PAYDAY: The Heist Q&A – New Details & Trailer Revealed by the Devs

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PAYDAY: The Heist Q&A – New Details & Trailer Revealed by the Devs

Right before E3, OVERKILL Software dropped by the Blog to debut PAYDAY: The Heist. At the time, he described it as “an action-filled first person shooter for the PlayStation Network that lets you take on the role of a hardened career criminal executing intense, dynamic heists.”

After going hands on with PAYDAY, media referred to it as “Left 4 Dead with Banks” and “My favorite discovery of E3.” With the game’s release scheduled for later this year, we had some questions of our own. Fortunately, OVERKILL obliged, with creative director Simon Viklund providing detailed answers about the game, as well as this new trailer.

PlayStation.Blog: What was the inspiration for PAYDAY: The Heist? Why was it important to focus on four-player co-op and not going the Left 4 Dead route with 4 v 4?

Simon Vicklund, OVERKILL Software: The idea came from way back – a pet project of sorts for the guys on the team. Part of what eventually caused us to start working on the project was the profound truth that Dane Cook shared when he said that “every guy wants to be part of a heist” – we realized how incredibly accurate that statement is, haha. Then of course, a lot of inspiration came from several epic Hollywood movie movies such as “Heat”, “The Dark Knight” and “Die Hard”. There’s also an ambush sequence in one of the heists that is inspired by a scene in “Clear and Present Danger” – but you get to be the guys that are doing the shooting!

PSB: Casing the bank pre-heist: Is it purely for atmospheric effect, or can you use it to your advantage in any way?

Simon: While it definitely adds to the anticipation of the heist there is of course a tactical aspect to casing the joint. The more information you can gather before letting the cat out of the bag, the better. In order to actually start the bank robbery you need to put your mask on and draw your weapon – and within a certain time from that point, the police will show up. So you’ll be “ahead of the game,” so to speak, if you have already scouted the place and know where the guards and cameras are, and where the bank manager – who you need to find – is located. Random elements make this a worthwhile approach every time you play the First World Bank Heist, and there are other heists with similar intro sequences. Other heists are even more dependent on sneaking and scouting. We have a Diamond heist where casing is even more important as you’ll be taking out alarms, avoiding laser beams and sneaking around guards.

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PSB: You’ve mentioned that PAYDAY has “endless replayability.” How widely can individual heists vary? In what kinds of ways?

Simon: The objectives in the heist remain the same; the way you achieve those objectives can be different from play-through to play-through. It’s not just the pacing of the attack waves and the enemy’s entry points that change, but also things like the behavior of NPCs and their tactics. Certain people you need to locate are always found in different places, a bag of C4 dropped from a helicopter sometimes lands on the roof, sometimes in the back alley, etc. There’s a heist we call “Slaughterhouse” in which you shoot at an armored car to make it stop. Depending on when you manage to stop the armored car, its final position will differ – and that greatly effects how the rest of the scenario plays out! Another element that adds to the replayability is the statistics that measure your success during a heist: How many civilians did you kill? How fast did you complete the heist? You can decide to try to do a “clean hit” and complete the level without killing any civilians, or simply polish your completion time. On top of this there are four difficulty settings, and while your are playing the game you constantly get new weapons and toys that you make you want to try new tactics in each heist: What if I set up trip mines here? What if I put a bag of extra ammo there? The scenarios weave into the hub style level design in such complex ways that seeminly small decisions can make a great impact.

PSB: You can tie down civilians to take them out of commission — why is crowd control important? Will civilians ever attack you or impede you?

Simon: First and foremost, civilians are important to the game from a thematical perspective. If you rob a bank, there will be customers there, and that’s something you’ll have to deal with. Civilians can be an asset to you, as you can use them to trade with the police – but if you kill civilians you will be penalized.

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PSB: There’s a “call out” button that you can use to communicate with your buddies and A.I.s. This is an interesting choice, why did you make it?

