|This article is about the lore development in the PAYDAY Series. For the Crime.net chronologically arranged heists in PAYDAY 2, see Story Line.|
The timeline of PAYDAY: The Heist has no official order of which the heists take place in-universe, or canonically.
PAYDAY 2 used to also have no official timeline, and with the much larger array of heists, was more frequently debated, with only few things certain. That was the case until the release of the FBI Files, which contains an official timeline in the "Heist Database". However, some people question whether it is the actual timeline or just a possible order.
PAYDAY: The Heist (2011-2012)
There is little continuity within the heists in the first game, with only the order of the heists in the heist selection menu indicating some sort of timeline.
All that is known for certain is that First World Bank is the first heist in the game, as based on its position on the list in the heist selection screen, the description of the heist, newspapers in Counterfeit, and the description of the heist's PAYDAY 2 remake plus comments by Bain, and Counterfeit occurs after at least Slaughterhouse, if not every heist in the game, as when putting the drill on the Frank Yaeger safe, Bain will comment on how unlike the "other ones", this drill won't jam. It is also presumed Undercover is the last heist to take place in PAYDAY: The Heist due to it being at the bottom of the heist selection screen list.
It has been confirmed by both Overkill Software and Valve Corporation that No Mercy is not canon in either the PAYDAY universe or the Left 4 Dead universe. However, this changed in PAYDAY 2 in which the stolen virus ended up in the hands of Murkywater and is used to infect Bain after he was captured by them.
Hoxton Arrest (2012)
At an unknown time between the setting of the first and second game, the original Hoxton was left behind after a job gone sour. However, all of this was after the first PAYDAY game as his lawyer in "Intro" song in the Merry Payday Christmas Soundtrack says "Look, they got you. You understand? They got you good. You were caught on tape at the Garnet Group break-in, your fingerprints were all over the panic room, and your apartment is filled with blueprints from banks in D.C." This suggests that they had already moved to D.C. He was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Intervention and incarcerated at the same high security prison, Hazelton, and cell as their previous driver, Matt, whom he regularly beats up, which he sees as "karma" for double-crossing them.
PAYDAY 2 (2013-Present)
It has been confirmed by Overkill that PAYDAY 2 takes place after PAYDAY: The Heist.
Pre-FBI Files Release
Until the FBI Files were released, confirming PAYDAY 2's timeline, the order in which the heists took place was almost entirely up in the air. All that was known at the time was that Hector's heists took place in a definite order, along with The Dentist's and The Butcher's heists, though the order of The Dentist's heists are less defined. Additionally, some voice lines indicate a sort of order regarding Vlad's heists.
It was known for certain that Watchdogs takes place before Firestarter and Firestarter before Rats, both based on Hector's comments at the end of the former, and the elimination of the Mendoza cartel's D.C. operation in Rats would make Firestarter occurring after Rats impossible.
After the PAYDAY crew fulfills his contracts, Hector tries to seek protection from the FBI but is eventually assassinated in Hoxton's Revenge. His death would be mentioned later in the Goat Simulator heist in which a "void in the power trade" occurred without him in power.
The Dentist Timeline
In The Dentist's introductory video, he mentions the First World Bank and Election Day heists while talking to Dallas, along with teasing some of his heists, supporting that Election Day occurs before any of The Dentist's heists.
Hotline Miami is The Dentist's second heist, following The Big Bank. In the heist, the Payday Gang kills The Commissar so The Dentist can convince the District Attorney, whom has relations to the Commissar, to lower security around Hoxton. Since the Election Day heist is committed so The Elephant can have Hoxton be transferred to a lighter-security prison, Hotline Miami would have to occur after Election Day, as if it were the other way around, the act of lowering the prison's security would be moot, since Hoxton would be transferred to a different prison anyway.
The Dentist's next two contracts are Hoxton Breakout and The Diamond, though it was unclear in which order. In the Hoxton Revenge heist, The Dentist's fifth heist, evidence boards show footage of Clover breaking into the FBI office with the rest of the crew in Hoxton Breakout, even though she was released alongside The Diamond, released after Hoxton Breakout.
