Payday 2

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Payday 2
Payday2cover.jpg
Developer(s) Overkill Software
Publisher(s) 505 Games
Distributor(s) Valve Corporation
Director(s) David Goldfarb
Producer(s) Almir Listo
Designer(s) Ulf Andersson
Composer(s) Simon Viklund[1]
Gustaf Grefberg
Series Payday
Engine Diesel Engine 2.0[2]
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Linux
Xbox 360
PlayStation 3
Xbox One
PlayStation 4
Release
Genre(s) First-person shooter, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player, Co-Op

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. An improved version of the game, subtitled Crimewave Edition, was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in June 2015 (on 12 June in the UK and Europe and on 16 June in North America).[3]

Two years after the events of the previous game, a new gang comes to the Washington, D.C. area to perform another heisting spree. The player takes control of one of the gang's seventeen members and can perform heists alone, with up to two AI players, or with (up to) 3 other players. Heists include robberies of banks, shops and armored cars, producing and distributing narcotics, stealing prototypes, art and artifact theft, rigging elections, framing corrupt politicians, taking on rival gangs, breaking into mercenary bases and FBI facilities, enforcing protection rackets, smuggling weapons and drugs, stealing explosives, raiding warehouses, prison breakouts, casino robberies and various others. The game differs on the previous by allowing much more customization of the player (aesthetically and gameplay-wise), more variety in levels, and has reworked stealth mechanics.

An accompanying web series was produced to promote the game.[4] The game was profitable from pre-orders alone[5] and received positive reviews. Payday 2: Crimewave Edition which offers improved graphics, new content and all previous DLCs, was released on 12 June 2015 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.[6]

Gameplay[edit]

A screenshot of a player engaging with enemies during an assault wave in a bank heist

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 robberies, drug trafficking runs, rigging an election, or stealing smuggled nuclear warheads. 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, Crime.net, where missions pop up periodically as contracts in a map of Washington D.C.[7][8] 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 seven difficulty levels, with increased money and experience payouts for higher difficulty levels. Independent of difficulty was the "pro job" condition - pro jobs give additional experience, but cannot be retried if the players fail, later removed in an update. Some contracts in Payday 2 take place over multiple days, with each day represented by a separate level with different objectives.[9] After a day is completed (in certain 'heists') the game may add an escape level, where the players' original escape is thwarted and they must survive to reach their backup getaway.[8]

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 SWAT units sourced from DC Police, then FBI SWAT, GenSec private security contractors and finally the DHS as difficulty increases. Mixed in with these are special units; all versions of Payday 2 include the "Shield" and the "Taser" - both named for their signature equipment, the "Bulldozer" - a SWAT team member in a modified near-bulletproof bomb suit, and snipers. The Crimewave Edition and PC version include the "Cloaker" - an infiltration and hand-to-hand combat expert. Exclusive to the PC and Crimewave editions are near-indestructable SWAT van turrets, capable of area denial, a medic capable of returning an enforcer to full health with no status effects, and Captain Winters, a well-protected veteran police officer who sustains assaults and buffs enemies until he can be driven off.

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 come out of custody after a set time period, 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 (but some jobs have unique failure conditions).

Players can use skill points to obtain various abilities and bonuses on skill trees representing five criminal archetypes and playstyles. The Mastermind skill tree is pictured in this screenshot.

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, to buy bonus cards without performing a heist, to become infamous, or a player can press a button in their safehouse to 'burn' all of it.

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.[10][11] It is not possible to max out every single tree and players are often encouraged to mix and match skills from each tree to maximize usefulness. Players also receive "perk points," in proportion to their experience earned, that can be used to unlock additional bonuses from 17 "perk decks." Players can switch between 15 profiles of skills, perk decks, weapons and equipment at no cost before starting a heist.

When a player reaches level 100, they can opt to raise their "Infamy" level, up to twenty five (as of 5 March 2015; there are only five levels of Infamy on PS3 and Xbox 360). 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 until they reach Infamy level 5 (going 'Infamous' after this point is free)

Plot and characters[edit]

While the game has no set linear campaign, each heist takes place around the same time that it was released in the real world. In addition, some other plot details are presented through web comics, trailers, and the 'FBI Files' website.

