Starbreeze Files for Reconstruction as CEO Announces Departure

Swedish publisher and developer Starbreeze AB has announced today that it has filed for reconstruction in a bid to avoid bankruptcy, amid poor sales of Overkill’s The Walking Dead. Additionally, CEO Bo Andersson has agreed to step down.

Overkill's The Walking Dead

The reconstruction will affect all of Starbreeze AB’s subsidiaries, including Starbreeze Publishing, Starbreeze Production, Starbreeze Studios, Enterspace and Enterspace International.

The company said in an official statement that: “The decision is based on a shortage of liquidity and deemed to be a necessary step to give the Company the time needed to negotiate a long-term financial solution and implement changes in the organization and operations. The financial targets for Q4 2018 and 2020 no longer applies.”

Management will be reviewing operations and initiating a programme to lower costs and focus on its core business. During this period staff will still be paid but no payments will be made to suppliers for services or goods.

OVERKILL's The Walking Dead

Starbreeze attributes some of this to the poor reception Overkill’s The Walking Dead has received since it arrived last month, affecting forecasted sales and therefore reduced the short-term forecasted revenue.

The company is also well known for its virtual reality (VR) efforts, having created the rather by-the-numbers John Wick Chronicles experience as well as Payday 2 VR. And then there’s StarVR, the enterprise-focused head-mount display (HMD) made in conjunction with Acer. The headset recently went on sale for $3,200 USD, but looks not to be affected as Starbreeze and Acer spun the project out into its own company, StarVR Corporation.

With the departure of Bo Andersson he will be succeeded by Deputy CEO Mikael Nermark. “In this phase, Starbreeze needs a different kind of leadership and we have therefore decided to ask Mikael Nermark to take on the full responsibility with our full mandate for this new phase,” says Starbreeze Chairman Michael Hjorth in a statement.

As the reconstruction continues VRFocus will keep you abreast of the latest outcomes.

iNK Stories VR Experience “Hero” Awarded At Tribeca Film Festival

Starbreeze publishing, more commonly known for their work on the popular PAYDAY series of videogames, have announced their “Hero” virtual reality (VR) experience developed in partnership with iNK Stories was awarded the prestigious Storyscapes award at the ongoing Tribeca Film Festival in New York.


Hero puts the audience in the center of an air raid in a Syrian city, stepping into the shoes of a civilian where choices shape one’s own experience. The title is a combination of interactive virtual story telling with a documentary style film approach, complete with numerous sensor’s that help create a more immersive experience for the user. By utilizing 56 tracking cameras and a 32 audio DTS channel solution featuring DTSX tools, the team were able to achieve groundbreaking, haptic sound design.

The whole experience is power by the HP Z VR Backpack PC allowing for full body movement and freedom within the moment, giving users an astonishingly immersive experience that takes experiential storytelling and documentary film to a whole new level.

Mikael Nermark, Head of Starbreeze Publishing commented on the award saying: ““We’re pleased that the jury chose to recognize Hero as we feel it’s not only an important story that was deserved to be told, but it also represents a huge advancement in the way VR will enable content creators to amaze and tell immersive stories in the future”

The award winning iNK Stories, a visionary studio known for bringing authentic and impactful stories to immersive entertainment, worked on Hero to ensure that high level of immersion could be achieved. They have also worked on the BAFTA nominated and Facebook’s Game of the Year Winner, ​1979 Revolution. At Tribeca Film Festival 2018, iNK Stories were proud to present the premiere of Hero, which is the latest in their Vérité VR Series. Its exhibit at Tribeca Film Festival 2018 was one of five immersive experience that were in competition for the prestigious Tribeca Storyscapes Award which recognizes groundbreaking approaches in storytelling and technology.

The jurors, Myriam Achard, Marcie Jastrow, and Nicholas Thompson, commented on the award being given to Hero by saying: “Texture. Beauty. Heat. Life. Hero is an extraordinary story of life in a country under siege. It uses ambitious technology, and pushes viewers right up to, but not past, what one’s senses can bear. It will help you understand where VR is going, but also, viscerally, in some ways where this world is going.”

VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest from Starbreeze Publishing and iNK Stories in the future so stay tuned for more.

