The Long Wait for Max Payne Is Almost Over

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Posted by patrickklepek (2212 posts) -

Max Payne 3 is a Rockstar Games production, which means it was originally supposed to be released a long time ago, and it's still not out. First, late 2009. Then, 2010. Later, 2011. Finally, March 2012. Wait, no, May 2012.

It now seems like the return of Max Payne is just a few weeks away, but with Rockstar Games, you never know. Unless there’s an unexpected twist, Max Payne 3 will arrive on store shelves on May 15.

“Max Payne 3 required us to apply the same kind of focus and attention to detail that we’d use on an open world to the design challenges of more linear, more precise action-shooter,” said lead gameplay designer Sergei Kuprejanov recently over email. “Everything has to withstand scrutiny in real time and Bullet Time.”

Max Payne 3 is largely set in Brazil, but not entirely. The game opens in New York.

The world assumed Max Payne was over when Remedy Entertainment moved onto Alan Wake. Max Payne 2 was a sales disappointment for parent company Take-Two Interactive, but as early as 2004, it promised another game. Max Payne 3 was formally announced in March 2009, where it was revealed that Rockstar Vancouver, the studio behind the excellent Bully, would make it.

A few months later, Max Payne 3 showed up on the cover of Game Informer. Max’s new, beard-laden, wife beater-enhanced look was revealed, and fans weren’t universally happy with the new direction. It was clear Rockstar Vancouver was putting their stamp on the series, but it wasn’t necessarily a stamp series fans wanted.

Rockstar had experience taking over an existing series before. Red Dead Redemption was technically the follow-up to Red Dead Revolver, remember? The difference here, however, was that people really cared about Max Payne.

Kuprejanov told me the reaction didn’t prompt Rockstar to alter the direction of Max Payne 3. It was patient.

“To be honest, we didn't change anything design wise,” he said. “Our plans were already pretty tight and we knew that we would give people plenty of what they were asking for. We did, however, hurry up our contract discussions with James McCaffrey, as that wasn't quite finalized at that point, which is why we kept that under wraps.”

McCaffrey was the original voice of Max, and remains the voice of Max in the new game. His involvement was a question mark when the Game Informer story ran, causing fans to question Rockstar's commitment to the past.

One positive sign about the game is the former creatives steering Max have given the thumbs up. Rockstar started showing Remedy builds of Max Payne 3 in 2011, and Kuprejanov described the relationship as one in which Remedy provides feedback to “ensure we got the right overall tone.” Rockstar "didn't want to disturb" Remedy while Alan Wake finished up, and looped them in when that project was complete.

It's not like Remedy's support is a tepid endorsement, either.

"It’s [Max Payne 3] f***ing brilliant," said Remedy CEO Matias Myllyrinne in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. "I’ve had a chance to play it and we’ve worked with Rockstar a little bit--obviously, they’re doing the heavy lifting. They’re doing the development. But they wanted our input on a couple of occasions and we’ve had loads of our people, our core group, who worked on the first two games, give input and it’s awesome."

A running theme behind Kuprejanov’s answers was a desire to maintain secrecy to protect the player experience, even when it seemed like my questions weren’t particularly prying. There's a general sense that much of Max Payne 3 is being purposely kept from us, and it's a refreshing feeling. It's hard to predict what will happen when it boots up.

When I asked, for example, about balancing the fourth wall-breaking tone of the previous games:

“It’s hard to convey every aspect of the game pre-launch without ruining parts of it that we’d rather leave for players to discover,” he said. “Max has always been a wry character, struggling to gain some kind of self-awareness, and that hasn’t changed at all. In terms of tone, we wanted something that worked well with modern body and facial animation and still felt very much like Max Payne. I think when you first hear McCaffrey start speaking in one of the early scene-setting monologues, you know you're back in Max's painful psyche.”

It's unclear how far Rockstar will to walk down that road, but I'm guessing no dream scenes with babies crying.

Perhaps the most important question is this next one: will Address Unknown be back? Address Unknown was a fake TV show set in "New Noir City" that players came across in Max Payne 2. Kuprejanov was coy in a very good way.

“We’re going to let fans discover the answer when they play the game for themselves,” he said.

Good enough for me.

#1 Posted by patrickklepek (2212 posts) -

Max Payne 3 is a Rockstar Games production, which means it was originally supposed to be released a long time ago, and it's still not out. First, late 2009. Then, 2010. Later, 2011. Finally, March 2012. Wait, no, May 2012.

It now seems like the return of Max Payne is just a few weeks away, but with Rockstar Games, you never know. Unless there’s an unexpected twist, Max Payne 3 will arrive on store shelves on May 15.

“Max Payne 3 required us to apply the same kind of focus and attention to detail that we’d use on an open world to the design challenges of more linear, more precise action-shooter,” said lead gameplay designer Sergei Kuprejanov recently over email. “Everything has to withstand scrutiny in real time and Bullet Time.”