Simon: Civilians will panic and start running around if you don’t “remind” them that they need to stay low, and if they run around they tend to get shot – and you don’t want that. This is a great marriage between a thematical concept and a gameplay mechanic, and it also adds a sense of chaos to the experience that makes it all even more exciting. The same button can also be used to shout at police officers to try to intimidate them and make them drop their weapons, or certain character that you need to urge forward and move from point A to point B. Shouting and communicating in general is a big part of PAYDAY, so each of the four heistmen has well over 2000 phrases.

PSB: You can trade hostages to reclaim captured comrades. How does it work? Does it have a downside?

Simon: As mentioned earlier, our aim has been to incorporate all the concepts that you associate with bank robberies and heists – such as civilians, shouting and taking control over a place, and also taking hostages and trading them with the police. If you lose all your health in PAYDAY you don’t die but are rather taken into custody – and although you are automatically released after five minutes, your teammates can speed up the process by trading you for a hostage. We don’t want any stiff menus or other tedious negotiation functions that interrupt the action, so the entire trading process in the game is very streamlined. The police are only willing to trade between their assault waves, so when an assault wave is over your accomplice on the radio informs you that a trade opportunity is open. One of the hostages you’ve taken will be highlighted and your teammate will be released from custody (and respawn right beside you) as soon as you run up to that highlighted hostage and release him/her. As you understand, the civilians are sort of your “extra lives” in the game, so you want to keep them alive for possible future trade needs.


PSB: There are three main classes: Assault, sharpshooter, and support. What makes them differ in terms of tactics and behavior? Are some classes better suited to certain roles, such as crowd control?

Simon: There are actually no classes in the game – we don’t want to limit players to classes. “Assault”, “Support” and “Sharpshooter” are the categories in which we divide our upgrades – they are each a branch in the upgrade tree. If you level-up on the “Assault” branch you’ll get weapons upgrades that are suitable for an “Assault” style of playing; shotguns, more health, etc. If you level-up on the “Support” branch you’ll get stuff that’s suitable for a “Support” style of playing; machine guns, bags of extra ammo, etc. Similarly, leveling up on the “Sharpshooter” branch rewards you with the semi-automatic assault rifle, trip mines, etc. You can change from branch to branch at any point during the gameplay, and the game always shows you what the next upgrade is on each branch, so you’re pretty much picking and choosing what you want as the next upgrade. Again, the Assault/Support/Sharpshooter names are a way to categorize the upgrades *before* you acquire them, but once you actually *have* them you can mix and match as you want and aren’t limited to any class system. There are a total of 144 weapons, upgrades and perks in the game – and more will be coming in DLC!

PSB: Can you spend your earnings to enhance your character or equipment in any way, or does the cash have any long-term benefit? Can you enhance and improve your character in any way?

Simon: You character improves through the weapons, equipment and upgrades you acquire by collecting cash and leveling up on the upgrade tree. The money you collect from each heist also has a prestige value and there will be trophies connected to stealing large amounts of cash. There is a definitely a Trophy for getting a Billion dollars!

PSB: Does the grandeur of the banks increase over the six heist locations? Can you discuss the highest-level challenges?

Simon: You pick your own order in which you complete the heists – we have kind of a “party game” approach where everything is availaible from the beginning. This is because we want you to be able to play the game together with your friends no matter when they started playing the game. There is however a progression of difficulty from one heist to the next. The First World Bank and Street Heists are considered more straight-forward and are available in a an easy difficulty setting that isn’t available for the other heists. Then there are three heists that we consider to be “intermediate” in difficulty, and they are all available in the difficulty settings above “easy”. Finally, there’s the “crown jewel” in your criminal career, the centerpiece on your shelf of accomplishments: The Diamond heist – this heist is only available in the two hardest difficulty settings (“hard” and “OVERKILL”). So, you take on the heists in any order you want to, but we suggest you play the easier ones and gain some skills and gear, and then take on the harder ones later on. Or just join an experienced crew, haha.

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PSB: What kinds of security systems will you encounter, and how can they thwart your mission? What’s needed to overcome them?

