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Is Payday 3 Still Coming Out?

Starbreeze Studios confirmed that cooperative first-person shooter Payday 3 was in the planning stages back in 2016. Unfortunately, the anticipated game sequel still appears to be missing in action. 

In its 2016 year-end financial report, the developer said the game's production was "officially initiated and at a full design stage." However, Starbreeze's then-CEO Bo Andersson Klint also said, "I'd like to especially clarify, that this project will enjoy as much time as we deem needed. It will be done when it's done. This is our single most important brand today and the cornerstone of our business and we will treat it accordingly."


Clearly, Klint meant what he said. But a lot of time has passed, and Starbreeze has seen its share of financial troubles in the meantime, making the launch of the game less than a sure thing. It's natural to wonder if a release is coming, or if the game's been shelved. Is Payday 3 still being planned? And if so, when can fans expect it?

Starbreeze's business troubles have been an ongoing issue

Following the announcement of the game, Starbreeze has seen its share of tumultuous business events. It started with a decline in the company's stock starting in June 2018, which wasn't helped by the sales of Overkill's The Walking Dead being less robust than forecast.


Then, at the end of that year, an insider trading scandal rocked the studio, resulting in an investigation by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority. Starbreeze offices were raided when executives sold off shares right before a slate of negative news about the company unfolded. 

The developer filed for reconstruction in 2018 and sold off the in-development System Shock 3 in 2019. Executives vowed to cut costs and sharpen the focus of the main business. 

Basically, it sounds like Starbreeze is banking on Payday 3 to save it

"With the focusing of the business, and primarily on Payday, our goal is clear," then-acting CEO Mikael Nermark said in the company's third-quarter 2019 report. "The work with Payday 3, our most important future product, has intensified and we are reworking the design phase."


The latest news is good for fans

The most recent information about Payday 3 comes from October 2020. A tweet from the official Payday Twitter account provided the status of the game: it is in the design phase and is being developed on the Unreal engine with a "release date TBA."


However, Starbreeze provided a slightly more detailed timeline in an "estimate of future cash flows" that it released the year before. It says, "The company estimates that these cash flows will be positive, based on expected new publishing agreements in 2020 and an expected release of Payday 3 in 2022–2023."

Assuming that the COVID-19 pandemic hasn't changed that timeline, as it has for so many other gaming companies, the game should be coming within the next two years. This would be a very welcome development, considering that Payday 2 is already eight years old and overdue for an update. And, while Starbreeze seems to be doing better financially than it did before, having settled much of its debt, it's clear that the developer desperately needs Payday 3 to be a great game. Hopefully fans will be pleased with the results.