Was Skyping with Medic the entirety of editing this video, and we were talking about hypothetical heist designs that wouldn’t fit easily into either the “stealth” or “loud” category. Payday has steadfastly maintained those two categories of heists for the entire six years of the franchise’s existence, but at this point there’s so much content in Payday 2 that I think they’ve got the resources and the options to branch out from either “hordes of cops filling the building in waves” or “sneak around and avoid the security guards and cameras.”
My first idea for breaking the mold was a heist with one or a few incredibly-powerful enemies who hunt the crew down, instead of countless weak enemies. Let’s say the heist opens with the Payday gang being ambushed on the highway, their van totaled by a preemptive RPG blast and immediately beset upon by a crack team of elite government agents wearing prototype battle armor, one agent targeting each player. These guys would wield high-capacity medium-damage weapons, throw multiple types of suppressive grenades on higher difficulties, and be literally unkillable for most of the heist, which would consist of running like hell to keep ahead of them. At times you’d need to drill through a gate or clear some sort of blockage preventing forward movement, during which you’d need to circle around your environment and move from cover to cover until the roadblock opens and you can escape again. You can also take civilians hostage, forcing your pursuers to untie them and give you a few more seconds to gain some distance. But on occasion, you’d also set traps for your pursuers, hit them with various environmental hazards that damage their powersuits, until the finale where you’ve broken their armor badly enough that you can fight them directly and kill them. I feel like this could be a really interesting dynamic for a heist that could create some completely new builds and metas.
The other idea that cropped up during this topic is way more common, I know I’ve personally seen it at least three times on the subreddit already, but that’s just a testament to how many people would like a heist that lets part of the team stealth while the others are loud. Maybe 2-2, or just one guy gets to stealth while the rest of the team holds off the cops. Either the stealth player could be optional, opening additional opportunities for his loud mates, or he could be a “get out of jail free” card able to reset objectives if the loud team fails to complete them in time. It’s a overall cool concept that’d open a lot of storytelling possibilities, but it’d be really damn hard to balance, I’m not even sure the Diesel engine has the capability to differentiate two different game modes for separate players at the same time. There’s also the question of whether the heist fails if one team or the other goes into custody, or if you can just trade them out and keep going, or if you’d be stuck doing it loud-only. I feel like we may be opening the door for GTA5-style failures where your teammate screwed up and you can’t go fix it for them because you’re literally barred from their chunk of the map. Overall, this idea is cool but opens up lots of difficult questions.
Our final idea was some sort of “minion-based” game mode, where the Payday gang breaks into a drone factory and the odds are heavily stacked against them shooting their way out the normal way. Maybe the cops are tougher than usual, the factory has autoturrets and self-defense systems, or the heisters smuggled only melee weapons into the factory and need to get through a series of passcoded doors before they can rearm themselves with their guns. But for one reason or another, victory requires activating combat drones and planting them in good spots to take the heat off you and your teammates. I’m mostly thinking of those allied mobsters from Aftershock; it was kinda cool to have NPC backup, though they died almost immediately and a more permanent way to build your own little squad would be a fun change of pace. Though on the other hand, maybe a perk deck revolving around the Joker concept would fit easier into Payday 2 while still giving me the minion playstyle I’m looking for. It could let you ‘call them over’ like AI heisters, give them the ability to heal/revive you, or maybe you could heal/revive them. My favorite Jokers are the two female FBI agents from Hoxton Breakout due to their stupidly-powerful Bronco revolvers, I’d love a way to keep them up and fighting when their below-average healthpools run out.
In short, there are lots of opportunities for the developers to expand Payday 2‘s gameplay, and the good news is that their amazing and sustained content output promises new playstyles and heists for as long as the game retains developer support. Even if they never branch out from the two tried-and-true heist types, their newer heists have been varied and experimental enough to ensure that Overkill is still very mindful of the benefits of approaching the gameplay from new and different angles.