Simon: The foundation of the gameplay can be summed up as “outsmarting law enforcers to get the money”, so all peripheral game mechanics converge into that in one way or another – that goes for security systems as well. In the bank there are cameras, and if you take them out the SWATs won’t be able to use as many entry points as they would have if the cameras were intact. The Diamond heist has patrolling guards and laser beams that you need to stay clear of to not set off the alarm (you can complete a great part of the heist by sneaking around unseen). Doors and gates can of course also be seen as security systems, and getting through them with saws and drills takes time – during which you need to survive the constant onslaught of law enforcers. The defenders of the law make a veritable army of police officers, FBI agents, SWATs and heavy SWATs – all with their own behavior and approach to taking you down. SWATs and heavy SWATs, for example, are armored and storm in fearlessly where bank guards and regular police officers are more careful. There are also special units like the SWAT with the riot shield that you need to flank to take down, and the guy in the bomb suit with the massive shotgun who just steamrolls into any situation and just owns everybody.

PSB: What happens when you successfully complete a heist? Is there a final “getaway” sequence? Do you choose your next target?

Simon: When you reach the escape vehicle you are in the clear. Take a breather and read the stats: How much money did you collect? How many headshots did you get? How do your stats compare to the rest of the team? Then, in line with the previously mentioned “party game” approach, you are taken back to the lobby where you can of course choose to give the heist a go again. Often you level up and get new weapons in the result screen (from the cash bonuses you get) and that makes you want to play another game just to try that new weapon out – trust me, this is a game that’s hard to put away! There is always the next score… right!?!?

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1 Author Reply

  • Seeing_Red_Again

    I’m definitely getting this. I hope it comes to PlayStation Vita too with cross-platform play between PS3 and PSVita

  • Hey Jeff, when is the embargo on the previews from the NYC event up? or are we never going to hear about it until gamescom? I need more Vita previews…

    • There’s no embargo, there’s just not a ton of ‘news’. It’s an event largely for outlets that don’t go to E3. Look for some updated previews and new interviews here over the next few days.

  • 3rd…. And does it support local co-op? It looks like a game I would love to pay with me wife.

  • game is ballz

  • any 1 player

  • When does this game come out? And what is the price range for this game? Looks sick

  • I need this game now. I would pre-order now if I could, I know it’s a PSN title, but still, have exclusive items if you pre-order, like different masks, etc

    Demo ?

    3D support ?

  • What engine is the game running off of? looks to be an version of the source engine.

  • Is there planned day one DLC?

  • Hey cool game!I remembered L4D2 when was watching on screens :D What is release date and cost?Will it be PSN game or blu-ray?

  • Oh, by the way I have 2 questions:
    1.Will it be cross-play between PC and PS3?If I will use PC I don’t want to play with “lagging-like” players and if I’ll play on PS3 I won’t play with hyper-fast players=)
    2.Does it uses Valve engine?

  • looks great!!!

  • This game looks so amazing! I have been wanting a game like this for so long, I will pick this one up on day 1!!! :D
    Thank you so much SOE!

    Here is a kind of silly idea for DLC, make the enemies all different types of zombies or freaky monsters :)
    I do have a few questions:

    1. Can you pick up dropped items, such as the riot shield? It would be awesome if you could, but I could understand if you can’t. :P

    2. I know the masks have some customization or selection to them, but do the suits do as well? I notice one guy has different color gloves and a different color suit. So how deep is the customization? I think it would be really great if there were different types of suits, and more son, COSTUMES. I would love to be able to dress up as a nun and rob me some banks! [inspiration from the movie “the town”]

    Thanks for reading! :)

  • @12

    Please no more dam zombies/monsters in video games!! How many games out there do that?? It is getting repetitive and LAME!!

  • @13, I just think it would be some cool DLC, maybe for halloween :)
    Not that many games really use zombies anymore, a few years ago zombies were HUGE with games like L4D and dead rising, again; it was just a little suggestion that might be fun on a holiday!

