Payday: The Heist is a co-operative crime-themed first-person shooter developed by Overkill and published digitally by Sony Online Entertainment (later as Daybreak) for the PlayStation 3 on October 18, 2011 and the PC on October 20, 2011.
Developed by ex-employees of the defunct studio GRIN (best known for the Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter series and the Bionic Commando re-boot), Payday lets up to four players team up as modern-day masked robbers as they perform numerous fictional criminal activities (such as robbing banks, breaking a criminal out of police escort, and hijacking an armed transport of gold bars), all of which end up messy (with the crew using unconventional means to solve problems while eliminating a seemingly-endless supply of law enforcement, from regular troops to heavier special units). Assisting the team is their handler: the mysterious Bain.
Along with special updates (including a cross-promotion with Valve's Left 4 Dead series) and an expansion DLC, the game later received a full-blown sequel (which has received numerous upgrades and alterations, including a wide variety of game updates and new content since its release). Most of the game's levels were later re-made into its sequel, each of which were enhanced to fit the new engine.
As part of a special promotion, the game was made free for 24 hours on October 17, 2014.
Players can choose to play as either an assault, sharpshooter, or support class. Each class can be leveled up over the course of play, and as new levels are reached, new weapons, items, and abilities become accessible. Abilities affected by the leveling system include healing, ammunition dispersal, and binding hostages. Respawns are determined by the number of hostages the player is willing to trade. Objective locations and path requirements vary from session to session, and some optional objectives become available at times that, while not required, can speed up the players' progress in the mission when completed.
Over the course of a mission, the police will come in waves and the AI will adapt based on the player's performance. Police officers utilize a variety of armaments, including smoke bombs and tasers, and some wear heavy armor, requiring more firepower in order to successfully take them down.
Each player choose from four playable characters, each with their own appearance, voice, and backstory:
- Dallas - American. Formerly a mobster. His standard mask is a red-white-and-blue "American flag" clown mask.
- Hoxton - British. Formerly a street hooligan. His standard mask is a pink "droopy face" clown mask.
- Chains - American. Formerly a U.S. Navy SEAL. His standard mask is a red-and-dirty "vertical slit" mask.
- Wolf - Swedish. Formerly a game developer. His standard mask is a red "bloody mouth" mask.
Although players have three weapon slots at their disposal, they only start with two weapons (AMCAR-4 and B9-S). By leveling up their particular Skills, they unlock new weapons. The base game includes 8 unlockable weapons, with 3 additional weapons if the player owns the Wolf Pack DLC.
- AMCAR-4 - Fully-automatic assault rifle automatically given to players when they start the game. Each of the three base skill trees provide upgrades, including damage (Assault), accuracy (Sharpshooter), and magazine size (Support).
- Brenner 21 - Fully-automatic light-machine gun unlocked at Assault Level 22, with damage, magazine size, and recoil upgrades available throughout the Assault tree.
- M308 - Semi-automatic marksman rifle unlocked at Sharpshooter Level 17, with recoil, accuracy, damage, and magazine size upgrades available throughout the Sharpshooter tree.
- Reinbeck - Pump-action shotgun unlocked at Support Level 13, with damage, recoil, and magazine size upgrades available throughout the Support tree.
- AK - Fully-automatic assault rifle unlocked at Technician Level 9, with damage, recoil, magazine size, and accuracy upgrades available throughout the Technician tree. Requires the Wolf Pack DLC. Added on August 7, 2012.
- Mark 11 - Fully-automatic machine pistol unlocked at Assault Level 5, with recoil, magazine size, and aiming speed upgrades available throughout the Assault tree. Optionally, it can be silenced for use on certain occasions.
- Locomotive 12G - Pump-action shotgun unlocked at Sharpshooter Level 7, with firing rate, magazine size, reload speed, and recoil upgrades available throughout the Sharpshooter tree.
- Compact-5 - Fully-automatic sub-machine gun unlocked at Support Level 21, with reload speed, aiming speed, recoil, and accuracy upgrades available throughout the Support tree.
