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Video Game: PAYDAY: The Heist

It's time for a PAYDAY... So don your masks, and launch The Heist!
Steam Trailer

PAYDAY: The Heist is a downloadable four-player cooperative First-Person Shooter in which a crew of hardened criminals attempt to execute a variety of daring heists, in pursuit of "the next big score." It was developed by OVERKILL Software and published by Sony Online Entertainment, and runs on the Diesel engine. It was released on October 18th, 2011 for the PlayStation Network and for PC via Steam two days later.

Borrowing heavily from Valve's Left 4 Dead series, PAYDAY attempts to render a concise cinematic experience in cooperative video game form: In this case, the Heist Film. So if you notice that a lot of the tropes below seem familiar... well, now you know. Four career bad guys (Dallas, Hoxton, Wolf and Chains) in scary clown masks, seven (plus two in the Wolfpack DLC) objective-oriented heists, a variety of weapons and equipment, and innumerable trigger-happy cops trying to keep you from making a dishonest buck.

Unlike Left 4 Dead, you earn cash for completing objectives which goes towards your "Reputation" level, earning you new weapons, equipment and upgrades as you play. You can change up your loadout before each heist.

Examples for the sequel should go on the separate page. Instances of Shout-Out belong on the specific subpage. The soundtrack for PAYDAY: The Heist is also available through Steam and Bandcamp.

It received a sequel, PAYDAY 2, in 2013.

Not to be confused with an obscure board game with the same main title.


PAYDAY: The Heist provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    A-F 
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The escape plan in Counterfeit involves running through a wide sewer with a drainage outlet on a Florida beach.
  • A.K.A.-47: All the Cool Guns present have fake names.
  • Affably Evil: Bain will offer nothing but encouragement and the only time he ever raises his voice to you is if you kill civilians. If you fail a mission he'll even apologize and say it must have been his plan that went wrong because he knows you're the best. All in all he seems like a pretty nice guy... Then he drops a guy out of a helicopter to his death and threatens to do the same to Mr. Garnet's son when Mr. Garnet refuses to give up the vault codes. Unless, Luck-Based Mission says the guy gives up the codes in which case, Bain lets him live.
    • The crew has shades of this as well...at least some of them do. If you have a bot playing Wolf on your team during the bank heist, they'll jump up on a table in the lobby and tell the civilians in the bank that they're not after their money and they won't get hurt if they just stay quiet.
  • A.I. Breaker: The cops are very aggressive and will even split up their forces to flank your team should your crew split up into 2 teams of 2. However, the enemy AI will typically focus on 3 players that are clustered together and will usually ignore the lone 4th player running around by himself.
  • All or Nothing: In the Counterfeit level, there's a chance that the basement will have tons of money bundles worth over a million dollars a piece. However, the room is rigged with bombs and you only have around 20 seconds to either get as much money as you can and get out of the room or press your luck in defusing all 7 bombs, which is impossible to do with one or two players. If the bombs go off, all the money in the room gets destroyed and any player caught in the blast is instantly incapacitated. If everyone can defuse all the bombs in time, all the money is yours and there's enough of it to level up more than once.
  • All There in the Manual: Bios on the crew can be found online.
  • Alternate Reality Game: Overkill Software informed the community that the Counterfeit level had a secret and the clues in the level would help them find the secret. The clues pointed to various real life locations, people, and words not in English. The clues pointed to First World Bank and players had to perform certain tasks under strict conditions in order to gain access to the secret itself.
  • Asskicking Pose: The crew can be seen striking various poses in the menu screens.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Hoxton was eventually caught by the police and got sent to jail. Hoxton's lawyer reads off a list of crimes Hoxton committed (robbery, breaking into private property, etc.) and then mentions how Hoxton has beat up Matt on a daily basis in his jail cell.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Civilians are really, really bad at avoiding your shots. Telling them to get down is a good idea, as accidentally shooting one adds a 10 second penalty to your re-spawn timer plus a money penalty if the mission is a success. The civilian AI makes Heat Street extremely painful to play through due to all the civilians running everywhere in front of your shots, even at a distance. The Cops can't hurt them, and will gladly shoot through them to hit you.
    • AI Teammates also have a few shortcomings beyond those put in for balance. They always try to kill law enforcement (even when you're getting them to cuff themselves), they tend to ignore the Taser that has you stun-locked and kill every enemy EXCEPT the taser (and thus leaving you to get downed from the taser), and prior to a patch, they wouldn't follow you through the escape route in First World Bank, although that doesn't stop them from rescuing you from a football field's distance away. AI teammates also tend to lag behind you quite badly and will never sprint, which makes certain escapes more difficult since if you get incapacitated and the AI is too far behind, you're boned.
      • Your allied bots are also randomly oblivious to Cloakers that downed you, so don't be too surprised have a bot trying to revive you without killing the Cloaker first. Since bots do not sprint, you are pretty much screwed if you go down and your bot team is too far away to reach you in time.
  • Ascended Meme: During the Counterfeit secret event hunt, many fans messed with other players who were trying to find the secret by saying "Have you answered the phone?" note  The developers caught wind of the meme and they threw it in for the sequel in the form of a graffiti tag that says "Answer the phone!"
    • The Payday developers are fans of The Creatures, and it shows through several easter eggs. While the group was playing the first game's Panic Room map, Uber Haxor Nova noticed a toothbrush in the bathroom that was unusually large. The game was later patched to include a gigantic toothbrush in the same bathroom of that map. The devs even got a large toothbrush for their office. In Payday 2, there's graffiti that says "The Creatures were here" and "Gefilte fish," which references Nova specifically.
  • Author Avatar: Wolf is voiced by and modeled after an Overkill developer. The Taxman character in the Undercover heist is also modeled by another Overkill developer and is also voiced by him.
  • Badass: The player characters. Even the cops in the sequel wonder how a group of four men can be so damn difficult to take down.
  • Badass Boast: The AI controlled robbers during an assault wave. Most notable is Hoxton's line of "I got a bullet here with your name on it, sunshine!"