  • Question: Does it have to be 4 player for online, Example could it just be 3 player if we want?

  • This looks like a lot of fun, though I’m sure I’ll constantly be questioning my morals when shooting cops :P.

  • This looks awesome, can’t wait to try it out.

  • reminds me of the starting scene in the Dark Knight… hopefully it’s as fun.

  • I dont buy many shooter but socom . But im goin to buy this one,. and jeff how much money did you steal..

    I would suggest tellin ghim to add superstores kind alike walmart and target to rob. also basic corner store to rob. in dlc..


  • Looks pretty good for me. Looking foward to this game. Its there some info about the price yet. Is it going to be 1080p or 720p. Any info about the price yet, if any idea, can we PS3 FAN know please. Good luck. Looking foward for your answer.

  • Looks pretty good for me. Looking foward to this game. Its there some info about the price yet. Is it going to be 1080p or 720p. Any info about the price yet, if any idea, can we PS3 FAN know please. Good luck. Looking foward for your answer. From a real PS3 FANNNN :)

  • Anything on price yet?

  • Can we get a release date on this already? Lol this looks more fun the some of the full retail titles dropping this year. I guess you dont want my money ?!?

  • Yeah if this game has local coop, day one buy.

  • game looks great.

    “later this year” is getting old is there a month you’re aiming for?

    and one last thing i really hope these guys add a 4on4 cops vs robbers and a cop mode with the same objectives already in the game just the addition of cops would be nice.

    I want to play as the cops for once

  • This game looks really awesome!
    As “xRedxViolence” above me suggests, I would love to see a 4VS4 cops VS robbers. Is this game coming to Europe in the same period?

  • This game looks promising. I hope it’ll turn out good. Also speaking of Left 4 Dead, when will the PS3 get a compilation (L4D 1 and 2 on one blu-ray), Gabe Newell said he now support the PS3, he needs to make a PS3 version of that game.

    I hope Fox News doesn’t get wind of this.

  • i guess theres multiplayer?

  • Why is that heist in a house? Well, the more different scenery the better I guess. This sounds so deep and fun. When is the release date? Want something to tie me over till BF3.

  • If you could rob a 7-11, that would be pretty sweet. Maybe crash a car into the building safely lol hop out and start the takeover. Then back it out of the building and go to waffle house!

  • how much it will cost?

  • This game looks REALLY fun. As long as theres a demo (Are there plans for one?) i’ll most likely be getting this game.

  • @Aquastorm

    By that logic, Vita, with its cross game chat and party system, should sell like hotcakes.

  • Does this game have either split-screen play or Vita crossplay?

    After enjoying the Uncharted 3 Beta, I wonder why so few PS3 games have split screen… there’s something far more enjoyable about playing multiplayer with your buddies in the same room

  • This game looks awesome. I cannot wait to get it.

  • Can i ask why my ideas on this account that i send to Share NEVER gets put up and no one has the same ideas, but i go on my other account and it works? why is this account being ignored, if you look into this account im a big sony fan but i seem to get screwed all the time, is it hard to ask you guys to just listen to the blog ideas for once, you guys arnt even putting the top ones to action and they have been there since the beginning and thats cuz thats what the people really want

  • A copycat to Call Of Duty? After seeing this video it sure looks like it! Also lol it looks horrible and laggy ridiculous! And now Sony’s making us pay for new updates? Ridiculous and your not proving anything by trashing Xbox-Live SNEA!.. A 6 year old outdated PS3 if you ask me. And still no new features! Where’s Cross Game Chat, Custom Sound Tracks while in game!, A better way to communicate with my friends when I’m not on my PS3? Sony have you ever heard of emails or texting? A longer Ban & Friends list as well! Sick in tired of the crap on the PSN with kids constantly sending one stupid message over and over again! Wow it sure looks like that I was right the PSN is a Child’s playground in virtual space!!

  • is there a single player campaign ??

    can we play with bot only????

    hope to get a answer for it

    (most time there is never a answer from sony staff) hope for a change for once!

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