcer so we can get an ammo bag?”. You’re not locked to one tree, you can spend your points however you like.”
What famous escapades inspired some of the heists in Payday 2?
“There’s one heist called Watchdogs which is inspired by Breaking Bad, however I haven’t seen Breaking Bad so I can’t tell you how. We also have a meth lab, which is kind of Breaking Bad. You’re out in the woods, in a house cooking meth. Of course we have the escape level, which is inspired by Heat. Heat is a huge inspiration.”
You can order hostages to get down, you can cable tie their hands. Are there any instances of hostage negotiation, so if you’re not going guns blazing, will they try and talk it out?
“Civilians are more valuable now, so just like in Payday 1 you can cable tie your hostages and if you’re friend goes into custody you can trade the hostages with police to get your friend back. Keeping hostages will prevent the assault from starting, not entirely but it will give you like 20 more seconds until the cops storm the building.”
“Killing them will cost money, cleaning cost, you really have to keep them down, make sure they don’t escape. It will also make the game harder, if the cops notice that you’re killing civilians, they’ll call for snipers and snipers are tough. You don’t want snipers.”
Payday 2 is scheduled for release August 16th 2013 on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. For more information, be sure to check out our Payday 2 hands-on preview.