Back in 2018, I went hands-on with Payday: Crime War during a closed beta, and it was clear the online shooter needed more work. A year later, the game entered into soft-launch in select regions, and then it was shut down shortly after. At the time of this closure, it was revealed that Crime War could return under a new publisher, which is precisely what’s unfolding today.

Starbreeze, the studio behind the Payday series, has just announced that it’s entered into an agreement with PopReach to re-launch the mobile shooter Payday: Crime War. The first beta for this new acquisition is expected to arrive at the end of the year.

Interestingly, PopReach has paid Starbreeze 250 thousand USD for the source code to Payday: Crime War along with access to Payday 2 content (ideally for assets). We also know PopReach will foot the bill for the development of Crime War moving forward, so it would seem the company is heavily invested. Of course, after looking at PopReach’s current catalog, it’s a little worrying to see the publisher pumps out casual garbage infested with in-app purchases.

Really, this whole mess was caused by the previous publisher’s closure, so I suppose it was inevitable that a new publisher would enter the picture when the game was almost ready for release, but you have to wonder if such a long pause in development is going to affect the game. Shooters have progressed a lot on mobile in the last few years, with Call of Duty reigning supreme right now. While I’m sure there’s room in the market for a co-op shooter like Crime War, the dated design and controls that were already detrimental back in 2018 are not going to go over well in 2021. So here’s hoping PopReach has a few tricks up its sleeve, or else Crime War could be dead in the water before it sees a worldwide launch.