    • Badass in a Nice Suit: In many of the heists, the crew wear variously-colored suits. They even wear them in "Green Bridge", albeit under yellow raincoats.
  • Bank Robbery: In the first heist, at "First World Bank". The sequel also has a bank heist, but on a much smaller scale due to the bank being a local branch.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Surprisingly, very little blood is seen in the game. You only see specks of blood on your vision if you get shot and there's only small specks of blood that fly out when a character is shot. In the Diamond Heist mission, if Bain drops the CFO to his death, you can see a quick spray of blood that appears when the character's head smashes against a light fixture on the way down. Other than that, there's no blood or any other wounds shown in the game at all, even if you shoot up a security guard with a full magazine from your machine gun.
  • Body Horror: The infected patient in the No Mercy heist looks normal, but as you draw blood from him and time passes on, a pool of blood forms under his arm, very large boils start to form on his arm, his breathing starts to get wheezy and raspy like a Smoker, and he winds up shitting all over himself and the bed.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Bodies (living and dead) can still block shots, even grenades, so spraying bullets doesn't accomplish much in most cases.
  • Bulletproof Vest: The crew all wear these. Upgrades for it are spread through the trees, providing overall decreased damage taken. SWAT troopers wear them as well, as do Cloakers. Tasers and Shields wear full-on riot armor and Army Of Two-style armor masks, and the Bulldozer has massive bomb squad-looking armor.
  • Battle in the Rain: In the "Green Bridge" heist.
  • Big "OMG!": Male Civilians will often shout this when guns are firing.
  • Boom, Headshot: An excellent way to conserve ammo. This is especially important when facing Bulldozers, as you once you crack their visors they go down much more easily.
  • The Caper: But of course. Some of them don't go according to plan, like "Heat Street", and what you play is the fallout and attempt to turn it around.
  • Character Class System: Sort of. Your choice of class only affects what your next reward will be upon a Level Up. In practice, you can mix-and-match weapons, equipment, abilities and crew bonuses to your liking. You begin the game with a silenced pistol, assault rifle and the "Noob Lube" crew bonus, which causes your teammates to earn extra cash.
  • Cheat Code: Multiplayer version. There have been sightings of players using hacks and other cheats to gain things like infinite health, infinite ammo, infinite supplies, and never having to reload. Luckily, since the game is purely co-op, there's not much the cheaters can do to spoil someone's game and they are easily kicked out.
  • Cherry Tapping: You can smack enemies to death with the butt of your gun, including the deadly Taser and Cloaker, but it takes too many hits on heavily armored enemies to have real effect.
  • Choice Of Three Weapons: Each character can carry a primary weapon, secondary weapon, and a sidearm.
  • Classic Video Game Screw Yous: This is more apparent on higher difficulty levels in most heists when it's time to escape. There's always a chance that a special unit will spawn right before the exit just to screw you over if your health is already low. Diamond Heist is a special case since it doesn't have a defined escape route, but should the vault codes work during the stealth portion, you may have SWAT and special units spawn in the balconies above you the moment you start stealing the diamonds. Players who know of this ambush may purposely be spotted by the guards after disabling the security system during stealth so that the cops spawn in elsewhere instead of the diamonds room.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The crew will voice their displeasure with civilians, cops and just about anything else at will. Chains, especially.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: Played straight and averted. Bain will sometimes nag you to complete your objectives if you are dawdling too long. The sequel retains Bain nagging you plus having mission objective reminders pop up on the screen if you take too long. However, you can turn off the mission reminders as an option.
  • Cool Guns: Many examples.
  • Cool Mask: All the masks are quite awesome and many of them are shout outs to other franchises or people. There are also two masks that are quite cool and are only exclusive to moderators of the Payday steam group and the developers themselves.
  • Creator Cameo: Several mission related civilian characters are voiced and modeled by the developers of Overkill Software.
    • The No Mercy heist also has Chet Flaiszek's name appearing on a nametag in the locker room, which is fitting since he is the writer for the Left 4 Dead series.
      • Also in No Mercy, take a look at the nametags that your crew wears to impersonate as doctors. All the names on the tags, along with their photos, are the artists from Overkill Software, the creators of the game.
  • Cross Over: This is the main appeal behind the No Mercy DLC; it's a level based on Mercy Hospital, the same one found in Left 4 Dead. Bill from Left 4 Dead may appear in the elevator with you in the beginning and you're at the hospital to steal a sample of the virus that's been causing the Green Flu, which is the cause of all the zombies in Left 4 Dead. You might even spot the Witch.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: The default use key (which is also used for starting heists, using zip-ties, and screaming at people) is "F", not "E". "E" is the default melee key. Cue newbies accidentally meleeing the Bank Manager in First World Bank for an accidental civilian kill, and when it bugs them enough to swap the two, cue them accidentally whacking the Bank Manager AGAIN because they forgot they swapped the keys.
  • Danger Deadpan: The team's helicopter pilot, Alex, is a smooth talker. Even at times when a lesser man would be screaming in terror. How the hell do you casually ask people to take out the sniper when you can probably see the red dot on your windshield? Justified perhaps since he's non-hostile meaning the police wouldn't legally be able to shoot him (or his copter/crane/whatever) even if they knew what he was doing. Turns into Fridge Brilliance since if Alex is a copter, this prevents the police from being able to subdue him non-lethally.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Dallas and Hoxton, on occasion.
  • Death by Cameo: Because the bank manager in First World Bank is modeled after a developer, you can choose to invoke this trope.
    • According to some newspaper in DLC-Heists, the bank manager actually died.
    • A civilian in a blue shirt in Counterfeit is also modeled after the same developer, you can invoke this trope again.
  • Difficulty Spike: Going from Hard to Overkill was usually a bit jarring for the first timer. This was made easier in a later patch, but then came Overkill 145+ difficulty... and that's another spike entirely, see Harder Than Hard below.
    • If you're playing each level in order, Heat Street is this trope. Many first time players who play Heat Street after First World Bank get to see just how brutal cops can be as they shoot at you from several yards down the street and cover is very poor.