Payday 2, when first released, allowed players to control one of four pseudonymous robbers, three of these returned from Payday: The Heist: former Chicago mobster Dallas (portrayed by Eric Etebari, voiced by 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 crook Hoxton (portrayed by Josh Lenn, voiced by Pete Gold), was arrested by the FBI in between the events of the two games, so Dallas' troubled younger brother (Derek Ray) is recruited to take his place.

The gang's command and control, the secretive Bain (portrayed by Digger T. Mesch, voiced by Simon Viklund), sets up Crime.net, an online service for contractors to hire criminals for jobs that they need done. 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. The first is Vlad (Ilia Volok), a Ukrainian gangster trying to reassert his power after getting out of prison. They assist him by intimidating mall and store owners into paying him protection money again, in addition to harassing his rival, Dmitri, by robbing his nightclub and stealing a tiara made for his wife. The next is Hector Morales (Gary Daniels), a Colombian drug trafficker trying to oust the rival Mendoza cartel. They start by protecting a shipment of cocaine as it is ambushed by police, then weaken the Mendozas by destroying their weapons shipments and burning their stored money at a local bank. When the surviving Mendozas try to give evidence to the FBI in exchange for passage out of the country, Hector has the gang assassinate them. Finally there is The Elephant, (Bokeem Woodbine) a corrupt Republican politician who hires the gang to aid his party. The Elephant has them frame a local senator by planting cocaine in his apartment.

Later in 2013 the gang rob a newly opened diamond store, and hold up a number of armored truck convoys run by the GenSec security company. Their next big job comes in early 2014, when the Elephant tasks them with tampering with the upcoming election to ensure that his ally, Bob McKendrick, becomes mayor. In order to achieve this, the gang track a truck carrying voting machines to a warehouse at night. They infiltrate the warehouse, find the voting machines, and hack them in order for their votes to swing in the Republicans' favor. Thanks to their trickery, McKendrick is elected as mayor of Washington. The gang also assist weapons smuggler Gage (Dash Mihok) by performing a midnight raid on a warehouse belonging to the Murkywater PMC.

Later in the year, Dallas is introduced to "The Dentist" (Giancarlo Esposito) - a middleman for a number of wealthy clients who seems to know a lot about the gang. Dallas initially refuses his offer of work, but when The Dentist reveals that he can use his connections to help free Hoxton from prison, he changes his mind. In order to test their skill, the new contractor has the gang rob the Benevolent Bank, which had never been successfully robbed in its two hundred-year history. Satisfied, he then has them assassinate a Russian mob boss known only as the Commissar, who has ties to Washington's district attorney. With the Commissar dead, the Dentist uses his connections to force the DA into giving Hoxton a retrial at a local court house, giving the gang a perfect opportunity to ambush his guards and free him. While glad for the rescue, Hoxton is annoyed that his alias and mask were usurped by Dallas' brother, and insists that they rename him Houston. After escaping the police, Hoxton and the gang raid FBI headquarters in order to obtain intel on an informant that helped put him in jail.

Around the same time, Chains is on vacation in Sweden when he is ambushed by Interpol agents. He is able to escape thanks to a tip off from John Wick (Dave Fouquette), an old friend from his time in the Navy SEALS. Having recently come out of retirement to enact revenge on New York's Russian mob, Wick tells Chains that he is looking for a crew, to which he responds by inviting him to the gang. After rescuing Vlad's brother-in-law from a plane crash in the woods, the crew descend upon the McKendrick museum in order to steal 'the diamond', a valuable gemstone that the Dentist is interested in. Hoxton's former partner-in-crime, the Irish burglar Clover (Aoife Duffin) is recruited to help, becoming the first female member of the gang.

