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Payday 3 sales "significantly lower" than hoped, but Starbreeze focused on "long-term success"

2024 update roadmap detailed

Image credit: Starbreeze

Payday 3 developer Starbreeze say their co-op heist 'em up is underperforming both in terms of sales and player numbers. They also say they're committed to turning around that performance, with updates to come in 2024 which will revamp progression, the UI, add a solo mode and an offline mode, and more.

"Payday 3's sales and player activity are currently at significantly lower levels than we would like," writes the company CEO in their year-end report. "Our biggest focus and absolute priority, both during and after the quarter, are the efforts needed to ensure that the game lives up to expectations. We are working closely with our co-publishing partner Plaion to identify the changes that we will implement, in both the short- and long-term, that add the most value to the gaming experience.

"There are many examples from the game industry, where a problematic initial time on the market is turned into long-term success. There is no simple recipe available, but a common thread from the positive examples is to take players’ criticism to heart, dare to support your game and keeping an open and honest dialogue with your stakeholders."

A new blog post laid out the 2024 development roadmap, titled "Operation Medic Bag", appropriately. The list of coming changes is long, and includes work on stability, quickplay functionality, and a server browser equivalent to that present in Payday 2.

They're also doing away with the current progression system, which is tied to completing specific challenges, in favour of tieing it to heist completion. DLC pricing is also being reviewed, with a free heist and three paid DLCs planned for release in 2024.

While Payday 3 has been struggling, the end-of-year report did also note that Payday 2 is performing above expectations, "with more than 400,000 active players in single months during the quarter."

Starbreeze are also currently in pre-production on another project, codenamed Baxter, which is a licensed Dungeons & Dragons action-adventure game aiming for release in 2026.

I've played Payday 3 and I'd say that Starbreeze have a long road ahead of them. There are plenty of examples of games launching in a rough state and then turning player sentiment around, but they're usually still fun somewhere at their core. Payday 3, by comparison, felt to me like such an awkward mishmash of systems. A game in which you have to put a mask on in order to climb stealthily and unseen through a window, but then can never remove your mask ever again. Alice B explained more about its problems in her Payday 3 review last year.

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