No More Beta Switching Needed, Payday 2 VR now Available in Main Game

Last November Starbreeze Studios brought its highly popular bank robber videogame Payday 2 to HTC Vive as a beta, allowing VR players to immerse themselves in the crime spree shooter. Today, the studio has announced a brand new update for Payday 2 VR, combining it with the main Payday 2 title so players no longer have to switch.

Payday 2 VR screenshot

The update isn’t just merely about integrating the two videogames for ease of use, far more work has gone into it. As Starbreeze Studios explain in a Steam posting: “Nearly the entire game is now unlocked and available to our VR heisters, with a few exceptions that are still in development. Play all heists with just about all weapons that are available in the game. Bring a sniper rifle with a magnified scope to cover your friends from afar, or why not stand on the front line with an LMG and a rocket launcher? Afterwards you could blast into the distance in a Longfellow packed with goats, it’s your choice!”

For example, the sniper rifles have been tuned to make them feel more immersive and realistic, swapping scopes to suit how you play. The inventory belt can be customised with quick access to the weapon switch and melee weapon. Then there’s the new VR skills and perks, with Starbreeze creating differences between VR and non-VR players.

If you’ve been playing the beta since launch you may be worried about how this update affects your save files. This has been thought of, with the team providing the following solution: “If you took part in the Beta you may have noticed that it used a separate save file from the main game. When you start PAYDAY 2 after the update, the game will compare your character levels in both branches, main game and VR Beta. If your progress in the VR Beta is higher than in the main game you will get a prompt to overwrite the progress with your VR Beta progress.”


If you’ve recently picked up a HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headset, own Payday 2 and want to get in on the VR action then its now super easy. Payday 2 VR is now available for free in the DLC list to download. There’s a massive amount of update info on the main Steam listing, and as always, keep reading VRFocus for the latest updates.

Starbreeze Bringing VR Installation Experience Hero To Sundance Film Festival

We are but a few days away from diving full pelt into cinema season and this year’s Sundance Film Festival taking place in Utah, USA. It, and the Slamdance Film Festival (which we will be discussing more tomorrow on VRFocus) are but a few days away and the latest immersive technology project to be revealed comes by way of a familiar name – Starbreeze AB.

The independent creator, publisher and distributor of videogames, who are best known for their work on the Payday series of videogames, working with Behaviour Digital to launch the popular horror thriller Dead by Daylight and, of course, being the driving force behind the StarVR head mounted display (HMD) – now produced in partnership with Acer. Starbreeze are now teaming with iNK Stories, who are an entertainment company based out of the US in both New York and Los Angeles who have previously worked with franchises like Grand Theft Auto and, from a VR perspective, also contributed to Capcom’s highly acclaimed PlayStation VR title Resident Evil VII: biohazard.

The pair are working together to bring a new experience called HERO to the festival, which is to be held from January 18th to the 28th, 2018. A Vérité VR experience, it will be shown throughout the festival at a large scale immersive installation in the Kimball Art Center, found in Park City, Utah as part of the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier initiative.

In HERO you enter the modern world in a place of crisis. But when people are in trouble and everything around you is tearing itself apart, what do you do? Combining an interactive virtual world with a documentary style, physical sensations – although the press release from Starbreeze doesn’t expressly clarify in what sense this is implemented – and DTSX object-based audio, HERO will ask attendees, in an era of civilian warfare what a hero is, and if they have what it takes to be the hero people need.

VRFocus will be bringing you more news regarding the Sundance Film Festival in the days to come. Stay tuned for more by following us on social media for the very latest.



StarVR Headset Rolls Out to SEGA Game Center Locations Across Japan

StarVR, a joint venture between Acer and Starbreeze, and SEGA Entertainment announced a collaboration to bring the eponymous wide field of view (FOV) StarVR headset to SEGA Game Center locations across Japan. The StarVR headset will be featured at three SEGA arcade locations by March 2018, and expand to a total of more than ten locations by the end of 2018.

SEGA’s flagship Game Center in Shinjuku Kabukicho was the first to see the StarVR installation back in late December 2017.