  • Disaster Dominoes: This happens to an extent in "Diamond Heist", involving some bad door codes and a succession of kidnappings. Whether it goes all the way is up to you and your crew, of course.
  • Doomed by Canon: The bank manager in First World Bank can either be killed for his key card or allowed to live by tying him up for his key card. However, the newspapers found in No Mercy and Counterfeit state that the crew killed the manager.
  • Downloadable Content: The "Wolf Pack" DLC adds two new heists ("Counterfeit" and "Undercover") and a new skill tree, Technician. Interestingly, those without the DLC can still play the new heists if the host has it.
  • Earn Your Fun: Unlike most first person shooter games, PAYDAY lacks a tutorial mode and you have to learn everything on the fly, watch videos on YouTube, or play with people who are willing to teach you the basics. It isn't uncommon to see people who played other FPS games while being new to PAYDAY get torn to shreds by the swarm of cops or easily taken down by special SWAT units. The game also has a level up mechanic, which can only be made slightly more bearable if you play on a higher difficulty level to level up faster. Granted, the game can turn off many people who aren't up to the challenge, but it rewards people that stick with the game after much trial and error.
  • Easter Egg: The No Mercy level has several. In the locker room, one of the names on the lockers is Dr. Faliszek, which is the name of Valve's story writer for Left 4 Dead. When the power gets cut out, one of the locked doors contains the Witch, zombie character used in Left 4 Dead. Very rarely, you'll bump into Bill on his way to surgery as the mission begins. You may also hear Chains starting to cough like a Smoker.
    • The game also contains names of 200 players who won a contest to get their names into the game. The names can be found almost anywhere and a good portion of them can be heard from the DJ in Diamond Heist when he announces who made the next request.
    • The most (in)famous easter egg is the ARG that spanned over multiple levels and forced players to meet extreme requirements and tasks in order to find the secret.
    • More names were added to the game after the ARG event had passed. The names are from the group of people that were the first to discover the game's secret.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Only the first two heists can be played on easy. The second two, plus "No Mercy" and the DLC Heists require you to play on at least normal, and the last two originally required hard or above. On top of this, playing on Easy won't even net you a million dollars should you beat a level on this difficulty.
  • Elite Mooks: The cops have four types of "specialist" units they will send after you. How often they appear depends on game difficulty. In general, they take more hits then the regular cops and are very dangerous if faced alone.
  • Enemy Chatter: An important element in the game. SWAT units will constantly announce what kind of special units they are going to send after you before Bain can inform you about it.
  • Escort Mission: Thankfully, mostly painless due to the NPC being immune to gunfire, but you still have to prod them along and they will refuse to move if there's cops in the immediate area.
  • Expy: The entire crew, much like all of Heists, heavily resemble movie counterparts.
  • Evil Brit: Hoxton.
  • Faceless Goons: The crew, though you can see their faces in some levels before the heist begins. A lot of the cops are this as well, mostly SWAT and the specialists. The ones that aren't faceless tend to suffer from Only Six Faces.
  • False Flag Operation: "Panic Room" begins with the crew feigning a drug deal with the thugs running the meth lab where said Panic Room is located.
    • "Counterfeit" also begins with the crew disguised as a group of plumbers to fix the waterworks that belong to someone that also happens to have a money-making machine.
  • Fast Roping: SWAT helicopters often fly in to drop squads behind you or in otherwise advantageous flanking positions. They often have a Taser or Cloaker mixed in, so it pays to watch where they drop. On rare occasions, they may even be carrying a Bulldozer. In the sequel, they may do this through sunroofs.
  • FBI Agent: Occasionally mixed in with SWAT Units. Called "Hostage Rescue" in-game, they will actively seek out civilians you've told to get down, and order them to leave the area. They are otherwise no more dangerous then the local cops.
  • Five-Man Band:
    • The Leader / The Team Benefactor: Bain (He sets up the heists and keeps the team informed of current situations during heists.)
    • The Smart Guy: Wolf (He is the poster image of the Technician class, using gadgets like sentry guns and a toolkit that can speed up use of other devices or other actions.)
    • The Big Guy / The Medic: Chains (Big Scary Black Man and and poster image of the Support class that uses the Doctor Bag)
    • The Lancer: Dallas (Leads the Slaughterhouse heist and is usually the pseudo leader of the group in other heists as well.)
    • The Face: Hoxton (Encourages the team when heists get rough and helps them come up with a plan B when the codes in Diamond Heist doesn't work. He is also the most calm member of the group when he tells hostages to stay down when there's no assaults going on.)
  • Friendly Fire Proof: Played straight and averted at once. You can't harm your teammates no matter how much you shoot them, but the grenade launcher will cause splash damage to yourself.

    G-L 
  • Game-Breaking Bug: Due to the wonky collision detection, it's possible to fall through the floor of the map and fall forever in an endless void. The only way out is to reset the level.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Dallas was a heavy smoker, and has shortages of breath at times; yet this topic never really comes up in game.
    • And on many of the heists that contain cameras its suggested through story that they are not functional. Bain has you sabotage the CCTV footage in First World Bank (Which suggests the cops can't use them if they don't get to the security room) and Bain has already deactivated the Cameras in Diamond Heist. The importance and effect of shooting out the cameras vary by mission - in FWB, The first batch of cameras affect if the cops know where you are, while the second batch (the 9 in the vault) determines how many elevators open up.
    • In "No Mercy" the military arrives and bombs the building to insure that you don't escape, all this does ingame is force you to open the elevator hatch in order to either make your escape via helicopter or through a backdoor in the basement.
  • Genius Bruiser: The whole crew (under AI control) during bank speech; not only do they explain what they're after but they also explains why the civilians money isn't actually affected by the heist. They're also absolutely correct.
  • Glass Cannon: The gangsters in Panic Room are easy to kill but their machine guns can cause a lot of damage to you if you aren't careful. The players themselves can become this as well on high difficulty levels.
  • Grenade Launcher: The GL40 (an M79) is added with the "Wolf Pack" DLC.