The Dentist's last heist is Golden Grin Casino, taking place after each of his previous heists. Said heist takes place before the Reservoir Dogs Heist, Breakin' Feds, and Henry's Rock with Bain's capture and the box bearing very similar markings like the other ones taken by the crew. In Hell's Island, it is revealed he has turned into a traitor and has joined forces with Murkywater.
He is eventually killed by the crew in The White House for holding Bain at gunpoint in an attempt to stop them, should the crew solve the secret.
The Butcher Timeline
The Butcher's two heists occur in a "What if?" scenario.
The Butcher's Forest contract takes place if the crew doesn't do the Dockyard contract, and the bomb is loaded onto the train that the gang assaults in the Forest heist. However, neither heist retcons the other, both heists canonically taking place in the PAYDAY universe.
After The Bomb: Forest or The Bomb: Dockyard, The Sosa cartel sinks one of her ships, then contracts the PAYDAY gang to kill Ernesto Sosa.
While not the contractor, The Butcher's men are involved in Alaskan Deal.
In Meltdown, which takes place after Shadow Raid as indicated by the open, empty samurai armor vault, when one of the warhead cases is opened, Bain may reference the Mallcrasher and Ukrainian Job heists ("Vlad, smashing malls is one thing, stealing tiaras is one thing, but nukes?!"), indicating that those two heists take place before Meltdown, and likely Shadow Raid.
Post-FBI Files Timeline
The release of the FBI Files not only confirmed that the heists added to the game post-release take place in the order they were released in, clearing up the mystery around Hoxton Breakout and The Diamond, it also confirmed the order the heists in the game since its release are in. It is shown in the Heist Database that Four Stores is not only Vlad's first heist, it is also the first heist in PAYDAY 2. It also confirms Jewelry Store to be Bain's first contract and Big Oil to be the Elephant's first. It also shows that Beneath the Mountain is Vernon Locke's first contract, which is also supported by Bain voicing suspicion upon completion of the heist
Murky Station takes place before Boiling Point, as in Murky Station the crew and Jimmy steal the EMP bomb they need to access the hidden lab in Russia in Boiling Point. Also, Murky Station occurs after Locke's Beneath the Mountain and/or Birth of Sky heists (but allegedly, prior to Alaskan Deal), as Bain mentions stealing the EMP bomb would earn favors for him.
Vernon Locke Timeline
At some point after the PAYDAY crew conducted heists on Murkywater such as Shadow Raid and Meltdown, Vernon Locke manages to infiltrate Crime.net with the original intention of destroying it as tasked by the shady organization in an act of vengeance. However, being the mercenary he is, Locke instead proposes to work together or otherwise he will "press a red button" to shut down Crime.net for good. Bain, having no other choice, agrees with Locke's offer. The mercenary then pushes the PAYDAY crew to steal valuable items in a Murkywater stronghold and infiltrate a cargo plane owned by Murkywater to retrieve pallets of cash and eject from said plane.
Eventually, Locke receives a tip off that leads the crew to pursue the treacherous Matt on Heat Street, claiming "an organization is set out to destroy the gang" with Matt being a possible member. He assists the gang in sending Bile to extract them once after Matt is apprehended.
All seems well until Locke arranges a weapons deal with The Butcher in Alaskan Deal. Soon after the crew arrives, Locke seemingly betrays them and leaves the area for the police force to capture or kill the gang. Bain swears his revenge and promises to get even with him. The PAYDAY crew succeeds in escaping, and proceeds to subsequently cut off Locke's finances in the Diamond Heist.
In a surprise twist, Locke returns but this time, assists the crew when Bain himself is captured by Murkywater/The Kataru in the Reservoir Dogs Heist. Bain's last words in that heist mention to trust Locke in spite of his earlier betrayal and says he was "getting close to something big". The mercenary promises to take care of the crew and expresses his condolences for Bain's demise. With his absence, Locke has taken over Bain's role and leads the PAYDAY gang in Brooklyn Bank where they unearth a medallion.
