Payday 2 Dev Issues Apology After Weeks of Backlash
Studio representative promises to hold meetings with modders, moderators, and community.
In the wake of a thunderous backlash to controversial microtransactions policies, PayDay 2 developer Overkill has issued an apology to fans and says it will hold meetings with the community in the hope of reaching a mutual understanding.
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The dispute between Overkill and its community had become so envenomed that, in mid-November, the game's Steam moderation team announced it would go on strike following a series of death threats. An open letter penned by a moderator, going by the name Ashley, stated that "I personally cannot sit by when they [Overkill] continue to promote immoral business practices."
Now, in a response written by Overkill brand director Almir Listo, the developer has for the first time admitted making mistakes in the way it has engaged with its community.
"The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging in the history of this community. Players have been angry with us, media have written about us en masse and our volunteer moderators went on strike. For all the distress we've caused the past few weeks, I'd just like to take the time and say that we’re sorry. We've done a lot of things right in the past, but these past few weeks we screwed up.
"We need to get better at many things, and we will do our best to improve as soon as possible."
While there are not yet any promises of changes to microtransaction policies, which is the issue that lies at the heart of the community's uproar, Listo has already held a public meeting with PayDay 2's Steam moderator team (video), and promises that more meetings will follow.
Last Bullet, a well known mod team for the game, will be flown to Overkill's Stockholm studio in January, while the high-profile Russian player PeaseMaker will make contact with one of the developer's representatives in December.
Meanwhile, the development team is also going to be more actively participating in community feedback, Listo claimed.
"For some time we haven't been active in our own forums. We’ve been reading your feedback and clearing bugs, but we haven’t engaged you in discussions. This has alienated us somewhat, and for that we apologise," he said.
"Starting next week, you will see the presence eight different Overkill members talking to you in discussions and taking an active role in the community. We’ll introduce these and what their role is in the studio in a thread in the forums during the week to come. We need to get better at communicating with you and this is one of our first steps in doing so."
Despite previous assurances that Payday 2--a co-op first person shooter centred around heist missions--would "never" include microtransactions, in mid-October its developer Overkill introduced special safes that could not be cracked by conventional means. Only a special kind of drill, which costs $2.50, could be used to open these safes.
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The rewards inside were weapon skins that provide various boosts to player performance. The move triggered outrage online, and in response Overkill introduced random drops of these special drills, giving those who continue to play a chance of unlocking the skins without having to pay.
Representatives for the studio also explained that additional funds would be helpful for the studio to achieve its ambition to support the multiplayer game until 2017.
But in mid-November, Overkill introduced the game's 90th update, which includes further benefits to those who pay. “Team Boosts” provide in-game cash and XP bonuses to everybody who completes a heist, however only those with special weapon skins can benefit from this.
Hours after the update deployed, Payday 2's communities across Steam and Reddit have expressed outrage at the decision.
The question of how Overkill can be funded to sustain support for its community also lies at the centre of this debate, but it appears that the proposed microtransaction route has alienated Overkill from its fans.
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