In January 2015, Bain is contacted by a Croatian weapons smuggler known as the Butcher (Mira Furlan), who sends Dragan (Dragomir Mrsic), a crooked Interpol agent, to the U.S. to help the gang steal a thermobaric bomb. The gang steal the weapon in one of two ways - either by stealing it from a ship at the docks, or interecepting a train carrying it in the middle of a forest. After the job is complete, Dragan stays in America as a permanent member of the gang. After this, Hoxton is contacted by an old associate named Bonnie (Rhona Cameron), a murderer, robber, and compulsive gambler. She possesses information vital to finding the rat that sold him out, and she bargains this information in exchange for a place in the gang. Knowing where the informant is hiding, the gang infiltrate his FBI safehouse to find that it was Hector that sold them out. They kill him and recover the evidence that the FBI have relating to Crime.net. Around this time, Jacket (protagonist of Hotline Miami) joins the gang through unknown means, just as the gang further embarrass GenSec by stealing money from a display vault at their newly built arena. They do this during a concert by Swedish DJ Alesso, using the loud sound of the show's pyrotechnics to mask the sound of their C4 blowing open the vault from beneath.

Later in the year, the Dentist gives the gang his final job - a heist on the Golden Grin Casino in Las Vegas. The vault beneath the casino is tougher than any the gang have faced before, so Bain recruits Russian hockey star Sokol (Alexej Manvelov), who moonlights as a casino thief and possesses expert technical knowledge. With his help, they build the 'Big Fucking Drill' and use it to break into the casino's vault. The Dentist's target is a strange box hidden deep within, though the gang make off with the numerous bundles of money inside the vault as well. Soon after this, Bain recruits former Yakuza member Jiro (Togo Igawa), who travels to America in search of his long lost son, Kento.

In September, Mayor McKendrick, becoming increasingly unpopular due to Washington's rising crime rate, betrays the gang by hiring Commissioner Solomon Garrett in an effort to end their crime spree. Garrett uses Captain Neville Winters in the field in order to assist and inspire regular police in their fight against the gang, but his presence has little effect. After protecting one of Vlad's weapon shipments in an earthquake-ridden Los Angeles, the gang are forced to work for Murkywater officer Vernon Locke (Ian Russell) after he hacks into Crime.net. Locke puts them in contact with Bodhi (Josh Lenn), who helps them raid a Murkywater black site in Nevada, and steal pallets of cash from a Murkywater cargo plane.

The gang's first job of 2016 comes from Vlad, who is eager to capitalise on a power vacuum in Washington's drug trade that was created as a result of Hector's death. He has them intercept a shipment of goats with bags of cocaine smuggled in their rectums. Though an accident scatters the goats around a city block, the crew retrieve them and take them to an associate to have the packages removed. Unfortunately, they are ambushed by a Honduran cartel before this can be done, forcing them to extract the goats by plane as they fight off both cartel members and police. Once this is done, Dallas meets with the Elephant again, who offers them a job from the mysterious Akan. Before Dallas can agree to Akan's terms, he and the gang meet a strange man named Jimmy (Sharlto Copley[12]), who convinces them that Akan is evil and offers them an alternative job. With Jimmy's help, they steal an EMP bomb from a Murkywater train yard and use it to break into a hidden laboratory run by Akan in Russia. While fighting off mercenaries, they steal data relating to Akan's super soldier project and destroy it.

Ron Perlman voiced and portrayed the heister Rust

The next addition to the gang, Australian Kelli 'Sydney' King (Georgia van Cuylenburg), introduces herself sometime later, showing up unannounced during a bank heist and using the surprise of her sudden entrance to steal a bag of money. Impressed by her audacity, Bain offers her a spot in the gang. Not long after, the Elephant requests the crew's help once again. He puts them in contact with Tom 'Rust' Bishop (Ron Perlman[13]), a former member of the Overkill motorcycle club, who has information regarding a BCI helmet that is in the hands of the club. Rust refuses to part with this knowledge, however, until the crew rescue his friend Mike the mechanic and help him fix up his personal bike. After obeying his requests and getting the info they need, the crew steal the helmet from a freight train in transit, fighting through waves of bikers and police before escaping by helicopter.