  • Griefer: Thankfully averted for the most part due to lack of friendly fire, missions with stealth having alternate ways of beating them should the stealth fail, and players having the ability to get cops to cuff themselves as a hostage should all the civilians get killed by the griefer. You'll still have the occasional player who will purposely not help you get up after you go down or waste supplies deployed by another player, but those types of players are easy to remove.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: The gold bars in the Slaughterhouse level are quite shiny, including the gold bars found in First World Bank's secret vault. The Gold masks are also shiny.
  • Guide Dang It: Every heist save "Green Bridge" has an extra objective not required to finish it, but necessary to get the full amount of Cash. Taking out all the cameras in First World Bank is easy enough. Less easy is finding all the cash bundles in "Panic Room" (which requires you to search literally every nook and cranny in the building) or getting all the sapphires in "Diamond Heist" (which requires you to not be spotted by guards, as tripping the alarm will cause the cases with the gems in them to disappear.)
    • "Heat Street" is also an odd case of not actually having an extra objective - The devs confirmed that there are supposed to be one less objective than actually noted at the end-of-mission summary screen, as the only way to get the last objective (Extraction at the base of the bridge) is to fail the objective immediately before it (Quickly clear an area for extraction at the top of the bridge).
    • Players who successfully reached the ICU without tripping any alarms in the No Mercy level have to draw a blood sample from a patient. While this sounds easy enough and every level tells you what you need to do, what this part does NOT tell you is each isolation room is connected to a security alarm box in a nearby closet via colored wires and once you start the heist, you can cut one of the wires to prevent one of the isolation shutters from closing. Many first time players most likely attempted to break the glass of the isolation room, only to be stopped by an invisible wall as the shutters closed on them.
    • Getting law enforcement to handcuff themselves is not made clear. You have to weaken the cop by either smacking him or shooting at him and then spam the action key to get them to drop their gun and cuff themselves. Players either find this out by accident or through word of mouth from more experienced players.
  • Gun Accessories: The appearance of the guns will change to reflect certain upgrades. For example, the last accuracy upgrade for rifles gives each a red dot sight, while the shotguns will get longer magazine tubes in response to capacity upgrades.
  • Gun Twirling: When first beginning the Heist, the crew can be seen spinning out their pistols as they put on their masks.
    • The STRYK is always drawn with a spin.
  • Hammerspace Police Force: So much that the police will organize all out Assaults, in which they come at you in such staggering numbers that your only choice is usually to bunker down and hold them off.
  • Hand Cannon: The Bronco .44 hits much harder then the B9-S, Crosskill .45 or STRYK, and can put down a Heavy SWAT with one or two shots. It does however have a lengthy reload time.
  • Handy Cuffs: Security guards can handcuff you if you get to close to them. If no one frees you, you'll eventually free yourself, but the heist is still considered a failure if the last person left alive is handcuffed.
  • Harder Than Hard: Overkill and Overkill 145+
    • 145+ ends up cranking this Up to Eleven. You only get ONE bleedout without using medibags (if you get downed a second time, other players only have one second to get you back up before you go into custody), you get left with 25% health after being downed once, the Elite Mook spawn rate is brought over the top, certain new events only occur on 145+ (Including having 4 bulldozers in the bank vault on First World Bank), and you will generally be getting the short end of the stick on any and all random events.
  • Hard Mode Perks: The Hard, Overkill, and Overkill 145+ difficulties are tough for players playing on those levels for the first few times, but they offer a much bigger payout compared to Easy and Normal difficulty. More money earned in a single mission means faster leveling up. Once you get skilled enough to play on the higher difficulties without failing constantly, it will be quite easy to reach the max rep level in a few sessions.
  • Heal Thyself: Players can carry and drop a medical bag so the team can heal up. Upgrades from the Support tree increase how many refills the bag has.
  • Heart Beat Soundtrack: No Mercy has this during assaults.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Bain is portrayed in this trope; he never appears anywhere in the game and official media showing him has his face hidden within the shadows. Alex, the helicopter pilot, is also not able to be seen due to his helicopter being too far away for you to get a good look.
    • Bain has also interacted with the PAYDAY community directly, dropping hints, news, and other clues regarding PAYDAY 2 through Steam. Naturally, Bain's identity still remains a mystery.
  • Hold the Line: Usually your best option during police assaults. There are exceptions: you have to force your way through during the final segment of Green Bridge, or be overwhelmed.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Played straight in the first game where the silenced pistol will never alert anyone no matter how close you are when you shoot the weapon.
  • Hostage Situation: In deference to the standard, this is actually beneficial. Innocent Bystanders can be taken hostage by simply ordering them to get down (by facing them and using the action button) and then cuffing them with twist-ties. If a player is downed and not helped up in the allotted time, they go into police custody. After a certain amount of time passes, you can trade a hostage for an arrested player, returning them to the game. This is, however, the only way to respawn on Hard and Overkill,note  so manage your hostages carefully. They can be freed by cops if you aren't paying attention.
    • It's actually possible to get law enforcement to cuff themselves, which in turn adds to your hostage count WITHOUT requiring a twist-tie. You can even do this to the SWAT guys, although it's particularly tricky to get them to cooperate.
  • Hostage for MacGuffin: Diamond Heist pulls this off twice where the crew takes the CFO hostage and will let him live if he gives up the vault codes. If he refuses, then the crew moves on to take the owner's son hostage and also threaten to kill him if the codes are not given.
  • Hot-Blooded: Hoxton during his early years was always picking fights with people just to prove he could kick some ass. Hoxton is also the most aggressive member of the group during assaults as he tells his team to go for the kill when coverfire won't work and threatens the cops with bullets that have their names on it.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: One can easily hide a pistol on their person, maybe even a shotgun if it's been sufficiently trimmed down. These guys can conceal two large guns (one of which can be a general purpose machine gun), a pistol, zip-ties to take hostages and a gym bag of ammo/health, a portable Sentry Gun or a stack of up to ten laser tripmines. Funnily enough, the guards will notice you're packing if you stay near one too long. At the very least, the body armor the crew wears is visible under their suit jackets.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Only the two highest ones: Overkill. Overkill 145+ (from Patch 6) ends up being a case of Exactly What It Says on the Tin - It's an even harder difficulty level SPECIFICALLY for players with a rep level of at least 145 (which, without DLC, gives you Mr. Nice Guy). It's not even available to those who are of lower rep.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Totally averted. Despite their lemming-like behavior, the cops sure don't shoot like them- they can consistently land multiple hits on you whenever you so much as stick a finger out of cover, so pop and shoot.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: The chest armor of Cloakers features an inverted omega and knife symbol, with the letters S.P.O.O.C. written below.