Starbreeze Studio’s VR titles John Wick Chronicles (2017) and The Mummy Prodigium Strike will be the first experiences available to arcade-goes, although StarVR says more titles will be introduced gradually. Each experience costs ¥1,200 (~$11) per ticket.

Photo by Road to VR

Starbreeze surprised attendees back at E3 2015 when they unveiled StarVR, a 210 FOV, 5120×1440 resolution VR headset born from project InfinitEye. Little was known about the company’s plans for the headset until Starbreeze and Acer announced a joint venture to “market and produce” StarVR in an effort to showcase Starbreeze’s games at location-based VR centers like SEGA’s Shinjuku arcade.

“We’re especially excited to bring StarVR arcade experiences to Japan, as it has the world’s most sophisticated arcade industry and culture,” said Jerry Kao, Vice Chairman of StarVR Corporation. “Collaborating with SEGA Entertainment, the leader in the local market, we’re confident that we can make truly immersive and premium VR experiences widely available to Japanese consumers soon.”

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Payday 2 VR Update Revamps Sight Aiming, Adds New Levels and More

Overkill has added a whole heap of new content to Payday 2 in time for the holiday season, but more importantly comes another new update for Payday 2 VR. Currently undergoing a beta testing phase, Payday 2 VR has clearly taken inspiration from the recent Fallout 4 VR discussions, improving the aim-down-sight system as well as adding more fresh content.

Payday 2 VR art

A new heist added to the core Payday 2 experience asks players to mask up and get their guns out to join Locke in wreaking some havoc in the streets of New York. This first ever Christmas heist was contracted by Bain, and now Locke is bringing players some soft presents to put on when you heist on Alaskan Deal.

For Payday 2 VR however, the latest update is much more mechanical. The biggest change comes to the aforementioned aim-down-sight system, which now triggers automatically when moving the gun sights within your line of sight.

“We have improved the Aim down sight system. From now on it will trigger when you hold the gun up in front of your eyes with either one or two hands,” reads the latest update from Overkill.

The full changelog for Payday 2 VR Beta follows below, verbatim from Overkill, and VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on the videogame.

Update VR Beta 1.5 Changelog

Update sizes:

Beta 1.4 – Beta 1.5 – 487,4MB
Main Branch to Beta 1.5 – 97,4MB


• Improved the ladder climbing system
• Fixed an issue where bags were thrown from the chest of clients instead of the hand
• Fixed an issue where you could grab a magazine with manual reload even if there was no bullets in the magazine
• Fixed an issue where the manual reload would display a full clip reload even when the player does not have enough ammo for it
• Improved the Aim Down sight system and removed two-handed trigger for ADS skills
• Removed the movement speed penalty while ADS is triggered
• Fixed issue where the player could interact and move at the same time with the direct movement system
• Fixed an issue where warp functionality was not interrupted by interactions
• Improved the wall check system for automatic weapon
• Disabled belt while being tased
• Disabled belt while being cuffed
• Prevented controller input during in the pause menu to affect gameplay
• Fixed so ingame vissual effects and waypoints won’t appear in the pause menu


• Added the Ksp 58
• Added the RPK
• Added the KSP
• Added the Brenner 21
• Added the Buzzsaw 42
• Added the Vulcan Minigun


• Added the Brooklyn Bank
• Added the Brooklyn 10-10
• Added the White Xmas
• Added the Jewelry Store
• Added the Ukrainian Job
• Added the Murky Station

Payday 2 VR Beta Update Brings New Levels, Smooth Locomotion

Payday 2 VR had been riding high on many virtual reality (VR) gamers’ most wanted lists since its announcement back in May. The eventual launch of a beta testing phase for the videogame was warmly received, so too was the development team’s willingness to listen to community feedback; a passion for the audience that has now resulted in smooth locomotion being added to the videogame.

Payday 2 VR screenshot

The first major update to Payday 2 VR’s beta resulted in the addition of Oculus Rift compatibility, complete with in-game representations of the Oculus Touch motion-controllers. Now, the development team are continuing to listen to community feedback as is evident with the launch of the beta 1.4 update.

