Things haven’t been going well for Swedish video game developer/publisher Starbreeze Studios. For nearly 12 months now the company has been put through the ringer and it’s been an ugly situation so far. Despite all of this, the studio is still alive and kicking, with a new press release that details the future of their cash flow which involves new publishing agreements for 2020. Even more surprising is that the company states that they intend to release the next entry of the Payday franchise, Payday 3, sometime between 2022-2023.
Starbreeze expects the overall cash flow to increase exponentially once these new agreements are set, although it wouldn’t be until much later when that takes effect. The company seems to have high expectations for that time frame, and it’s all based on “expected events” that have to do with the aforementioned Payday 3. First, Starbreeze will bring in some profit on a publishing deal for the title at the conclusion of the agreement during the first half of 2020.
Second, a payment would take place for the publishing agreement on the mobile title Payday: Crime War, which was jointly published with NBC Universal. Lastly would be the actual release of Payday 3, which as you can imagine wouldn’t be for a while. Keep in mind that this is all based on these events coming to fruition over the course of three to four years. This isn’t an impossible task by any means, just a very long and arduous one.
To facilitate this process, Starbreeze stated that assets and personnel relating to the main business were transferred to two new sections in the company; New Starbreeze Publishing AB and New Starbreeze Studios AB. In the press release reads: ” It is in New Starbreeze Publishing AB that the Group’s cash flows will be generated.” That’s quite a bold claim considering that the company is currently going through reconstruction, where the they are in dire straights of liquidity. However, this could be the key plan that gets them out of this predicament and back into the good graces of their creditors.
Starbreeze wasn’t always in this situation, as they greatly benefited from their acquisition of the Payday franchise in 2016 while removing the infamous microtransactions from Payday 2 in the process. The problems started with the catastrophic launch of Overkill’s The Walking Dead back in November 2018. The game was released as an absolute mess, and it didn’t help that it sold poorly. Because Starbreeze expected the title to generate huge numbers in sales, it caused them to lose millions.
The CEO at the time, Bo Andersson, resigned from the company as it filed for reconstruction. However, things got much worse as Starbreeze’s offices were raided by the Swedish Police under suspicion of insider trading, damaging their reputation further. It continued with Skybound eliminating their contract with the company. Since Skybound owns the rights to the The Walking Dead, all progress to bring the Overkill’s iteration to home consoles were shut down, and ultimately canceled.
It’s actually quite amazing that the company is even still around. A lot of this had to do with them selling off rights of IP’s to other companies, most notably the publishing rights for Psychonauts 2. Still, the studio is holding on and if they can fulfill this new ambitious undertaking, as well as settling things with their creditors, then we may see a second coming of Starbreeze Studios. If we take anything significant away from this, it’s that they at least want to make Payday 3. Hopefully, we get to see it.