  • Insecurity Camera: The cameras in some levels don't raise the alarm if they see you and they don't even move. The only thing the cameras do are aiding the police in finding your location faster. In No Mercy, pulling out your guns at the start of the heist will trigger the alarm after 7 seconds go by because of the cameras, even if you pull out your guns away from the cameras. If you destroy all the cameras, the hospital will either send a repairman to see why the cameras are not working or they will send a security guard to see if everything is alright.
  • Infinite Supplies: Played straight by the cops, but not for your crew. You have fairly limited ammo for each of your guns. The only ways to get more are to pick up paltry ammo drops from the cops or to use the ammo bag. Upgrades from the Assault tree can increase the amount of ammo refills you can get from a bag.
    • Also played straight by AI teammates, thankfully.
  • Informed Equipment: Security guards in First World Bank can detect your guns attached to you, even though weapons are not shown until the players don their masks and pull their weapons out.
  • In the Back: This is only way you can kill a Shield unless you have the grenade launcher or use trip mines.
  • It's Up to You: Teammate AI in both games only give you cover fire and revive you when you go down. They won't do mission objectives or carry loot bags.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: Played straight in the first game where you can use anything and be proficient at everything once you unlock all gear and bonuses. Averted in the sequel where you can't unlock every skill and have to carefully think about where to spend your skill points.
  • Jump Scare: No Mercy has a witch locked in a room during the blackout which will jump up to the window, scream at you and then disappear if you approach it.
  • Kaizo Trap: Can happen randomly during any escape; even if you pull the perfect heist, there's nothing stopping the AI from blocking your escape route by spawning a Bulldozer or two.
    • Diamond Heist is a special case since there's no defined escape route, but if you manage to reach the vault with working initial codes and no alarms, there's a random chance that the AI will make SWAT units ambush you from the balconies once you start looting the vault.
  • Kill It with Fire: Double-crosser Matt in "Heat Street" can't be arsed to get out of his wrecked van and hand over the stolen printing plates. So what does the crew decide to do? Burn him out. He gives up before he runs out of oxygen and comes out.
  • Killed Off for Real: Bruce, a getaway driver who tries to help you out in "Heat Street". Likewise, the bank manager from First World Bank is dead according to the newspapers in the No Mercy and Counterfeit levels, making him Doomed by Canon whether you let him live or not.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Upon meeting the requirements for the "Are You Ready Yet" Achievement (have Bain circle around 7 times in Diamond Heist), Bain will spout out "Okay, you've got your trophy, can we go now!?"
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Matt finally gets what's coming to him for backstabbing the crew, though it happens outside of the game. According to the introduction in the PAYDAY 2 Christmas Soundtrack, he regularly gets his ass kicked by Hoxton (from the first game) in prison, whom he shares a cell with.
  • Last Stand: Take enough damage and you get downed. You can use your equipped pistol to fight off the cops, but you still take damage. Take enough damage while downed and you won't even be able to shoot back. If you are cuffed, tased down, or taken down by a Cloaker, you are completely helpless.
    • Also, depending on whether you shoot at cops while downed or otherwise have made yourself a threat (killing civilians), the police may or may not shoot at you when downed. So if you act relatively harmless, it can occasionally be a good tactic not to have a Last Stand and simply wait for your teammates to kill the cops rather than go into the shorter bleedout mode.
  • Lemming Cops: The cops tend to act more like Left 4 Dead's infected hordes then actual cops, rushing you with all guns blazing. The special units take this Up to Eleven, especially Bulldozers, who are deliberately designed to charge the nearest player with a shotgun.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: The bots may not know when to retreat unless you tell them to, but keep in mind it's not a typical FPS by any means. Rushing WILL get you shot(quite a lot) unless you know what you're doing.
    • People new to the game tend to blindly rush against the swarm of SWAT units, not realizing that concentrated fire from the enemy tend to get you killed fairly quickly, even on Normal, or that shooting like a madman wastes ammo and the cops don't drop enough ammo to give back what you spent.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Bulldozer appears to be a Mighty Glacier at first glance, but once he starts to sprint, his threat level shoots up.
  • Lost Forever: While obtaining extra masks is purely optional, there are several that are no longer obtainable if you had missed out on the events that gave them out:
    • The Santa mask was obtained by finding Christmas presents hidden in the levels. Since Christmas from 2011 (the year the game launched) has long passed, getting the Santa mask is no longer possible. However, Overkill decided to release the mask again for the 2012 holiday season, which becomes lost forever once more after time has passed.
    • The Troll mask was given out by the developers to people who took part in trolling people about the release date for the Wolf Pack DLC. Since the DLC is out, getting the mask is not possible now if you missed your shot.
    • The Vyse masks were given out by a member of the Payday community during his charity event. Since the event had passed, getting the Vyse masks is not possible anymore.
    • The Secret masks earned from finding the hidden secret in the game is no longer obtainable due to the time to find the secret expiring.
  • Level Up Fill Up: You wouldn't expect this to happen in a game like this, but if you gain a reputation level in-game, your health and inventory gets completely replenished. Very handy, as it even brings you BACK from being downed. However, it doesn't happen when playing on Overkill difficulty.
  • Lightning Bruiser: All the SWAT units act this way. While most of them tend to walk slow most of the time, they can suddenly start sprinting towards you to close the distance. SWAT units are also heavily armored and require several headshots to kill quickly. They also have a lot of firepower and get even more dangerous in groups.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Each mission has some random elements in it, ranging from subtle changes  to complete dick moves . A list of all the known ones is here.