The gang go quiet until October. Hoxton, frustrated with the crew's small safehouse beneath a local laundromat, organises for them all to move into a larger one elsewhere in the city. After destroying the old one, he phones his old family butler Aldstone (John Cleese), who agrees to fly to Washington to tend to their new home. The Continental Hotel, an establishment in Manhattan that caters exclusively to criminals, offers to have some associates help improve the new safehouse in exchange for their 'Continental Coin' currency. As Christmas approaches, the crew help Vlad's brother-in-law once again when he is cornered by police at a local mall, before they are given another job by the Butcher. One of her ships in the Caribbean was sunk by the local Sosa cartel, so she has them travel to Miami and assassinate the cartel's boss, Ernesto, who resides in the old mansion of Cuban drug lord Tony Montana. At the same time, an impersonator or descendant of Montana (André Sogliuzzo) joins the crew.

In early 2017, the Continental requests the gang's help. Their concierge, Charon (Lance Reddick), was ambushed by mobsters during a weapons deal in Brooklyn. After they save his life, Charon repays the gang by tipping them off about an amount of illegal money kept hidden on a yacht owned by Mayor McKendrick in New York harbor. In retaliation for his betrayal, the crew infiltrate the yacht while it is used as a venue for a re-election fundraiser, and steal the money along with a hard drive containing the passwords to McKendrick's offshore bank accounts.

Downloadable content[edit]

Since release, over thirty downloadable content (DLC) packages have been released for the game including new heists, weapons and game mechanics. The weapon pack DLCs are usually named after the gang's arms dealer, Gage,[14] who was introduced in the Payday webseries used to promote the game.[15] Three weapon packs were later introduced through a new character, the Butcher, though lately most weapon packs have been issued by Gage again.

Payday 2: Hotline Miami is a collaborative project between Dennaton Games and Overkill which includes a heist 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.[16] In 2015, a second Lionsgate collaboration featuring Point Break has been announced containing two heists and a character inspired by the film.[17] The Goat Simulator Heist was added on 14 January 2016, in collaboration with Coffee Stain Studios.[18] The Hardcore Henry Packs were added to Payday 2 on 24 March 2016. The Packs were split up into two DLCs; the Jimmy Character Pack, and The Hardcore Henry Heists.[19]

On January 31, 2017, Payday 2 released a crossover with Shadow Warrior 2, which included a Steam sale on both games, sale on some DLC for Payday 2, and new masks, and melee weapons.[20]

Crimewave Edition[edit]

Announced for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, the Crimewave Edition of Payday 2 includes many features and add-ons from the PC version of the game. It was released in June 2015.[3] It includes all of the aforementioned DLC and graphical enhancements such as an improved framerate and texture quality. The developers have stated that future updates will not arrive on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 citing hardware limitations as the reason. In 2016, Payday 2: The Big Score was released for the PS4 and Xbox One, containing all of 2015's DLC.[21]

Soundtrack[edit]

Two soundtracks for the game exist. The main soundtrack comes with completed mix tracks as well as remix materials (such as clean instrument tracks). The soundtrack was also praised as one of the better parts of the game by critics. New soundtracks usually come out to coincide with a new DLC or heist. There are currently around 56 tracks in the game, five of which are remixes of songs from the first game, Payday: The Heist.

All tracks written 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 tracks written by Simon Viklund.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Reception
Review scores
Publication Score
PC PS3 PS4 Xbox 360 Xbox One
CVG 8/10[22]
Eurogamer 8/10[9]
Game Informer 8.25/10[7] 8.25/10[7] 7/10[7] 8.25/10[7] 4/5[7]
GamesRadar 3.5/5 stars[23] 3.5/5 stars[23] 3/5 stars[24] 3.5/5 stars[23] 3/5 stars[24]
IGN 8.0/10[25] 8.0/10[25] 8.0/10[25]
Joystiq 4/5 stars[8] 4/5 stars[8] 4/5 stars[8]
PC Gamer (US) 79/100[26]
Aggregate scores
GameRankings 78.52%[27] 71.54%[28] 68.23%[29] 75.00%[31] 67.43%[30]
Metacritic 79/100[32] 74/100[33] 71/100[34] 75/100[36] 65/100[35]

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.[25] David Hinkle of Joystiq was impressed at the depth of customization, level progression and random elements.[8] 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."[9] Craig Owens of PC Gamer concluded that this game is a "smart co-op shooting slightly undermined by poor stealth mechanics and dogged insistence on withholding the best toys".[26]

