Starbreeze Studios kicked off Payday 2’s 10-day Crimefest community event earlier this week by introducing random weapon-filled safes which require drills purchased with real money to open. Update: Starbreeze has added drills to the game’s loot table so players can receive them for free.
“Payday 2 Joins The Steam Economy” reads the announcement posted on Starbreeze’s website on Thursday, detailing the introduction of the safe/lock mechanic to the game. There are two types of safes—Crimefest II and Sputnik—each requiring a particular $2.50 drill purchased via the Steam marketplace to unlock. Inside are special rare weapons skins, which can be sold and traded via the Steam marketplace as well.
Were the skins simply cosmetic upgrades, perhaps the player outcry wouldn’t be so loud, spanning Reddit, Steam forums, Twitter and anywhere else fans can connect with Starbreeze and its offshoot, Overkill Studios. Unfortunately the skins are more than that, as detailed on Overkill’s page on the update.
Aside from looking awesome, a skin offers more than cosmetics. Skins can improve the stats of the weapon, perhaps making it more stable or affecting concealment. Some skins come with associated mods, capable of further improving the stats. Finally, a rare Stat Boost modifier might come with the skin, giving you that extra edge.
Selling keys to unlock chests containing special items is nothing new to PC gaming or Steam—it’s a key feature in games like Counter-Strike Global Offensive. The issue here is the perception of pay-to-win mechanics, plus the fact that Payday 2 developers have said in the past that they did not want microtransactions in their game.
Mayby tipsters cite an interview with the game’s lead designer David Goldfarb posted by Gamespot back in 2013, in which he is asked if Overkill Software anticipated putting microtransactions in the game.
Asked if Overkill Software anticipated putting microtransactions in the game, Goldfarb bluntly stated, “No. No. God, I hope not. Never. No.”
Also being cited is a Steam update from 2013, in which it the game’s producer assuages fans worries over microtransactions.
The Steam page for PAYDAY 2 has been updated based on your feedback. We’ve made it clear that PAYDAY 2 will have no micro-transactions whatsoever (shame on you if you thought otherwise!) and we’ve made it more clear that the PAYDAY loot bag is part of the Career Criminal Edition as well.
Starbreeze has been listening to player concerns, but has no plans to address the situation until after the Crimefest celebration is completed, as indicated in today’s Steam news update.
We’ve read a lot of your feedback. We’re aware that there are those of you who are unhappy or concerned about the Black Market update. Once Crimefest and all its content is out we’ll discuss this with you along with the other new features that were added. While we usually get back to you straight away when you have feedback, right now we’re busy as hell making sure we finish all the content we prepared on time.
Payday 2 was released more than two years ago and has remained microtransaction free until now, though it has enjoyed a constant flow of low-priced ($.99 to $4.99) downloadable content. Perhaps with some forewarning the addition of paid unlockable content would have gone smoother. Dropping microtransactions in players’ laps and then not talking about it for at least ten days was not a great way to do it.
At least they got a new Reddit banner out of it.
Update 10/21: Yesterday’s Crimefest update include the following update note: “Added Drills to the Card Loot Drop reward table. Players can now be rewarded with Drills that can open Safes after successfully completing a heist.”
Everybody happy now? Not at all.