    • No Mercy has the most luck based elements out of all the missions. The first phase has its cameras in random locations and it is possible to have a set of cameras set up in a way where you will never be fast enough to get them all before the alarm goes off. To make it worse, the amount of cameras will increase if there are other players in the game. The patient you are sent to find is also in a random location, so if you the alarm was triggered in the beginning of the game, the doors in the ICU get sealed and you will have to saw each door off until you can find the right guy (hopefully you got it on the first guess!). On top of this, once you do have the blood samples, you have to get them validated, which can either take several tries or just a few attempts. And just to put the icing on the cake, the power will be cut by the police, but how many times this happens is also randomized and this also forces you to call the elevator again after each power cut.
    • The entire game itself can be luck based depending on what enemy types spawn. Sometimes the extra Bulldozers can ruin your game if you aren't prepared.
    • The presents found during the 2012 holiday season may sometimes be inside a room or area that may be closed at random.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: This is the Shield SWAT unit's purpose; block all attacks from the front while his friends hide behind him for cover. Quick maneuvering around the Shield will get you to his unprotected backside. If you have the grenade launcher, then the shield pretty much doesn't exist.

    M-R 
  • Made of Iron: The crew can withstand bone-shattering amounts of gunfire. They are at least shown to wear body armor, but, really. How many shotgun blasts to the face can four masked malefactors possibly take? You can take even more hits by using the "Thick Skin" upgrade or if a teammate has the "Protector" crew bonus.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: PC Gamer dubbed them the "chuckle brothers."
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: There aren't any female cops, not counting the occasionally-heard dispatcher.
  • Mission Control: Bain notifies you of your current objective, when police assaults begin and end, negotiates hostage trades with the police on your behalf, and coordinates with other support like the plane or chopper pilots. The voice overs at the end of each mission suggest he's the one masterminding the heists as well. If you fail a mission, he states he has ways of bailing you out.
  • Money for Nothing: Money is only used as an experience level system where getting enough cash will get you a level up. Other than that, money is not used for anything and money becomes totally worthless once your rep level hits the maximum. Averted in the sequel where money will be used to buy new weapons and other items.
  • Monster Closet: During the end segment of "First World Bank", it's entirely possible for a specialist (like, say, a Bulldozer) to burst out of a door right into your face, or just behind the crew in an attempt to pick one of you off. An update lets this also happen on other heists, such as in the alleys of "Heat Street" and "Panic Room."
  • Monster Clown: Just check out the page image. Those masks are creepy.
  • More Dakka: The Brenner 21 Machine Gun has far and away the highest capacity of any weapon- and that's before its stack of capacity upgrades, the last of which changes its drum magazine into a box one. It levels police charges like nothing else. For the curious, fully upgraded, a Brenner has just shy of 175 bullets per magazine which is enough to let you continually fire (abit with little accuracy) into double digits of seconds.
  • Nerf: All over the place in Patch 3, with some old tried-and-true strategies no longer working without adjustments. Most notably, Overall difficulty was decreased across the board (particularly in single player). This was met with considerable amounts of complaining, which may have lead in part to the addition of Overkill 145+ difficulty in patch 6.
  • The Nicknamer: Wolf is this with Hoxton. Nicknames he has given him include; Hoxtilicious, Hoxitron, El Hoxo, Hox, Hoxtinator, Hoxtonite, and Hoxifier.
  • Nobody Can Die: The player characters never die no matter how much they are shot by the cops. Bleeding out completely just places the player into police custody and when they are traded, they are back in the game without a scratch. Averted with everyone else, however.
  • Noob Cave: First World Bank is quite easy and simplistic to play through. The objectives are straightforward without gimmicks and randomized events are quite minimal.
  • No Fair Cheating: Players who fall into police custody may attempt to leave the game and come back in, hoping to be out of custody and back into playing. This only works if a new player has joined the game to replace a bot that is in police custody. A current player that is in custody will still be in custody if they try this trick. Likewise, a player that has used a deployed item (medical bag, ammo bag, trip mines, or sentries), leaves, and then returns will have their used item vanish from the playing field. This prevents people from trying to duplicate supplies.
  • Noodle Incident: According to Hoxton's profile, he obtained his nickname for committing a crime in a city of the same name and said crime was very unique. It is never explained what Hoxton exactly did that made the crime so unique.
  • Notice This: Objectives, teammates, player-dropped bags and "spotted" enemies are all highlighted with colored outlines, making navigation a snap.
  • Not the Intended Use: The secret vault in First World Bank made the trope very apparent. Reaching the vault leads you to 70 gold bars and each one is worth a million dollars. You'll be able to level up several times from the gold bars alone. Unsurprisingly, everyone started to farm the secret vault just to level up really fast, causing two things to happen: 1) The majority of First World Bank games are people doing the secret vault, which means that anyone who just wants to play the level normally won't be able to do so. 2) Many new players who abused the secret vault are now joining high difficulty level games, thinking their new equipment would carry them through, Players that have level grinded from the secret vault quickly discovered that they didn't have the skills to back it up and were quickly slaughtered, which also greatly annoyed the more skilled players who now have to babysit the overconfident player or boot them out of the game.
  • Oh Crap: The character's reactions upon spotting a specialist unit usually sound like this. The player might do this too.
  • Pacifist Run: You can perform a heist with no violence and no alarms being tripped, but good luck. It's Nintendo Hard.
    • Diamond Heist is the easiest to pull this off if you managed to get all the alarm boxes without being spotted and the codes work on the first try. However, due to the level being a Luck-Based Mission, you won't always have a chance of doing this.
    • The trope is also an achievement for beating Counterfeit this way and it is a level where you are forced to run all over the place to complete objectives as the cops surround you.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Civilians are so weak that a single Pistol Whip can kill them instantly.
  • Palette Swap: The Clown mask's model is reused for the Gold and Secret masks with different textures.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The crew wear nice suits in order to blend in with the crowd in First World Bank and No Mercy, yet no one seems to notice or mind that the crew are wearing latex gloves or bulletproof vests outside of their shirts. Not even the gang members in Panic Room seem to take notice.
  • Player Tic: Nearly every player during the Counterfeit heist will shoot out the radio just to silence it.