“We are really happy to see how well our latest addition to CrimeNet, the Reservoir Dogs Heist, has been received. We saw a few issues reported on the forums and we quickly got to work on ironing out the wrinkles,” reads the latest update from Overkill, developers of Payday 2 VR. “We also bring an update to the VR Beta today. Jump in and have a blast with some grenade launchers and a few new levels. We are adding the new level here as well so that you can do some classical heisting with modern tech. Finally we are also including some updated animations for grenade launchers, shotguns and revolvers.”

In addition to this new content, Overkill has brought smooth locomotion, dubbed ‘direct movement’ by the development team, to Payday 2 VR. Players can now choose to play with either ‘Dash + Direct’ movement or ‘Dash’ only.

Payday 2 VR screenshot

The full changelog for the update follows below, verbatim from publisher Starbreeze Studios, and VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on Payday 2 VR.


Update VR Beta 1.4 Changelog

Update sizes:

  • Beta 1.31 – Beta 1.4 – 1,2Gb
  • Main Branch to Beta 1.4 – 94,9Mb


  • Added Dash + Direct movement system for HTC vive and oculus
  • Fixed and issue where the hands and weapons would lag behind when dashing


  • Added The Basics – Stealth
  • Added The Basics – Loud
  • Added the Reservoir Dogs Heist
  • Added the Watchdogs job
  • Added the Prison Nightmare job
  • Added the Nightclub


  • Added the China Puff 40mm
  • Added the GL40
  • Added the Piglet


  • Added reload animations for Shotguns
  • Added reload animations for Revolvers
  • Added reload animations for Grenade Launchers
  • Added visual shotgun shells for the manual reload system
  • Added visual grenades for grenade launchers for the manual reload system
  • Added visual bullets for revolvers for the manual reload system

Payday 2 VR Beta Update Improves Your Crime Spree Capabilities

Last week Starbreeze Studios released the long awaited beta for its highly popular crime spree videogame Payday 2, giving HTC Vive owners the chance to pull off heists, have shootouts with police and more. Today, the studio has rolled out a second update for players, adding content whilst ironing out some issues.

The update doesn’t feature anything too major, with some added transports, a couple of characters and a new melee weapon. It’s mainly an issue fix patch more than anything, improving the gameplay for a smoother experience.

If you missed the first update last week that had one big addition, Oculus Touch support so the Payday 2 VR beta recognises the motion  controllers.

Check out the full Payday 2 VR Beta 1.2 update changelog below. For any further announcements, keep reading VRFocus.

  • Content
  • Added Transport: Crossroads
  • Added Transport: Downtown
  • Added Transport: Harbor
  • Added Transport: Park
  • Added Transport: Underpass
  • Added Big Oil
  • Added Mallcrasher
  • Added Ethan and Hila
  • Added the Tag Team Perk Deck
  • Added the Great Ruler Melee WeaponGeneral
  • Fixed a “divide by 0” crash that caused some players to not be able to every start the game
  • Fixed an issue where the stop hand icon and interaction circles was not visible through walls
  • Tweaked the controls to climb ladders
  • Changed the adaptive quality setting, it will now default to 140% of supersampling quality level when turned off
  • Increased resolution of the game image in the pause menu and custody screenMenu
  • Fixed an issue where laser pointer was not disabled properly when switching hand in the menu
  • Fixed an issue where the belt did not switch sides when choosing a different weapon hand during game play
  • Fixed an issue where the reload system did not change when choosing a different setting during game play
  • Fixed an issue where Dallas would spawn in the main menu before the players chosen character would appear
  • Implement name labels in the VR lobby
  • Moved the characters in the VR lobby slightly closer to the playerWeapons
  • Fixed tased state so it properly shoots from the weapon, and fires both weapons when using akimbo
  • Added a small amount of damage to weapon butt hits
  • Fixed an issue where switching weapons would use the wrong grip settings

Preview: Payday 2 VR – The Right Kind of Daylight Robbery

Starbreeze Studios aren’t exactly newcomers to the field of virtual reality (VR), having collaborated on VR titles like John Wick Chronicles as well as developing its own head-mounted display, StarVR. Even so, it still came as a surprise when the studio announced back in May that it was working on a VR version of its 2013 smash hit, Payday 2, and that the VR version would be a free update. A month later the studio then made the gaming community even happier by making five million copies of Payday 2 available for free.

