It's a banner week for Payday 2, as it's once again time to celebrate the game's anniversary. That means it's time for Crimefest, which is going in a bit of a different direction this year. When it was first announced, Overkill Software released a trailer that seemed to point to more of a story, with Bain taking his fellow thieves into the belly of an ancient trasure, just aching to be looted.
Since then, players have been completing a series of challenges in an effort to increase the Crimefest bounty. With the big event set to start in just a couple of days, Shacknews reached out to the Payday 2 team to learn more about what's in store.
Shacknews: It looks like there's more of a story to this year's Crimefest, involving Bain and the ancient treasure of Cagliostro. What can you tell us about the adventure narrative behind this year's event?
Almir Listo, Starbreeze Global Brand Director: For this year's Road to Crimefest, we wanted to tease the community with a mystical website filled with homages to other games, films, and so on. What happens in the narrative of the trailer or the website doesn't necessarily have a greater plot than what you see - where we take it in the long run is all up to the community and how they react to the stuff we do. We know what we want to do for the foreseeable future, but we revise our plan more times than you might like to think!
Shacknews: This year, you wanted a prelude to the big Crimefest event. What went into the decision to offer a 17-day prelude event prior to the 10-day Crimefest event.
Listo: For last year's event, we had an event that lasted from August to October before the actual Crimefest event hit, so last year's "Road to Crimefest" was much longer, even if we didn't call it like that back then. For this year, we felt it'd be nice to squeeze it together for 17 days instead of doing two months. We figured this would make the community be able to enjoy it more since they'd know the rewards that they’d unlock along the way weren't that far away in time.
Shacknews: What went into designing some of the challenges for the Road to Crimefest?
Listo: Designing the challenges was all about the Overkill crew getting together and jamming to see if we could find any fun challenges, as well as rewards for the community to do together. A lot of them are nods to the community in some ways, where we joke about some bug or point to some inside joke that the players can relate to. We did have a few social media challenges at the start of the event but we removed those because the community didn’t enjoy them as much as the in-game challenges. Crimefest and the build up to it is all about us having fun together with the community, so we were happy to change our minds.
Shacknews: Once the Road is completed, it's time for the annual Crimefest. Last year offered up Perk Decks, new masks, and other major additions. What can players expect to see this year? What particular element of this update is the team looking forward to the most?
Listo: This year, we're much more vague in comparison to last year's "Road to Crimefest" where we were more clear on what the community rewards would be when they unlocked them. This year we've done short videos that show the different heisters opening chests very much like Link does in Zelda: Ocarina of Time, a little homage and throwback from our side to one of the best games ever made.
The reward are hinted at and are intentionally vague this year because we have so many cool things in store that we just don’t want to spoil before the event hits. I’d love to share some but I have to keep my mouth shut in order to maximize the surprise when the event hits!
Shacknews: I'd like to take this moment to go back to a few weeks ago, when Overkill and Torn Banner joined together for joint events with Payday 2 and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. How did this collaboration come about? What brought your respective studios together?
Listo: It's funny, because we vaguely hinted at this collaboration last December when we released the Diamond Heist, where we also introduced the first female heister, Clover. In the museum that the heist takes place in, there were weapons and armor from Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. I think some might have realized but it never got that talked about as we anticipated. So yeah, the idea to collaborate goes a long way back, almost a year and a half. We were approached by the fine folks at Torn Banner and had a few talks about different things we could do together. The reason why we love them so much and wanted to collaborate is that - not only is their game Chivalry: Medieval Warfare f***ing awesome - they're also an independent game developer, just like us, who own their own game and IP and decide for themselves what they want to do. We need more developers who stay independent and can make their own decisions and talk with their community themselves without a team of marketing managers standing in the way, approving every word they say.
Shacknews: Are there any other developers you'd like to join up with for a similar joint update in the future?
Listo: Yeah, there's plenty, but they're all secret! I can tell you right now though, that we have one collaboration that will catch everyone off-guard. We're laughing as we're developing it. We hope the Payday community will enjoy the collaboration as much as we did making it happen.
Shacknews: A couple of weeks ago, you offered an update on the Xbox One edition of Payday 2: Crimewave Edition, since it's been having some troubles. What's the current status of that version of the game and when are you anticipating the outstanding issues will be resolved?
Listo: We've done two patches thus far on the Xbox One, trying to fix the matchmaking issues we've had on the platform. As soon as we realized that the patches weren't enough we took the difficult decision to rework the entire matchmaking system on the Xbox One from the ground up. The decision was an easy and a difficult decision at the same time; easy because it was what was best for the players, and difficult because we knew it'd take a lot of time and resources to make it happen. A few weeks back we apologized to our PS4 and Xbox One players, saying that we knew they felt left behind since the PC heisters have been able to receive a steady flow of updates. Since then we've done weekly or biweekly updates to keep them posted on how development is going. In the last message to them, we talk about making the final stretch for a candidate for submission, and that we'll reward them with 10 million dollars in-game so they have some money to play around with when they decide to get back to heisting.
Shacknews: On the subject of the console versions of the game, it's an intense endeavor to work towards catching those games up to their PC counterpart, in terms of updates. It's an even tougher task as the PC version continues to receive updates. When do you hope to have the console versions of Payday 2 all caught up to the PC version?
Listo: Our ambition is always to get the content out there as soon as possible - no matter the platform - that's the ideal scenario. However, working on three different platforms with their own set of systems and rules can affect this in different ways. For example, the matchmaking system that we are building for the Xbox One version of Payday 2: Crimewave Edition is currently our top priority. As soon as we’re done with it, we’ll continue development on the first DLC pack for both Xbox One and PS4. During the same time, the part of the Overkill crew that works on the PC version of the game will continue their development.
Shacknews: Once Crimefest is wrapped up, what's next for Payday 2?
Listo: Haha, that depends on how people react on the content we release during Crimefest! We have 10 days of Payday celebration ahead of us with a ton of in-game features for free to all of the community - as well as some surprises. After the event is over and the smoke clears, we’ll know if we can continue what we had planned or if we maybe have to go back to the drawing board based on the community’s feedback. With Payday 2 being worked on by us until some point in 2017, there’s plenty of room left for a ton of different features, surprises and great content to be made. And we know that we - and our community - will change our minds a thousand times before we get there.
Payday 2's Crimefest begins this Thursday. To learn more about what's coming, be sure to check out the Road to Crimefest website.