    • Players also constantly shout at important hostages to keep moving, even though the target will always keep moving unless there's a heated gunfight nearby that scares them or the players are not walking with the escort.
  • Pistol Whip: You can perform a melee attack with any equipped weapon. This is a good way to force cops to surrender— generally, one whack and then spamming your "use" key will do the trick.
  • Point of No Return: Once all of the objectives are done, an endless swarm of cops rush in and you have a limited amount of time to reach the extraction point or be considered Left for Dead.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Don't shoot civilians. Each civilian is a potential hostage, and every one you kill makes the Police take longer to agree to a hostage trade if you get taken into custody. You also receive a cash penalty at the end of the round for every civilian killed. Morality doesn't really enter into it...
  • Private Military Contractors: You fight some Murkywater mercs in "Slaughterhouse", who are escorting the armored truck of gold you are hitting. This was also Chains' former occupation.
  • Rapid Fire No: Bain has a line like this for failing a mission.
  • Regenerating Shield, Static Health: You have a regenerating armor layer on top of non-regenerating health. It pays to let the armor regenerate, as the only way to get health back is the precious medic bags... or a well-timed Level Up Fill Up if on Hard or below. Your remaining health also determines how much armor you'll get.
    • AI teammates follow the straight Regenerating Health, so they won't need Health Bags.
  • Respawning Enemies: The cops and SWAT teams during assault waves keep swarming into the level. Even when the cops are not on the offensive, you will still have a few cops trickle in during lulls between assault waves. Guards, gangsters, and hired mercenaries don't respawn at all.
  • Retired Badass: In Counterfeit, it is revealed that Bain was previously a heister.

    S-Z 
  • Safecracking: Pssh, who has the time? In "First World Bank", the crew burns through the vault roof with cans of thermite, bypassing the door entirely. In "Panic Room", they simply steal the whole panic room. In "Diamond Heist", the codes either work... or they don't, and a Hostage Situation ensues to get the vault open. In "Slaughterhouse", they drill through the front of the safe. In "Counterfeit", they drill through the top of the safe, fill it with water and blow the door out with C4. Sensing a pattern yet?
  • Scary Black Man: Chains, all the time.
  • Sentry Gun: An automated turret with two SMGs as turrets can be used by the Wolf Pack DLC's Technician class. Comes with the Technician in the sequel and can be upgraded.
  • Schrödinger's Cast: The CFO in Diamond Heist may be lucky enough to live when either the codes actually do manage to work, or he gives the codes himself when he's taken hostage (unlike all those other times when Bain drops him to his death in order to intimidate Mr. Garnet).
  • Screaming Woman: Female civilians are this when the guns start firing and the crew shouts at them.
  • Smug Snake: Matt when he pulls a Heel-Face Turn on the crew. He taunts the group when he refuses to come out of the wrecked van but after the crew decides to light the van on fire, he comes out and constantly begs to be let go.
  • Sniper Rifle: The M308 serves as one, with far and away the greatest accuracy of any weapon and a red dot sight to help you along. Some heists feature SWAT snipers which can quickly inflict nasty damage on you if you aren't smart enough to duck. However, their shots have highly visible tracer lines and they aren't any tougher than Blue SWATs. However, given the distances they set up at and their spectacular accuracy, simply hitting them can be a challenge depending on the weapons you're carrying.
  • Status Buff: The crew bonuses. Each affects only your teammates, but you benefit from each one your teammates equip, though they do not stack. "Noob Lube" isn't usable after you reach level 5, but if you max out one of the class trees you get access to the "Mr. Nice Guy" bonus, which does the same thing.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: "Diamond Heist" begins with you infiltrating a high-rise office area. If you're sufficiently sneaky, you can place the alarm scramblers and open the vault without firing a shot- and you can grab all the sapphires scattered about, which are worth a great deal of Cash. If not, you lose your shot at the sapphires, have to take some hostages, and then shoot your way out. Luckily, your AI teammates will stay where they are during the sneaking portion of the level so you don't have to worry about them being spotted.
    • Counterfeit and No Mercy also use elements of this, albeit briefly.
  • Sliding Scale Of Hero Effectiveness: On-site guards < local cops, FBI agents, and Gangsters < Blue SWAT units < Heavy SWAT units < Murkywater mercs < the specialist units.
  • Short Range Shotgun: Actually averted by the Reinbeck, which can reliably hit enemies across most rooms. Played straight by the Locomotive 12G, though given its rather short barrel this is probably justified. The Locomotive has a far greater fire rate, however.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shown Their Work: While the developers don't capture all the details and behavior of the SWAT units exactly right, most of the SWAT portrayal shown in the game are accurate to the real life counterparts; the strafing, flanking, and infiltration are spot on and there are use of heavy metal shields in real life SWAT teams. The Bulldozer seen in the game are mostly used for bomb disposal in real life but there have been occasions where they are also used to handle more violent crimes. While Cloakers don't exist in real life SWAT teams, they do have members in SWAT trained to blindside their target and knock them down in a single hit, a tactic known as cloaking (or to cloak someone). SWAT snipers in real life are trained to never miss their targets are are usually in blue armor, just like the snipers in the game.
  • Smug Snake: Matt in the Heat Street heist steals your money and gives you the finger before fleeing in a van. Even when you catch up to him when his van is totaled, he refuses to come out, forcing you to set the van on fire to smoke him out. After he gives up, he meekly begs you to let him go while you prod him to move along.
  • Speed Run: Possible to do in Diamond Heist if the codes work the first time and you stealth the run. Many people have attempted to get the quickest time in Diamond Heist as possible.
  • Story-Driven Invulnerability: The Taxman, who you must interrogate for passwords. He can't be harmed by anything at all, though he will pass out if you use a Pistol Whip on him too many times.
  • Stun Guns: The Taser SWAT unit will shock you when given the chance, causing the screen to shake and your weapon to fire uncontrollably. Being tased for 10 seconds without interruption automatically incapacitates you.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Trip mines and the grenade launcher gives all the boom you need. SWAT units will also blow up walls in some levels to reach you faster.
