Ah Payday 2, you’re probably one of the most controversial games ever made. Not by the content of the game itself, but how developers Overkill have handled the production and post release of their most successful title to date.
Payday 2 On Switch
Where should I begin with the controversy surrounding this Payday? Let’s start from the beginning. Payday: The Heist is a cooperative FPS that is focused around doing robberies and large scale cons, it launched all the way back in 2011 for PC and PS3. This title was a surprisingly big success for Overkill Studios, by selling over 700,000 copies since launch. With this newfound success and large amount of cash, Overkill Studios took just under two years to make a sequel in Payday 2.
Overkill launched Payday 2 for almost all platforms in August of 2013 with some lofty ambitions. First off, Overkill stated they have plans to support Payday 2 for 4 years. This means consistent updates, enhancements, and DLC add-ons from 2013-2017. This is a promise that Overkill has actually gone through on, with support surprisingly being extended all the way into 2019.
Secondly, Overkill promised its fan base that there will be no form of microtransactions throughout the lifespan of Payday 2. Well… that lasted for about two years until Overkill went back on their promise to their community, and added microtransactions (called the Black Market) into their game. This caused fan outrage like the gaming world has only seen a few times. The community was not only upset that they were lied to, but the fact that the microtransactions that were added into the game were stat boosted weapons and gear. This means the more you spent on these microtransactions, you’d end up with a better overall character than a free player. This is a mechanic known in the gaming community as “Pay2Win.”
With this outrage came all sort of bad press for Overkill, not only were they getting lambasted by the gaming media, but there was a gargantuan drop off in player counts for Payday 2. All of this controversy made Overkill remove all microtransactions all together from Payday, and start giving out free content in an attempt to win the community back. But, the dust was only settled for so long before the console community started to get fed up with Overkill themselves.
Shortly after the microtransaction controversy, came the console controversy. The Xbox One and PS4 players were abandoned by Overkill Studios for over 400 days. No updates, no new content for over a year. When these players were promised a game that would be supported for years to come. What made matters even worse, is when console players complained to the developers about the update issue, they were treated to a response of “go to other platforms and fucking play it there.” As you can probably understand, this caused even more outrage. This finally led Overkill to start taking care of the console versions of their game, in which they now update on a semi-regular basis.
Even with all of this background noise about the developer, I was optimistic for the newly released Nintendo Switch version of Payday 2. What excited me about Payday on the Switch is the fact that the Switch is starving for first-person shooters. With the only other big FPS title on the system being the excellent DOOM. So, I took a risk, and went out and purchased the Switch version of Payday 2 on launch day. To be honest with all of you, I regret it… for the most part. And truthfully, I don’t like to moan about things unless I think there’s a problem.
Instead of getting an up-to-date port of Payday 2, Switch owners got a version of Payday that is behind in content compared to the PS4 and Xbox One versions. All in all, the Switch version of Payday 2 is almost a full year behind in content and updates compared to the PC version. Now, Overkill did say they will be patching the Switch version to get it lined up with the other console versions in terms of content. But, with their reputations with patches and updates for us console players, who knows if this patch is ever going to come out.
To make matters even worse, the Switch version itself suffers from loads of technical issues. With frame rates dropping to the low 20s whenever there are any form of alpha effects on screen (smoke, explosions etc.) Additional issues include not being able to connect with other players online, game crashes, heists not being able to progress past a certain point, and useless/unhelpful A.I. companions. But, the most glaring issue above all else for the Switch version, is the lack of voice chat.
Yes, you read that right, you cannot communicate with your online companions in the Switch version of Payday 2. This game is built on coordination and cooperation between you and your squad mates. Without being able to communicate with them, the higher tier heists become almost impossible to complete. And, yes the Nintendo Switch does have a companion voice chat phone app for this very feature. This makes the exclusion of this feature even more inexcusable. I personally don’t know how you can ship a cooperative title like this, without any form of communication for your community. So, good luck to any of my fellow Switch Payday players on beating any heist with a difficulty level of ‘Mayhem’ or above.
Even with all of Payday’s faults on the Nintendo Switch, I would be lying to you if I said I haven’t had any fun with it. The core gameplay of Payday is adrenaline-pumping, exciting and fresh. There are very few titles out there that focus plainly on executing heists. This is what makes Payday such an unique and appealing experience to so many people. There is nothing out there similar to it.
Payday 2 on Switch is generally fun to play, but I still cannot recommend you go out and purchase it (especially at the current $50 price tag.) There are still too many glaring issues, and the development team behind it dosen’t give me any confidence for long term support.
So, what do you guys think? Will Overkill Studios actually take care of their Switch port of Payday 2? Or will they just let it fade away over time? Let me know in the comments below!