Payday 2

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For other uses, see Pay Day.
Payday 2
Developer(s) Overkill Software
Starbreeze Studios
Publisher(s) 505 Games
Distributor(s) Valve Corporation
Designer(s) Ulf Andersson
Composer(s) Simon Viklund
Gustaf Grefberg
Engine Diesel 2.0
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Release date(s)
Genre(s) First-person shooter, tactical shooter, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution DVD-Rom, Blu-ray Disc, download

Payday 2 (stylized as PAYDAY 2) is a cooperative first-person shooter video game developed by Overkill Software and published by 505 Games. The game is a sequel to 2011's Payday: The Heist. It was released on 13 August 2013 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A second version of the game is scheduled to be released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in June, 2015, subtitled Crimewave Edition.[5]

Two years after the events of the previous game, a reformed Payday Gang come to the Washington, D.C. area to heist. The player takes control of one of the gang members and heists alone, with up to three AI players, as four player cooperative play or some combination of the previous to rob banks, do political engineering, traffic narcotics and more. The game differs on the previous by allowing much more customization of the player and reworking its stealth mechanics.

An accompanying web series was produced to promote the game.[6] The game was profitable from pre-orders alone[7] and received positive reviews.


The game consists of a variety of 'heists' that a player can opt to either carry out by themselves, with the AI, or as part of a multiplayer game. There are heists such as bank robbery, a drug trafficking run, and rigging an election. Some of the heists put a large emphasis on stealth, often leading to bonus experience points and money on completion.

The level selection menu is styled as a fictional website,, where missions pop up periodically as contracts in a map of Washington D.C.[8][9] The player can pick up an open contract, join a contract another player has started, or buy a contract with in-game money in an offshore bank account. There are five difficulty levels, with increased money and experience payouts for higher difficulty levels. Independent of difficulty is the "pro job" condition - pro jobs give additional experience, but cannot be retried if the players fail. Some contracts in Payday 2 take place over multiple days, with each day represented by a separate level with different objectives.[10] After a day is complete the game may add an escape level, where the players' original escape is thwarted and they must survive to reach their backup getaway.[9]

Many jobs in Payday 2 can be completed in stealth. If players avoid getting caught on camera, evade or silently kill security guards, and keep any civilian witnesses from calling the police, the alarm will not be raised and the players will receive an experience bonus. Otherwise, players will have to achieve their objectives, carry out any loot they find to a dropoff point, and then reach their escape point under the pressure of constant police assault waves. Most of the enemies are DC Police and FBI SWAT teams, with GenSec private security contractors at the highest difficulty level. Mixed in with these crews are four special units: the "Shield" and the "Taser" - both named for their signature equipment, the "Cloaker" - an infiltration and hand-to-hand combat expert, and the "Bulldozer" - a SWAT team member in a near-bulletproof bomb suit.

If a player takes too much damage they will be knocked down and incapacitated. If no one helps them back up, or if they are downed a number of times without healing, they will be taken into custody. On lower difficulty levels players in custody will eventually respawn, but otherwise their teammates must take a hostage to trade to get them back into the game. A job is failed if all players are downed or in custody.

At the end of each heist, the player is presented with a screen with three cards, one of which is to be chosen by the player (called a "Payday"). These bonus cards can be either weapon modifications, masks, colors or materials for masks, or experience or money boosters. Players can purchase and customize masks, although these are purely cosmetic and have no effect on the gameplay.

Throughout the game, players accumulate money and experience. The money is divided into two parts. 20% of the money is given to the player to spend on weapons, masks and skills, and 80% is placed into the player's "Offshore Account", which is intended as part of the story to be the player's retirement fund, however the player can use it to purchase heists from a broker or during special periods announced by Overkill to buy bonus cards without performing a heist or to become infamous.

As players earn experience points, their reputation level increases. When a player's level increases they earn skill points, allowing them to buy abilities and bonuses from skill trees representing five criminal archetypes and playstyles.[11][12] It is not possible to max out any single tree and players are often encouraged to mix and match skills from each tree to maximize usefulness (such as combining a skill to carry bags faster and throw bags farther in the Enforcer tree with a skill to pack and pick up bags quicker from Ghost). Players also receive "perk points," in proportion to their experience earned, that can be used to unlock additional bonuses from six "perk decks." Players can switch between perk decks and 5 sets of skills at no cost before starting a heist.

