Overkill Software has finally offered a full apology to its community following the controversial introduction of microtransactions and pay-to-win mechanics to Payday 2.
The problems started during the Crimefest Community Event, which randomly dropped locked safes into the game that could only be opened through in-app purchases. The safes contained skins that altered weapon stats, and could also be traded on the Steam Community Market. The fan reaction was immediate and overwhelmingly negative.
A subsequent Reddit AMA explained Overkill's thinking but stopped short of a frank apology, implying that the controversy had been partially created by irresponsible media coverage. It also suggested that Overkill was compelled to keep microtransactions in the game by the practical reality of operating and updating it to a high enough standard. Again, the fan reaction was less than kind.
"Players have been angry with us, media have written about us en masse and our volunteer moderators went on strike"
The problem was exacerbated by another DLC release, the Completely Overkill Pack, which added experience and cash upgrades to the mix. In the aftermath of that release, Payday 2's volunteer Steam moderators went on strike.
"The past few weeks have been some of the most challenging in the history of this community," said Almir Listo, Overkill's global brand director, in a post on Steam.
"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."
Overkill also staged a two-hour Skype conversation with its on-strike moderators in an attempt to clear the air. Again, there is no indication that microtransactions will not feature in the game going forward, but the studio is now planning to improve lines of communication with the community.
"We've been reading your feedback and clearing bugs, but we haven't engaged you in discussions," Listo said. "This has alienated us somewhat, and for that we apologize. Starting next week, you will see the presence [of] 8 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."