Payday series developers Starbreeze have not had a breezy few years. In 2019, they faced the serious threat of shutting down due to their financial situtation. Things eventually started looking up after their restructuring process and they reiterated plans for Payday 3 following the completion a publishing agreement.
They've now indeed signed on with co-publishers Koch Media. They've also doubled down on those plans to launch their next grand co-op heist 'em up in 2023. That's not as far away as it was the first time they said it, but it sure still isn't soon.
According to their announcement today, Starbreeze remain the owners of the Payday series and will continue to lead development. Details of the deal haven't been disclosed, but Starbreeze estimate the combined investment in Payday 3 from development until 18 months after release to be €50 million. Payday 3 began development in October 2019, they say, and will enter production phase this year. Acting CEO Tobias Sjögren says,
"We are excited to announce this exclusive long-term Payday 3 co-publishing deal with Koch Media who shares our passion for the Payday franchise and the 'games as a service' model. In addition to securing the continued development, this deal secures global publishing of Payday 3 as well as the marketing efforts through the entire game life cycle. We now have a strong foundation for a successful launch of Payday 3".
Starbreeze also say they plan to support Payday 3 "with additional content and functionalities planned for long beyond the original release date." No big surprise there, as Payday 2 continued getting new heisting content for years after launchas well.
It's good to hear that Starbreeze and Payday 3 definitely have a future. Payday 2 is still one of the best co-op games in 2020. "If you’ve never played Payday 2 or its predecessor, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was about perfect planning, stealth and crowd control," says the RPS hivemind. "The reality is a bit different, and it usually goes like this: the four of you excitedly chat about how you’re going to approach a heist, you split up, someone fudges it almost instantly and every police officer in the world turns up to shoot you all in the head."
If they do indeed manage to launch Payday 3 by 2023, that'll put it a decade after the original launch of Payday 2. I imagine folks will be eager enough to return to co-op heisting by then.