When a player reaches level 100, they can opt to raise their "Infamy" level, up to five (as of 29 December 2014). Becoming Infamous grants a player access to special skill trees and items and gives them special poses in lobby screens. However, raising one's Infamy level causes them to lose all of their spending money and experience, and a sum of $200,000,000 is deducted from their offshore account.

Plot and characters[edit]

Payday 2, when first released, allowed players to control one of four pseudonymous robbers. Three of these returned from Payday: The Heist: former Chicagoan mobster Dallas (Simon Kerr), bankrupt Swedish software developer gone mad, Wolf (Ulf Andersson), and rogue Navy SEAL and mercenary Chains (Damion Poitier). The fourth member of the gang, the English robber Hoxton (Pete Gold) is in jail at the start of the game, so Dallas' troubled younger brother (Derek Ray) is recruited to take his place.

The gang's command and control, the secretive Bain (Digger Mesch on camera, Simon Viklund as his Voice), is now also portrayed as the owner and operator of Bain arranges for The Payday Gang to relocate to Washington D.C. and helps them set up heists and jobs in the area. Bain also works to connect the gang with other contractors: Vlad (Ilia Volok) - a Ukrainian gangster trying to reassert his power after getting out of prison, Hector Morales (Gary Daniels) - a Colombian drug trafficker trying to oust the rival Mendoza cartel, and "The Elephant," (Bokeem Woodbine) a corrupt Republican politician who hires the gang to aid his party and friendly lobbyists.

The "Big Bank" DLC introduced a new contractor named "The Dentist" (Giancarlo Esposito) - a middleman for a number of wealthy clients. "Big Bank" is the first of a series of jobs from the Dentist,[13] and in return for the gang's service he helps them break the original Hoxton out of jail. "Old Hoxton" returns to the gang, determined to find out who gave up evidence on him, with the "New Hoxton" renamed "Houston." A promotional tie-in with the 2014 film John Wick added the film's title character as a playable heister as well, with the explanation that Wick and Chains used to work together.

A new crew member named Clover (Aoife Duffin) joins the crew as they are about to descend on the National Gallery for the new heist "The Diamond", hailing from Ireland, she is the first female heister to be available to play as in the Payday series. The character was announced by then lead designer David Goldfarb via his Twitter feed, then after no news on her status for months her trailer was shown live on the "Crimefest" stream on October 18, 2014 as part of celebrating the Payday series' third birthday where she sang happy birthday to "", the trailer was released on YouTube a week later. She was teased in the 2014 annual Halloween event where her name was accidentally revealed, next she was teased in the promotional art for the "Gage Historical Pack" downloadable content, she was again teased in the 2014 annual Christmas event song "The 12 Days of Xmas" before finally being confirmed for release on December 16, 2014 along with the "The Diamond" heist.[14]

On January 22nd, 2015, a fourth DLC character a crooked Croatian police officer named Dragan (Dragomir Mrsic), was released as part of the Dragan Character Pack. His addition ties into to a new contractor "The Butcher" (Mira Furlan), whose contracts are part of "The Bomb Heists" pack.

Add-on Content[edit]

Since release, over a dozen add-on content packages have been released for the game including new heists, weapons and game mechanics. The weapon pack DLCs are named for the gang's arms dealer, Gage,[15] who was introduced in the Payday webseries used to promote the game.[16]

  • The Diamond Store Heist[17]
  • Armored Transport[18]
  • Gage Weapon Pack #01[19]
  • The Charlie Santa Heist (GO Bank)[20]
  • The Infamy Update[21]
  • Gage Weapon Pack #02[22]
  • The Death Wish Update[23]
  • The Election Day Heist[24]
  • Gage Mod Courier[25]
  • Gage Sniper Pack[26]
  • The Shadow Raid Heist[27]
  • Big Bank[28]
  • Gage Shotgun Pack[29]
  • Gage Assault Pack[30]
  • Payday 2: Hotline Miami[31][32]
  • The Hoxton Breakout
  • John Wick[33]
  • Gage Historical Pack[34]
  • The White Xmas Heist[35]
  • The Diamond Heist[36]
  • Clover Character Pack[36]
  • The Bomb Heists[37]
  • Dragan Character Pack