As revealed in Brooklyn Bank, Locke claims that Murkywater is responsible for the latest events and has caught ear of his acts against the mercenary force and therefore, has severed their communication ties with him.
After The Elephant becomes detained, Locke orders the crew to retrieve a box that was previously under the crooked politician's possession in the Breakin' Feds heist. Solomon Garrett is present but the crew avoids alerting and killing at all costs as ordered by Locke. The crew steals the box and with the last of his Murkywater personal favors being used up, Locke sends them to Henry's Rock, a Murkywater secret underground facility that holds two additional boxes of certain interest. However, the PAYDAY gang is exposed and forces the heist to go loud, with waves of both Murkywater PMCs and law enforcement swarming the facility. Undeterred, the gang succeeds and escapes with the intended possessions.
Thanks to The Elephant's tips, the crew steals a black tablet in the Shacklethorne Auction heist and then launch a rescue operation for Bain in Hell's Island. Despite Murkywater having trained their personnel to mimic the law enforcement and deal with the PAYDAY gang in advance, they succeed in releasing Bain. On the rooftop of the Murkywater owned prison, Bain is seen in person for the first time, holding Kento's corpse. The reunion is cut short with Bain collapsing from what appeared to be results of prolonged torture. However, the truth is far worse. Murkywater had performed experiments on him, injecting him with a virus stolen back in No Mercy a few years back and effectively giving Bain limited time before it claims his life.
Undeterred, Bain watches over the crew one last time in The White House heist with Locke filling in for him, intending to see his co-heisters be free of legal persecution by stealing 24 presidential pardons. Succeeding yet again despite the odds, Bain congratulates the crew and says he is proud of them, right before the virus apparently claims his life. His funeral is held in Mexico not too long after, with most of the PAYDAY gang throwing in their masks into the hole. There is, however, an alternate ending which may instead be the real canon. Be warned that this contains spoilers, more than what was above. The Payday gang, after infiltrating the P.E.O.C. in the White House, see a Mayan painting with "markings" that were apparently seen before in a museum according to Locke. Upon removing the painting and detonating the wall with C4, an old tunnel, most likely initally used for mining upon appearance or first glance, leads to an elevator in which Locke will tell the crew to take it down. Locke's signal will break up as the gang get deeper. Once they stop, there is a giant wheel with cryptic markings, that can be activated. Upon activation, dark entities will attempt to apprehend the crew. Whilst fighting the entities, the crew must pull and push levers to turn certain parts of the wheel. When it is solved, the wheel and walls behind it open, revealing a giant (vertically mounted) cylinder shaped cave with a structure resembling a Mayan temple, such as Chichen Itza in the middle in model-size. Soon after the cave closes behind the crew, the Dentist announces his presence by stating the crew's names. He had taken Locke and Bain hostage, and advises the crew to let him in and not to meddle. When the door opens, the crew shoots the Dentist from a safe distance so the Dentist wouldn't shoot Bain or Lock before they could shoot him. Then, the cave begins to collapse, so they must rush and take the Dentist's Mayan gold to the center, putting the golden bars around the bar-shaped molds around the model temple. The cave fills with lights, it goes white, the heist is over, Bain thanks the crew for everything, and from the players perspective upon completing this, will unlock a movie, "Offshore Payday". Within the short, is the crew gathering around on a beach, all is well, Locke is golfing, Dallas has a boat named Medic Bag, and they begin to watch TV. The President of the United States, looking to be Bain reincarnated from the mysterious device in the cave into the President's body, awarding Commissioner Garrett for stopping crime on the streets. Bain/P.O.T.U.S. ends with a closing speech, saying at the end, "America, lets do this." The crew claps, and its all over. The player also has a second movie, which is an epilogue of what happened to the crew after all of this.
The Classic Heists
Starting with Update #84, missions from PAYDAY: The Heist were reintroduced into PAYDAY 2 as Classic heists. The canonicity of these heists are not clear, as some elements of the remade heists contradict with their original depiction.
