Starbreeze resumes Payday 2 development and announces incoming paid DLC

Starbreeze's CEO, Mikael Nermark, announced on Payday 2's Steam community page that it has to break its promise of 'forever free' content and introduce paid DLC in order to support the publisher's long term financial health.

After almost a year in development purgatory, Starbreeze has announced that it will be resuming Payday 2 content. Unfortunately, according to Mikael Nermark, Starbreeze's CEO, some of the content will be coming with strings attached. Green strings. Dollar-sized strings. 

Nermark admits that this is breaking a promise to the community, as Payday 2 players were told that there would not ever be paid DLC to contend with. "To get it out of the door immediately; yes, I know we’re breaking a promise," Nermark wrote on Steam. "We do not do so with ease or take this lightly. [...] We want to move forward and make more of PAYDAY 2, and to do so we need your support to continue producing content. New DLCs will be a mix of paid and free updates."

Prior to December 2018, which is when Starbreeze and Overkill stopped supporting Payday 2, there had been six years of free DLC content. According to Nermark's post on Steam, the sheer amount of content was "confusing for returning or new players and a blocker for people to get into the game." 

This does mean that Starbreeze is getting back to supporting their flagship franchise, likely to both support the game and the development of Payday 3, which the Swedish publisher announced earlier in October

Starbreeze has been through the ringer -- severalofthem, actually -- since shortly before Nermark took over in December 2018. Since late 2018, when Starbreeze's numbers start to careen into the void, Starbreeze has been under reconstruction orders (and had to request an extension). It has sold off the entirety of its publishing holdings, including System Shock 3 and Psychonauts 2, either back to the developers or to their new publishers.

Even though Starbreeze has put together a plan of action to keep itself afloat over the short term, the tumult that has followed the company since the publishing relationship with Dead By Daylight's developer, Behaviour Interactive, ended in 2018 has been abundant. With Payday 3 way out on the horizon, Starbreeze needs to do what's necessary to find its way to financial solvency. 

Paid DLC may not have been the way the developers wanted to handle things with Payday 2, especially after ceasing production on the game's DLC, but the community is either going to vote with their wallets and refuse to pay… or this could finally be the gambit that will help Starbreeze limp to the next checkpoint.

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