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Payday 3’s upcoming launch is set to be Starbreeze’s biggest, CEO says

With the Payday 3 release date targeted for 2023, Starbreeze CEO Tobias Sjögren says the co-op FPS game is building on its “fantastic following” for the sequel.

Payday 3 launch - a person in a grinning clown mask with bright red nose and lips

2023 is “the year of Payday 3,” to hear developer Starbreeze tell it. It’s been almost a full decade now, rather terrifyingly, since Payday 2 released on Steam. The co-op FPS game has continued to pick up momentum in recent times, with multiple large updates released in the past few years, and now the team is looking to cash in on that slow but steady growth with the release of Payday 3 this year.

“This is absolutely one of the games that I’ve been part of that has the biggest audience. There are a lot of people that are going to see this now.” Those words, from Starbreeze CEO Tobias Sjögren in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, come from the company’s count that an estimated 40 million players have now played the Payday games.

Starbreeze’s 2022 financial report remarks that it is now getting an increased 80% revenue share from game sales – usually an indication that the game has passed over $50 million in revenue, although Sjögren declines to confirm this fact. He does, however, note that “Our top concurrent users and monthly active users over time, our total downloads, and the growth of the sign-ups for the Payday 2 Steam community page all show that the game is still developing very, very strongly and has a fantastic following.”

Alongside the impending launch of Payday 3, Starbreeze has also followed in the footsteps of games like The Witcher 3, The Last of Us, and Halo to create a TV show based on the series. Partnering with production company Stockholm, the show will be inspired by the likes of Heat alongside some of the big names that have already collaborated with Payday 2 – John Wick, Scarface, Point Break, and Reservoir Dogs.

Sjögren says he sees this as an opportunity to flesh out some of the character identities for some of Payday’s most iconic faces. “The masks have set such a big portion of their personalities. There’s a story as to why they have that mask specifically.”

Payday 3 - four people stand on a dock looking out at a suspension bridge crossing a river towards a built-up city

There’s more to come from Starbreeze, too – alongside Payday 3, Sjögren says, “We have two other games in development. We’re aiming to release one in 2025 and the other in 2027.” Intriguingly, while he doesn’t give away exactly what they might entail, he does note that “They will be a mix of licensed IP and our own IP.”

For now, though, it sounds like Payday 3 is set to follow in the ‘games as a service’ mould that its predecessor has found so much success in. Sjögren explains that the team plans “to continue to deliver on what we’re good at in terms of games as a service – multiplayer and co-op titles, with a strong connection to that community.” He even goes so far as to say, “Everything we do in the future will be in that field so that we can speak to our strengths and to the audience that we have built up.”

While we wait for more news on Payday 3, take a look at the best co-op games on PC to cause chaos with your friends, along with some top crime games to satisfy those of you who love to get on the wrong side of the virtual law.