Two additions to the game contain obvious references to Valve software, including the presence of a Team Fortress 2 turret as part of the Armored Transport pack and The Charlie Santa Heist originally being a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map. The Gage Assault Pack is a parody of Battlefield Hardline, a game with a similar theme of cops and robbers. This is meant as tribute to EA Digital Illusions CE as both they and Overkill Software are based out of Stockholm.[38] Payday 2: Hotline Miami is a collaborative project between Dennaton Games and Overkill which includes a heist heavily influenced by Hotline Miami. The John Wick pack is a collaboration between Lionsgate and Overkill to bring the titular character from the John Wick movie to Payday 2.[39]

Crimewave Edition[edit]

Announced for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, this version of the game is expected to include many features and add-ons from the PC version of the game for the consoles. It is expected to release June 2015. [5]


Two soundtracks for the game exist. The main soundtrack comes with completed mix tracks as well as remix materials (such as clean instrument tracks).

All songs written and composed by Simon Viklund, except where noted. 

A second soundtrack entitled A Merry Payday Christmas features music played during the "GO Bank" heist from a boombox in said bank. It consists of humorous Christmas music sung by Hoxton (Pete Gold) from Payday: The Heist while in prison.

All songs written and composed by Simon Viklund. 


Critical reception[edit]

Review scores
Publication Score
PC PS3 Xbox 360
Computer and Video Games 8/10[46]
Eurogamer 8/10[10]
Game Informer 8.25/10[8]
GamesRadar 3.5/5 stars[47]
IGN 8.0/10[48] 8.0/10[48]
Joystiq 4/5 stars[9] 4/5 stars[9]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings 78.52%[43] 71.54%[44] 75.00%[45]
Metacritic 79/100[40] 74/100[42] 75/100[41]

Payday 2 has received generally positive reviews from critics with general praise from the cooperative elements but heavy criticism for the friendly AI. Vince Ingenito of IGN praised its cooperative gameplay, stealth mechanics and sound design, but was not as impressed at graphical quality.[48] David Hinkle of Joystiq was impressed at the depth of customization, level progression and random elements.[9] Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer described it as "When all its clunky gear suddenly align, the result remains phenomenal: a combination of Left 4 Dead's randomly generated mayhem and the muscular precision of a hardcore shooter, topped off with the big screen frisson of being the smart-suited, fright-masked guy with the AK, ordering the hostages onto the floor or standing in the street, holding off the SWAT team in a flurry of cordite and thunder."[10]


Payday 2 is Overkill's first game to have a boxed retail release. The director of Payday 2, David Goldfarb, stated that "Payday 2 has become just too big to reserve release on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network alone." Reports of strong sales in its first week causing shortages led 505 Games to work with retailers in distributing more copies of the game.[49] The game will still be distributed through the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live and Steam services as planned.[50]

On 8 August 2013, just under a week before launch, Starbreeze Studios confirmed that the game was profitable from pre-orders, covering all of the money invested by the publisher 505 Games. All new profit will be divided between the studio and publisher.[7] Starbreeze Studios president Bo Andersson-Klint said:

"Today Starbreeze has once again demonstrated that our strategy of focusing on our own properties is correct. Not only have we managed to deliver a desirable product in Payday 2 but also executed a promotion that few companies of our size can. We now look forward to the royalty income that can secure the company's development of its own IP in the future. That Payday 2 generates revenue for the company six days before the release is of course very unusual for games of this size and strengthens the long-term nature of our strategy."[51]

The game has sold 1.58 million copies as of September 2013. 80% of those sales were digital.[52] As of November 2014 the number is more than 9 million.[53]


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  39. ^ Keanu Reeve’s ‘John Wick’ film content will be woven into a Payday 2 online game episode
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  53. ^ Listo, Almir (25 November 2014). "2 Million Heisters - The Road Ahead". Retrieved 25 November 2014. 

External links[edit]