With New York City in its sights, anything could happen on the streets in Payday 3. Between unexpected crossovers with Scarface, Point Break, and even YouTube royalty Ethan and Hila Klein, the reintroduction of Payday 2’s John Wick crossover seems ripe for the upcoming sequel. On a recent trip to Starbreeze Studios, I asked brand director Almir Listo about what the Payday 3 release date might have in store when it comes to DLC content, and whether a Payday 3 John Wick crossover is on the cards.
Before I got dropped into the action for The Loadout’s hands-on Payday 3 preview, Listo introduces the universe of Payday 3 and the road to bringing the sequel to life. Alongside vast console version improvements and championing the art of the ‘Hollywood heist’, Listo highlights the game’s focus on New York City – leaving Washington D.C behind. On 82-89 Beaver Street, the steps of The Continental Hotel exist in John Wick lore – a crossover that was previously seen in the 38th DLC pack for Payday 2. Though Listo says that “anything can happen”, he clarifies to me the status of Keanu Reeves’ hitman in Payday 3.
“I just want to be really clear, we haven’t confirmed anything regarding John Wick. However, it sounds like really low-hanging fruit, right? Given the fact that we’ve already collaborated so well with Lionsgate in the past,” explains Listo. Detailing how the developer brought John Wick into Payday 2 as a free playable character before the launch of 2014’s John Wick, Listo notes the addition of the late “Lance Reddick as the character Charon into the universe, that you have to work with and rescue in one of the missions.”
Since Payday 2 released though, four movies have been and gone, and the John Wick franchise has taken the world by storm. Though John Wick franchise director Chad Stahelski hasn’t directly confirmed that Payday is in the same canon, a cheeky nod to Payday 2 can be found during the third act of John Wick Chapter 2.
Payday 3 is set during the 2020s, so we’d be curious as to whether a possible collaboration would address John Wick’s global assault against The High Table. Listo shares my enthusiasm for all things John Wick, taking a moment to show my Wick-inspired tattoo to producer Andreas Häll Penninger. That passion is evident as Listo expresses his hopes for the future of Payday 3’s 18 months of post-launch content.
“I think that has just gone to show how much value and respect Lionsgate put into us and in the Payday IP, but also how much we appreciate working with them. So if all goes well with Payday 3, I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to knock on the doors of The Continental and see if anyone opens,” Listo says.
During my time with Payday 3, the bones of a John Wick collaboration stood out to me. One handgun within the game’s repertoire of weaponry bore a strong resemblance to John Wick’s Taran Tactical Combat Master pistol. Through further customization with the game’s Modern Warfare 2-style gunsmith system, I took that aesthetic further by adding more Wick-appropriate attachments.
Aside from the excitement of Wick’s potential return, I wonder whether Starbreeze Studios will bring YouTubers and content creators on board again. We can’t see creators like Jimmy ‘Mr Beast’ Donaldson appearing in the game, but who knows, maybe prominent NYC YouTuber Casey Neistat could join Dallas and the gang for the ultimate score in what’s shaping up to be one of the most exciting upcoming Xbox games and upcoming PS5 games in 2023.