- First World Bank is stated in-game to be a revisiting of the bank after it reopened following its previous robbery, and the FBI Files allude to this stating it has "all the hallmarks of a classic job", but its location appears to have been moved from New York to Washington D.C. This fact is made even weirder by the later Heat Street remake still taking place in New York and containing advertisements featuring the First World Bank.
- Slaughterhouse does not make any allusions to being a redo of the earlier heist and Bain's briefing and the heist's file in the Heist Database imply that this specific heist has not been done in the past.
- Counterfeit's Heist Database file states that the counterfeiting operation had been ongoing for years, meaning the original heist never took place, assuming the file is canon.
- Undercover has the entirely same premise as the original, but the remake's Taxman goes under the name Adrian rather than Eugene. The same heist occurring but with a different yet related IRS employee, involving a similar 25 million dollar hack, is rather strange, however not entirely implausible.
- Panic Room, on its announcement page on the Hoxton's Housewarming Party, is stated to be a reenactment of the original by the request of Sydney, but in-game it is stated that should the heist be successful, it will go down in history, implying that a similar heist did not previously occur in-universe.
- Heat Street canonically occurs twice in-universe, with Bain noting that the experience is similar to a past event.
- Green Bridge seemingly also occurs twice, yet Solomon Garrett's notes imply that an incident like it has not been seen before.
- Diamond Heist, possibly occurs twice, based on Ralph Garnet's voice mail to his father in the heist trailer.
- The events of No Mercy back in PAYDAY: The Heist is said to be canon, with the virus stolen ending up in the hands of Murkywater and being injected into Bain. However, the PAYDAY 2 version is a flashback of those events.
- The boxes, amulet, the book of Bain and the diamond - Were they apart of the secret. The Storyline left this unresolved with a sudden return to Bain instead.
- The Virus - Is it in the air. What was Murkywater trying to learn from the No Mercy virus?
- Vlad - His warheads may have used for the nuclear blasts around the world. The Dentist lead a journalist to him, but nothing else was said about it..
- The Elephant - After his arrest and release, he assisted the Payday Gang with the boxes and set up an investigation in the capitol. Nothing has come of that as of late.
- Overkill MC - After The Biker Heist, The Elephant tasked the Payday Gang with being his replacement for the MC, performing tasks they would originally do. Nothing came of this.
- Dragan's phonecall - Nothing came of it.
- Gage - Teased for something by his actor, but nothing came of that. The last known mention was Alaskan Deal(?)(On the website for the weapons?).
- GO Bank, White Xmas, Stealing Xmas, Santa's Workshop, and Brooklyn Bank are the only heists known to take place during winter. The trailer for The Diamond heist shows a Christmas tree in one of the rooms, showing that it was previously meant to also take place in winter.
|Heists||Release: First World Bank • Heat Street • Panic Room • Green Bridge • Diamond Heist • Slaughterhouse|
DLC: Counterfeit • Undercover • No Mercy
|Weapons||Primary: AMCAR-4 • Reinbeck • M308 • Brenner 21 • AK|
Secondary: Mark 11 • Locomotive 12G • Compact-5 • GL40
Pistols: B9-S • Crosskill .45 • Bronco .44 • STRYK
|Deployables||Ammo bag • Doctor bag • Trip mine • Sentry gun|
|Enemies||Regular: Security guard • Cop • FBI • Gangster • Blue SWAT • Heavy SWAT • Murkywater|
Special: Bulldozer • Cloaker • Shield • Sniper • Taser
|Characters||Dallas • Hoxton • Wolf • Chains • Bain • Minor characters|
|Gameplay||Assault Waves • Civilians • Crew AI • Drills • Environmental hazards • Police Custody • Reputation • Risk Level (Overkill 145+) • Shout • Stealth • Upgrades|
|Miscellaneous||Achievements • Challenges • Companies (GenSec • Murkywater) • DLC • FBI • Gangs & Mafias • Graphic options • Masks • Overkill Software • Steam Trading Cards • Timeline • Update history|