Beleaguered Swedish studio Starbreeze has announced that it will be restarting development on its popular multiplayer heist game Payday 2, despite shutting down work on the game last December to focus on other projects. It will also be creating new paid DLC, contrary to its previous announcement that all future updates would be free.
All of this comes via a candid post by Starbreeze CEO Mikael Nermark, who explained that the decision to resurrect Payday 2 was made "having reconsidered [the company's] future".
The studio has been engaged in a well-documented fight for survival over the 12 months, following the disastrous launch of Overkill's The Walking Dead - a failure that placed Starbreeze in dire financial straits and lead to the acrimonious exit of the studio's former boss Bo Andersson, as detailed in Eurogamer's lengthy report The fall of Starbreeze.
"On December 3rd, we only had projected cash reserves to run the company until mid-January 2019," Nermark wrote in his post, "This was how serious the situation had become. Since then we've been able, through extremely hard work and commitment by all of our employees, to stay afloat, clean up our business and start thinking about our future and the future of Payday. We're not entirely there yet, but we are starting to look ahead at what's next."
And that future, says Nermark, will at least begin with more Payday 2. Work is already underway on a new DLC, Border Crossing Heist, and the game will receive new updates going forward, "both paid and free".
This, Nermark acknowledges, means that studio is reneging on its previous promise that all future updates to Payday 2 would be free following the release of 2017's Ultimate Edition bundle - which contained the overwhelming majority of previously released DLC.
Although the decision to break its previous pledge was not taken lightly or with ease, said Nermark, the reason it's doing so is simple: in light of the studio's recent difficulties (and, presumably the fact that Payday 3 is now not expected to launch until 2022 at the earliest), "We want to move forward and make more of Payday 2, and to do so we need your support to continue producing content."
To that end, Starbreeze is retiring Payday 2's Ultimate Edition bundle, and replacing it with a Legacy Collection containing all DLC released up to December 2018, minus one charity DLC. Additionally, it is re-implementing an "à la carte" option so that players can purchase DLC individually once more. Future DLC will not be included in the Legacy Collection.
Border Crossing Heist, Payday 2's first significant new DLC offering - which Nermark promised would be detailed more thoroughly "soon" - is currently expected to launch in November.