Overkill Software
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Overkill Software
Overkill Software
Area served
Key people
Number of employees
75 (2015)[1]

Overkill Software is a Swedish video game developer based and founded in Stockholm in 2009 by Ulf Andersson, Bo Andersson and Simon Viklund, the founders and owners of now defunct game developer Grin. In 2012, Swedish game studio Starbreeze Studios acquired Overkill.


Brothers Bo and Ulf Andersson had founded Grin in 1997, which had some successful titles including Bionic Commando. However, when a deal with Square Enix to make a Final Fantasy-based game fell through, the company went bankrupt and was closed in 2009. The Anderssons launched Overkill Software that same year, with their first project being Payday: The Heist, released in 2011.[2]Payday was a success for PC and the PlayStation 3.[3]

Overkill desired to make a sequel to Payday, but did not have extensive financial resources to complete this project. They worked a deal with another Swedish studio, Starbreeze Studios, which at the same time was running low on cash while trying to develop Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. While officially, Overkill was acquired by Starbreeze on April 19, 2012,[4] those familiar with the deal, speaking to Eurogamer stated that this was more akin to Overkill's investors, including the Andersson's Varvtre AB group, becoming the majority shareholders of Starbreeze, and the few staff and assets left with Starbreeze were incorporated into Overkill's Stockholm offices.[2] The net result gave Overkill the necessary funding to complete Payday 2, which was released in 2013, along with Starbreeze's Brothers, with publishing support from 505 Games.[2][5] Ultimately, 505 Games sold its part of the Payday intellectual property ownership back to Starbreeze on May 30, 2016, leaving Starbreeze and Overkill full ownership of the franchise.[6] By 2013, Bo Andersson was named CEO of Starbreeze while still overseeing Overkill's operations.

Following the release of Payday 2, Bo and Ulf had a falling out. Ulf Andersson, the chief creative director on Payday 2, reportedly had been burned out by its development, and had not shown up to work for several months, according to those close to Overkill.[2] Bo bought out Ulf's shares of Varvtre AB,[2] and Ulf officially announced his departure from Overkill on May 4, 2015 for unstated reasons, though remained a consultant for Overkill for the next 2 years.[7] Ulf Andersson went on to form the 10 Chambers Collective, which is currently working on GTFO, a science-fiction game that borrows from some of Paydays concepts.[2]

In 2014, Starbreeze announced that it had acquired the rights for The Walking Dead for Overkill to make Overkill's The Walking Dead (OTWD) with a planned 2016 release date. Following Payday 2, Overkill's game was planned to follow similar approaches as Payday, a four-player cooperative experience set in a persistently-changing world.[2] The game was initially developed on the Diesel engine, the same engine that had been used on several Grin titles. However, Starbreeze continued to acquire several properties over the next few years, including acquiring the under-development Valhalla game engine for around US$8.6 million in 2015.[8] Starbreeze's intent was for Valhalla, a virtual reality-ready engine, to be used for all future Overkill projects, and the development of OTWD game was immediately switched to Valhalla.[2] Valhalla provided extremely difficult for the studio to use, with developers estimating that 50 to 60% of their time was involved with trying to wrangle the engine rather than any actual game development.[2] By 2016, Starbreeze announced the game would be delayed into 2017, but by early 2017, Starbreeze and Overkill recognized they would not be able to ship this game for some time, and so decided in April 2017 to change the game's engine again from Valhalla to the Unreal Engine.[2] At this point, both Overkill and Starbreeze developers were rushing to complete the game for a 2018 release, and while the Unreal engine provided a more stable base to work from, only about 10% the developers knew the engine well enough, requiring extra time for others to come up to speed.[2] Additionally, the developers faced work under micromanagement and "crunch time" to avoid another major delay, further hampering the quality of the work.[2]OTWD was released for personal computers in November 2018, with plans for console releases to follow, but the resulting game was poorly-received, selling an estimate 100,000 copies, far less than Starbreeze had expected. The console versions were put on hold, and in the months that followed, Bo Andersson was let go as Starbreeze's CEO and later was investigated by the Swedish Economic Crime Authority for insider trading but ultimately cleared of wrongdoing.[2]

Former Battlefield 3 and Battlefield: Bad Company 2 lead designer David Goldfarb was the lead designer and game director for Payday 2.[9] In 2014 he left Overkill to start his own studio.[10]

On August 18, 2015, sound designer and composer Simon Viklund left Overkill to focus on his solo music project. However, he continues to voice Bain in Payday 2 and produce music for Payday 2 as a freelance.[11]



  1. ^ Klepek, Patrick (26 October 2015). "Payday 2's Microtransaction Nightmare Just Got Worse". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Yin-Poole, Wesley (January 28, 2019). "The fall of Starbreeze". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ "Payday: The Heist for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved .
  4. ^ O'Connor, Alice (April 19, 2012). "Starbreeze acquiring Payday dev Overkill". Shacknews. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ Biessener, Adam (2013-03-12). "Payday 2: Setting Up A Bigger Heist". gameinformer.com. Game Informer. Retrieved .
  6. ^ a b "NBCUniversal and Starbreeze team up on Payday: Crime War mobile game". VentureBeat. 5 February 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ "Ulf Andersson Leaving Starbreeze". Starbreeze. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ Wawro, Alex (May 28, 2015). "Starbreeze aims to snap up the Valhalla engine in $8.6M deal". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ Goldfarb, David. "Linkedin David Goldfarb". linkedin.com. Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ Gera, Emily (14 July 2014). "Payday 2 lead leaves AAA to start indie studio". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ https://www.pixeldynamo.com/news/gaming/2015/08/18/77113/simon-viklund-leaves-overkill-heists/
  12. ^ Narcisse, Evan (May 21, 2015). "Payday: The Heist Developers Confirm That They're Working With Valve on Left 4 Dead Crossover". Kotaku. Retrieved 2015.
  13. ^ Karmali, Luke (August 6, 2013). "Payday 2 release date announced". IGN. Retrieved 2015.
  14. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (May 8, 2017). "Overkill's 'The Walking Dead' Delayed Again to Q2 2018 - Starbreeze". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ "Storm - OVERKILL Software Website".
  16. ^ Savage, Phil (January 21, 2013). "Syndicate devs developing Storm, a co-op sci-fi FPS". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2015.

External links

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Music Scenes