- GL40 - Single-shot grenade launcher unlocked at Technician Level 21, with damage, explosion range, and maximum ammo increase available throughout the Technician tree. Requires the Wolf Pack DLC. Added on August 7, 2012.
- B9-S - Semi-automatic silenced pistol automatically given to players when they start the game. Each of the three base skill trees provide upgrades, including magazine size (Assault), recoil (Sharpshooter), and accuracy (Support). Although its silencer is mostly used for cosmetic, it may be beneficial on certain occasions in certain missions.
- Crosskill .45 - Semi-automatic pistol unlocked at Assault Level 13, with damage, recoil, and magazine size upgrades available throughout the Assault tree.
- Bronco .44 - Double-action revolver unlocked at Support Level 6, with accuracy, damage, and reload speed upgrades available throughout the Support tree.
- STRYK - Fully-automatic machine pistol unlocked at Technician Level 2, with magazine size, recoil, and damage upgrades available throughout the Technician tree. Requires the Wolf Pack DLC. Added on August 7, 2012.
The base game includes six different levels, also known as "heists". They can be played in any order and have their own dedicated soundtrack (which is affected by the mission status).
- First World Bank - The most straightforward of the heists, First World Bank has the crew holding up the large bank of the same name, breaking into its vault, and getting out with the cash. One of the few heists that is not locked for the Easy difficulty. (Soundtrack: Gun Metal Grey)
- Heat Street - The crew is hired to obtain a package containing valuable plates, but their getaway driver Matt has other ideas. One of the few heists that is not locked for the Easy difficulty. (Soundtrack: Double Cross)
- Green Bridge - The crew is hired to stop all traffic on a stormy bridge and free the convicted son of a wealthy businessman from a prison convoy. (Soundtrack: Stone Cold)
- Panic Room - The crew poses as buyers to a gang of armed drug dealers, instead aiming for a bigger prize: an entire fortified room full of valuables. (Soundtrack: Phoney Money, The Take)
- Diamond Heist - Under the cover of darkness, the crew breaks into one of the top floors of the headquarters of a large diamond distributor with the intent of silently robbing the main vault. It is the only mission in the game that can be completed without initiating combat. The heist was originally locked for the Normal difficulty. (Soundtrack: Low Profile, Breach of Security)
- Slaughterhouse - The crew is hired to intercept an armed transport of gold bars, where they must defend themselves against hired mercenaries. The heist was originally locked for the Normal difficulty. (Soundtrack: Crime Wave)
- Counterfeit - Disguised as pool repairmen, the crew must break into a hidden shelter in a Florida suburb and steal counterfeit money plates from a professional money launderer. Post-release DLC heist added on August 7, 2012. Players can only participate either by owning the Wolf Pack DLC or by joining the lobby whose host owns the DLC. (Soundtrack: Home Invasion)
- Undercover - The crew is hired to overlook a shady deal between an IRS employee and representatives of a big corporation, only to take the "taxman" hostage with the intent to hack into the server he intended to deal. Post-release DLC heist added on August 7, 2012. Players can only participate either by owning the Wolf Pack DLC or by joining the lobby whose host owns the DLC. (Soundtrack: Three Way Deal)
- No Mercy - Also known as Payday: Mercy Hospital, No Mercy is a special non-canonical post-release crossover heist with Valve's Left 4 Dead series, taking place in Mercy Hospital shortly prior to the events of Left 4 Dead. The crew is hired to hold up the hospital and find blood samples of those infected with a rare virus. It was added on July 26, 2012 and is exclusive to the PC version. (Soundtrack: Code Silver)
PC System Requirements
- OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7
- Processor: P4 3 GHz or Athlon FX-53
- Memory: 1 GB
- Video Card: NVIDIA 8800 or ATI x1900
- OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7
- Processor: Core 2 Duo or Athlon x2
- Memory: 2 GB
- Video Card: NVIDIA 260 or ATI 4850