Payday 2 VR is a four-player co-op first-person shooter (FPS) that revolves around your crack team of criminals pulling off various heists, bank jobs, and other nefarious activities, earning loot and gaining experience to buy better equipment to pull off even more outlandish raids.


Having such a strong community following Starbreeze Studios hasn’t rushed to implement Payday 2 VR into the main PC videogame just yet, starting proceedings off in beta to gauge reactions to the VR version. That being said, the studio hasn’t watered down the original title in any way to make it suitable for VR, merely used what it has already learnt to adapt the popular title for immersive headsets – which is very popular at the moment, just look at The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR for example.

This has and hasn’t quite worked on several fronts. Firstly movement, this is always a major consideration in VR over standard videogames because of what players find comfortable. Starbreeze has gone for the tried and tested – albeit safe option – of teleportation, giving you a marker on the floor which extends to a reasonable distance. Unfortunately, at this time this is the only option available to players, there’s no smooth locomotion options in the menu. Whilst this is understandable, when a robbery goes awry and all hell breaks loose, with cops attacking from all angles, trying to teleport about quickly becomes haphazard, jarring, and most importantly not that fun.

There are times when you want to quickly strafe behind cover or move backwards down a hallway with the loot providing covering fire. Yes, having roomscale allows you to physically duck behind cover but if the teleport doesn’t quite reach – or worse puts you on top of a counter or table – you can then become a sitting duck. So hopefully Payday 2 VR will see more movement options as development continues.

PayDay 2 VR

Also the belt around your waist is a series of panels which need to be highlighted before they can be used, switching between guns, selecting your fist and other options. This does feel somewhat tacked on, easy to use when it’s calm, slightly more finicky when in the middle of a gunfight.

All that being said, for a beta title that’s free-to-play you shouldn’t miss out on playing Payday 2 VR because it still captures what made the original so great. There’s a wealth of content available, tons of missions and customisation options. While you can try and plan your heists, even trying to be stealthy, unless you’re an elite Payday 2 veteran most missions will tend to end in an all-out massacre, running around trying to complete objectives whilst a relentless swarm of police descend upon you.

As you may expect there are still bugs and glitches to be found – trying to grab loot can sometimes be awkward – yet these aren’t gameplay breaking. Among the endless wave shooters that litter content libraries what Payday 2 VR offers VR gamers is variety, the ability to get involved, making split second decisions that can make or break a heist, offering a challenge that doesn’t just involve being able to shoot someone in the head. Payday 2 VR is the type of experience VR needs, hopefully Starbreeze Studios can shape it into one of the best.

‘Payday 2’ VR Beta Now Available, Supporting Cross-play with Desktop Players

Payday 2 (2013), the popular FPS with four-player co-op, has now updated to include access to the VR beta for HTC Vive. The beta is free, and will see updates in discrete phases, the first of which is now available for owners of the game.

The goal behind the beta is to give players on PC and VR access to the same Payday 2 content. For now though, some weapons aren’t available for VR players, something that will hopefully change in successive beta phases.

Although technically running through SteamVR, the game currently only officially supports Vive, and only renders Vive controllers. Some users have reported that Windows VR headsets work fine as well. Oculus Rift users will have to do an extra step to emulate the Vive’s controller and remap Touch’s buttons however. Reddit user ‘ElectrickMedic’ put together a handy guide on how to install the OpenVR Input Emulator to get the beta working for Rift.

image courtesy Overkill Software

Since June 2017, the game has only been available in its ‘Ultimate Edition’, which includes all the DLC for a total of $45. At the time of this writing, the base game sans DLC doesn’t appear to be available anywhere.

To get access to the VR beta, you’ll have to opt into the beta branch on Steam:

Find PAYDAY 2 in your Steam library and right-click – select Properties. In the Properties window – select the tab called “BETAS”. In the drop down menu in the BETAS tab – select “open_vr_beta” and close the window. This will automatically push the beta branch update. You can opt out at any time by reverting back to the stable branch.

Overkill recommends playing on window 8 or higher and with a
GTX 980 or better.

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