Universal has announced a new collaboration with Starbreeze to create and publish a mobile entry for the PayDay franchise, Payday: Crime War.
Universal and Starbreeze have been collaborating since The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay 15 years ago, and have worked together as recently as 2017 on VR title, The Mummy Prodigium Strike. Acting CEO Mikael Nermark is confident the partnership will provide fans of the franchise with the mobile game they’re hoping for.
"When they see the game we’re trying to make, I think it’s going to attract core players as well as casual mobile players," Nermark told GI.biz. "What we’re trying to do is utilize the strength of the mobile format and make a new game in the Payday franchise.
"We’re looking at the mobile market, and the mobile market is quite different from PC and console," Nermark added, reflecting on the fan backlash regarding PayDay 2’s loot box controversy. "I think [players are] more used to free-to-play and monetization, and we want to be able to create the next installment and bring Payday to the mobile market. We always try to use the benefits of each platform we [release] on."
After the "disappointing" launch of Overkill’s The Walking Dead, Starbreeze’s board of directors announced it was reviewing operations costs and implementing a program "to reduce costs and sharpen focus on core business". The plan initiated a cost-cutting program, which included scaling back both internal and external development and was expected "to generate significant cost savings during the full year 2019 compared to 2018".
The developer confirmed initial sales revenues from Overkill’s The Walking Dead were "lower than forecasted", but attributed the revenue issues to "the share of sales in low-price countries, such as China and Russia, [being] significantly higher than expected".
"This is disappointing, of course, but we have a base to work with in regards to the number of games sold," Starbreeze chairman Michael Hjorth said at the time. "We have a pulse of concurrent players, which is essential to future performance within the framework of our Games as a Service concept. The team is working at full capacity to deliver improvements to the game and new content, and Season 2 will be starting soon."
Consequently, Starbreeze filed for reconstruction with the Stockholm District Court following a "shortage of liquidity" that requires the company to "negotiate a long-term financial solution". Starbreeze’s headquarters were then raided by police following reports of insider trading, leading to at least one arrest and the seizure of equipment, including computers and documents.