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Payday 3's biggest gameplay additions want you to be cruel to civilians and hostages

It looks like Payday 3 will offer players more options when it comes to dealing with civilians and cops, if you can stomach the implications.

The gameplay reveal of Payday 3 during the Xbox Showcase was definitely one of the show's biggest surprises. Payday is a popular series, particularly on PC, but it doesn't often get the limelight in the mainstream.

While the trailer was well put-together, it looked like, well, a new Payday. It was hard to appreciate the nuances of what we're seeing, setting aside the updated visuals and higher production quality compared to Payday 2, of course.

Cover image for YouTube videoPAYDAY 3 | Dev Diary | Episode 1: It's PAYDAY
Removed from context, it's quite grim.

Developer Starbreeze seemingly agrees, because it's putting together a series of developer diaries to try and highlight the hows and whys, and explain why this is the most advanced Payday yet. The first episode reveals some exciting gameplay updates to the heisting game.

They all have to do with the interaction between heisters and civilians. For starters, the game no longer operates on a binary state of stealth and going loud. If you're detected as you try to sneak around at the start, things won't necessary escalate immediately.

There's now a search phase where security guards will start to look for you. When cops do arrive, you won't get the full might of the NYPD on you immediately. Instead, first responders show up to try and de-escalate. This is where hostages come in.

Civilians you've taken hostage can now be traded, either to buy your team time to get the job done before the big boys show up, or earn more resources in the mission. Even more brazen, you can use civilians as human shields, presumably to force cops firing at you to hesitate and make it easier to slip away.

The gang is back... and more cut-throat than ever.

Though the story has moved over the New York City, the original gang has returned. More members will join post-launch, and you can expect collaborations aplenty down the line. Payday 2 received over 30, but Starbreeze is keen to pick authentic crossovers that fit within the world.

Payday 3 is a day one Game Pass game on PC, and Xbox Series X/S. It's also coming to PS5 on the same day, September 21.

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Payday 3

PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC

PayDay: The Heist


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Sherif Saed


Sherif (he/him) is VG247’s go-to shooter and Souls-likes person. Whether it’s news, reviews, or op-eds – Sherif is always eager to tell you about video games. He's one of VG247's most veteran writers, with 10+ years experience on the site.