Microtransactions[edit]

On 15 October 2015 as part of Overkill's second annual Crimefest celebration, Overkill announced the addition of safes to the card drop system that contained weapon skins, some of which modified weapon statistics. The safes needed to be opened with drills which were only available for purchase with real world currency, leading a fan backlash to their inclusion.[37] On 20 October 2015 the aforementioned drills were added to card drop system, however this did not quell the backlash and Overkill was criticized for poor management of the controversy and silence to the press.[38][39]

On 11 November 2015 Overkill announced the contents of a previously sold DLC investment called the "Completely Overkill Pack" would be a single random skin unique to said pack with a special EXP or Money boost for the team, after promising originally that the contents of the pack will be completely cosmetic. They also announced that seven other DLC packs would be made available for free to owners of the pack, but again, fans backlashed against this seemingly unfair revelation, including the people who bought the Completely Overkill Pack, as the store page for the pack declared it would not contain one of the DLC packs it ultimately contained, and it left the people who bought both the Completely Overkill and Overkill packs feeling short-changed. In response, Steam community moderators for Payday started a protest against this treatment abuse by fans by refusing to moderate the community until granted an interview with Almir Listo, producer of the game.[40][41]

On 30 May 2016 Starbreeze Studios announced that they have acquired the rights to the PAYDAY franchise. They then announced that future safes would be completely free to open. Almir Listo then added a quote from Chains, a playable character in the game, saying, "As Chains eloquently put it, 'Fuck that broke dick piece of shit drill.'"[42]

Sales[edit]

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 the first week and shortages led 505 Games to work with retailers in distributing more copies of the game.[43] The game will still be distributed through the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live and Steam services as planned.[44]

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.[5] 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."[45]

The game has sold 1.58 million copies as of September 2013. 80% of those sales were digital.[46] As of 1 November 2014, Payday: The Heist and Payday 2 together have sold more than 9 million units.[47]

eSports[edit]

A Payday 2 tournament was held at DreamHack Summer 2016.[48]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Clay, Sam (13 August 2013). "Music to heist to: Payday 2's musical masterpiece". VG247. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "WALKING DEAD DEVELOPER ACQUIRING VALHALLA ENGINE". 
  3. ^ a b "Payday 2 Brings More Cops-Versus-Robbers Shooting to Xbox One and PS4". gamespot.com. 2014-06-12. Retrieved 2014-06-13. 
  4. ^ Gauntlett, Adam (2013-06-06). "Payday 2 Live Action Web Series Cracks Its First Vault". The Escapist. Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  5. ^ a b Mudgal, Kartik (8 August 2013). "Gamechup Payday 2 profitable before launch". gamechup.com. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition brings the ultimate heist experience on June 21st". Made For Gaming. Retrieved 2015-05-10. 
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  15. ^ McDonald, Tim (2013-10-04). "Payday 2 web series Episode 6 is more entertaining rubbish". Inc Gamers. Retrieved 2014-09-02. 
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  17. ^ "PAYDAY 2: Point Break Heists". OVERKILL Software. 
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  38. ^ 10/21/15 1:05pm. "How A Game Studio Totally Bungled A Controversy And Lost All Good Will". Kotaku.com. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  39. ^ 10/26/15 1:00pm. "Payday 2's Microtransaction Nightmare Just Got Worse". Kotaku.com. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  40. ^ Phillips, Tom (2015-11-13). "Payday 2's latest update has players in uproar all over again •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  41. ^ "Moderators refusing to work. :: PAYDAY 2 General Discussions". Steamcommunity.com. 2015-11-18. Retrieved 2015-11-30. 
  42. ^ "Payday 3 Confirmed, Microtransactions Eliminated as Starbreeze Buys Franchise Rights". GameSpot. Retrieved 31 May 2016. 
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  47. ^ "Starbreeze AB : Press release November 13th 2014 : Interim Report July 1st - September 30th 2014". Yahoo! Finance. Yahoo!. 13 November 2014. Archived from the original on 25 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015. 
  48. ^ DreamHack AB. "ESPORT". Dreamhack.se. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 

External links[edit]