Payday: Crime War, Overkill Software and Starbreeze Studio's spin-off from the long-running Payday 2 has officially released on iOS and Android.
Originally beginning development in 2016, Payday: Crime War seemingly fell victim to Starbreeze Studio's massive restructuring efforts in the wake of the failure of their Walking Dead spin-off game, with development being halted in 2019.
Overkill Software's The Walking Dead saw poor sales and reviews, and led to Starbreeze selling off a number of major IP's and publishing rights as it entered a period of reconstruction. As of 2020, Starbreeze and by extension Overkill, were heavily reliant on Payday 2 as their main source of revenue.
However, after development restarted in 2021, the title has new finally been released half a-decade after its first closed beta in 2018. The game secured a new publisher, in the form of Popreach and saw a closed beta in 2021. With Starbreeze now gearing up for the launch of Payday 3, slated to release some time in 2023, the launch of Payday: Crime War will be a major step to pushing the franchise into the hands of a whole new audience of gamers.
Changing priorities and design
Payday: Crime War looks to be a very different beast than the game that was first unveiled. With the original focus being on a player-versus-player FPS-style gameplay between the iconic heisters and law-enforcement enemies, the game has now shifted focus primarily to recreating a scaled-back version of the original Payday 2. Featuring many of the same mechanics, with slightly less detailed graphics and only the four core "heisters" at launch, the PVP cops vs robbers gameplay is still set to feature heavily in a future update.
It reflects not only the shifting priorities for Starbreeze in pushing the Payday IP on mobile, but also the development of mobile games in the relatively brief span since it was first announced. Now, recreating the experience of Payday on PC, with a vast number of NPC civilians and enemies, is entirely feasible.
While many player's eyes will be on the upcoming launch of Payday 3, with the release of Payday: Crime War, Starbreeze and Overkill may soon have a solid foothold in mobile as well. A foothold that could let them climb back to their previous heights and beyond.