With the Crimefest Event for Payday 2 now finished, producer Almir Listo took to Reddit to answer questions regarding all things Crimefest, Payday 2, and most importantly respond to accusations that the new Black Market update was pay to win.
The studio had originally stated such content would never come to Payday 2, which reportedly is one of the reasons why former director David Goldfarb left the studio. After a week of silence since the Black Market came out, it’s good that Overkill Software provided some answers – even if they weren’t what fans ultimately wanted.
After an overwhelming outcry of negative fan feedback since the paid stat-boosting content was announced, Overkill Software relented on the drills being a purchase-only item, and added them into the randomized, free loot drops that any player could potentially receive. This means that the drills, which were previously only obtainable by paying $2.50, were now available for all, though still on sale if gamers wanted instant access. It’s not the first time a developer has retracted their pay to win business models, which is a good indicator that fan feedback can still directly impact these big-business decisions.
Backpedaling on the paid loot crates evidently did little to appease the Reddit community at large, who collectively downvoted each of Amir’s answers, regardless of if the question was about the pay to win controversy or not. Speaking to the masses, Amir stated that he didn’t believe the initial Black Market crate drops had even been pay to win at all, and didn’t affect the balance of the game:
“We believe it isn’t Pay-2-Win, as we balance the game around the base game, not on any DLC you might own or any stat boost you might have. The income we get from the sales connected to the Black Market will actually help us stabilize the game’s future so we can continue working on it as hard as we are working on it today.”
Admittedly, we’re not entirely sure if that answer makes sense. If the game is balanced around the base game and not stat-boosted content, that sounds like it still leaves players who had paid for the stat-boosting content with an unfair advantage, which is why people called it ‘pay to win’ in the first place. Now that the drills can appear randomly in free drops, it’s less of an issue, but this obviously wasn’t Overkill Software’s intention when the update initially went live.
Amir also went on to say that the size of the studio tripled from around 25 people to 75 people after the launch of the game, and that the Black Market update was put in place to help pay for the salaries of the excess staff:
“We want to do everything we can to make Payday 2 as awesome as possible. In order to do that, we made the decision to triple the size of the crew. To ensure that we can keep the size of the team, we decided that the best approach was to introduce the Black Market update to the game.”
In response to this, gamers dug out a financial report from Starbreeze, of which Overkill Software is a subsidiary, which was reporting profits for the 2014/2015. This triggered many Reddit users to question why paid stat-boosting content was introduced, since Overkill Software was already making a healthy profit. Of this, Amir had no answer, but he did go on to say on several occasions that statistics agreed it was the right direction for the game, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see other drill-locked crates appear in the future.
Here’s Amir’s direct thoughts on the logic behind Overkill Software’s new direction:
“We understand that there is a lot of fury, anger and disappointment with us adding this. From an economical standpoint however, completely based on statistics, we can already see that the Black Market update is working as we intended. Going forward, we hope we can convince the parts of the community that resist this change that this was the right decision to do to ensure the stability of Overkill as an independent developer and the future growth of Payday 2.”
Amir also acknowledged that the studio chose not to discuss anything with any press or media until the event closed, likely at the risk of having more negative feedback come in. All thoughts on the Crimefest controversy aside, it was good that Overkill Software decided to have an open round of questions for fans and press alike (albeit belatedly), especially since they knew feedback would mostly be negative.
What do you think about Amir Listo’s answers to the Payday 2 controversy? You can read his other answers here.