  • Super Window Jump: Averted, the cops will break the windows before jumping through, or blow them out with an explosive charge in the case of the heavy glass in the front of "First World Bank."
  • The All-Seeing A.I.: Smoke grenades won't deter the cops from shooting at you with pinpoint accuracy through the smoke. Fortunately, this also applies to your AI teammates. At least for the police, it's partially justified/explained that they're wearing night vision or infrared goggles to see through the smoke.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Cops tend to be extremely accurate in their shots no matter how far away they are from you, including with their use of a shotgun. Cops also tend to have their shots clip into the level geometry and objects, hitting you even though you are hiding in cover. When the cops use smoke grenades, they can see through the smoke perfectly to shoot at you, despite the fact that most (save the Bulldozer and Cloaker) have zero protection from the smoke at all. On top of this, the cops can shoot through civilians to hit you, whereas you will instantly kill a civilian if just a single bullet from your gun grazes them.
    • On a more positive note, AI teammates don't run out of ammo, and their health is renewable. They can also do certain scripted events better and have a few quirks (such as leaping on a table and announcing that this is a stickup) and do a few moves human players can't do.
  • Time for Plan B: Bain pulls this off in Diamond Heist if the codes to the vault don't work; he'll ask you to capture the CFO so he can use him as a bargaining tool with Mr. Garnet for the codes. If that plan fails, then Bain goes to Plan C: dump the CFO out of the chopper to his death and kidnap Garnet's son. Bain also has a back up plan for the No Mercy heist if the alarm is triggered by having you hacking open the doors leading to the ICU booths.
  • The Goomba: The security guards and local police are the weakest enemies in the game due to being unarmored and using mostly pistols. However, a security guard can, but rarely, handcuff you if you get too close. There's even an achievement for it.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The civilians will generally stay down when you tell them to, but they tend to get up and run around in a panic whenever you're in a shootout with the cops. This makes Heat Street become That One Level because of all the innocents running around getting in your line of fire.
  • Torture Always Works: The Taxman in the Undercover level will always buckle and give up the codes needed to hack the server, but you usually have to smack him around with your gun a few times and then shout at him before he gives it up. Depending on the randomness factor, the Taxman may go unconscious because you hit him too many times, forcing you to wait until he wakes up.
    • Getting Matt out of the van in Heat Street follows this too.
  • True Companions: As with Left 4 Dead before it, being a gung ho lone wolf as a player is a really fast way of getting arrested or killed, perhaps even more so. Whereas L4D allows you a fairly generous amount of time to rescue someone against enemies with few, if any, ranged attacks and limited speed, PAYDAY has fast enemies with multiple ways of attacking and subduing you, at range and at melee, and it's possible to run out of ammo for even your sidearm.
  • Twenty SWAT Helmets: Many of the listed challenges in the game require you to kill X amount of cops with weapon Y (sometimes with headshots only). It gets absurd once you reach the grind challenges that require a thousand kills.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: The Counterfeit heist requires that at least one player with a crowbar so that they can open the sewer hatch and escape when it's time. The level has 2 crowbars and if the two players that have them are in police custody when the finale begins (finales make the police assault endless, preventing you from making hostage trades), the remaining players are stuck can do nothing but get blasted by the cops or wait until the timer runs out, making the level a failure.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Having an itchy trigger finger will work heavily against you when civiians are around. Each civilian killed adds a 10 second penalty to your negation delay timer if you get taken into custody and you will also have a reduced cash award at the end of the level.
  • Villain Protagonist
  • Violation of Common Sense: One of the challenges in the game is to go into bleed out mode from fall damage. You're usually conditioned to always use the stairs, so most people looking to complete this challenge will break their legs from falling on purpose.
    • The achievement "Easy Street" requires players to beat Heat Street on Overkill difficulty while the crew's accuracy is 60% or more. You can shoot civilians to boost your accuracy if you don't mind waiting longer to be traded from custody. The "One Shot, One Kill - Repeat" achievement follows a similar mechanic where you have to kill 30 targets in 30 shots with the M308 and civilians count towards the achievement.
    • The "Pacifist" achievement can be obtained from beating Counterfeit without killing a single civilian or law enforcer, which means you can't attack the cops at all while they pump you full of lead. Try not to give in to temptation by shooting back!
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Bain, who guides you through each heist. Among other things, he will tell you when an Assault is about to happen and when specialist units are heading your way.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: If all human players are in custody, the heist ends in failure, even if the difficulty is on normal or easy and any player is 3 seconds away from auto-respawning. In Single-Player, this pretty much means you (and only you) have to survive the entire level without being taken into custody. Luckily, this also means only you have to make it to the end when it's time to escape and the bots don't need to be with you to make it count.
  • Wham Line: During the No Mercy campaign, it's possible for Dallas to either cough like a smoker ("there's something in my throat"), one of the others to comment about feeling ill, or for Bain to leave you for dead after the elevator crashes.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Bain will scold you if you accidentally or purposely kill civilians and he may even ask if you've gone mental or postal.
    • Killing civilians and/or shooting a non silenced gun during the stealth portion of the No Mercy heist also gets you a scolding from Bain and he will also chastise you if you don't answer the phone when it rings (they all cause the alarm to be triggered). Botching the stealth sections of Undercover and Counterfeit gets Bain annoyed at you as well.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Bain is no chessmaster, but he's surprisingly good at improvising. He has about nine backup plans for the Diamond Heist, sets up an enormous trap on short notice for The Slaughterhouse, and still arranges your escape after everything goes wrong on Heat Street. It helps that he's always listening to police scanners, and knows every move the Police make. Not only that, on lower difficulties he can get you out of custody about three minutes after you've been arrested, assuming you didn't kill any civilians, and even if everyone goes to jail he can somehow get the people who'd usually be on death row for their actions back in the streets.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: The civilians have limited amounts of models and face models, so they all tend to look alike fairly quickly. All enemies, save for the Heavy SWAT and the special SWAT units share the same body model and only have a few varieties of different faces.
  • Zerg Rush: The cops do this during Assaults.


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alternative title(s): PAYDAY The Heist
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