Max Payne 3 is largely set in Brazil, but not entirely. The game opens in New York.

The world assumed Max Payne was over when Remedy Entertainment moved onto Alan Wake. Max Payne 2 was a sales disappointment for parent company Take-Two Interactive, but as early as 2004, it promised another game. Max Payne 3 was formally announced in March 2009, where it was revealed that Rockstar Vancouver, the studio behind the excellent Bully, would make it.

A few months later, Max Payne 3 showed up on the cover of Game Informer. Max’s new, beard-laden, wife beater-enhanced look was revealed, and fans weren’t universally happy with the new direction. It was clear Rockstar Vancouver was putting their stamp on the series, but it wasn’t necessarily a stamp series fans wanted.

Rockstar had experience taking over an existing series before. Red Dead Redemption was technically the follow-up to Red Dead Revolver, remember? The difference here, however, was that people really cared about Max Payne.

Kuprejanov told me the reaction didn’t prompt Rockstar to alter the direction of Max Payne 3. It was patient.

“To be honest, we didn't change anything design wise,” he said. “Our plans were already pretty tight and we knew that we would give people plenty of what they were asking for. We did, however, hurry up our contract discussions with James McCaffrey, as that wasn't quite finalized at that point, which is why we kept that under wraps.”

McCaffrey was the original voice of Max, and remains the voice of Max in the new game. His involvement was a question mark when the Game Informer story ran, causing fans to question Rockstar's commitment to the past.

One positive sign about the game is the former creatives steering Max have given the thumbs up. Rockstar started showing Remedy builds of Max Payne 3 in 2011, and Kuprejanov described the relationship as one in which Remedy provides feedback to “ensure we got the right overall tone.” Rockstar "didn't want to disturb" Remedy while Alan Wake finished up, and looped them in when that project was complete.

It's not like Remedy's support is a tepid endorsement, either.

"It’s [Max Payne 3] f***ing brilliant," said Remedy CEO Matias Myllyrinne in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz. "I’ve had a chance to play it and we’ve worked with Rockstar a little bit--obviously, they’re doing the heavy lifting. They’re doing the development. But they wanted our input on a couple of occasions and we’ve had loads of our people, our core group, who worked on the first two games, give input and it’s awesome."

A running theme behind Kuprejanov’s answers was a desire to maintain secrecy to protect the player experience, even when it seemed like my questions weren’t particularly prying. There's a general sense that much of Max Payne 3 is being purposely kept from us, and it's a refreshing feeling. It's hard to predict what will happen when it boots up.

When I asked, for example, about balancing the fourth wall-breaking tone of the previous games:

“It’s hard to convey every aspect of the game pre-launch without ruining parts of it that we’d rather leave for players to discover,” he said. “Max has always been a wry character, struggling to gain some kind of self-awareness, and that hasn’t changed at all. In terms of tone, we wanted something that worked well with modern body and facial animation and still felt very much like Max Payne. I think when you first hear McCaffrey start speaking in one of the early scene-setting monologues, you know you're back in Max's painful psyche.”

It's unclear how far Rockstar will to walk down that road, but I'm guessing no dream scenes with babies crying.

Perhaps the most important question is this next one: will Address Unknown be back? Address Unknown was a fake TV show set in "New Noir City" that players came across in Max Payne 2. Kuprejanov was coy in a very good way.

“We’re going to let fans discover the answer when they play the game for themselves,” he said.

Good enough for me.

#2 Posted by LethalKi11ler (1425 posts) -

Insane system requirements but still can't waiittt!!

#3 Posted by Drazat (172 posts) -

May pick it up later in the year i will be too busy in Diablo 3.

#4 Posted by Jerome85 (258 posts) -

Finally. I really can't wait until I get a chance to play this game. Love the Max Payne series.

#5 Posted by Ali_D (129 posts) -

I'm looking forward to this even thought I'm still unsure whether or not to get it on either the PC or 360.

#6 Posted by weegieanawrench (1943 posts) -

I can't wait, hopefully the 360 version doesn't have horrible frame rate issues like L.A. Noire, hooo boy.

#7 Posted by weegieanawrench (1943 posts) -

@Ali_D: I would go with PC assuming it has controller support, that game on max settings must be slick. I mean it's a 35 gig install, how can it not be?

#8 Edited by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

Who's been waiting for Max Payne, again? I remember playing the 1st or 2nd in a gaming cafe. Liked it but didn't finish it...

#9 Posted by Fattony12000 (7564 posts) -

IT'S MAX FRICKIN' PAYNE!

I still yell that line out from time to time.

#10 Posted by Vitor (2832 posts) -

@LethalKi11ler said:

Insane system requirements but still can't waiittt!!

They listed ALL supported cards in the info, that wasn't recommended specs. That's how Rockstar does things. I've had to explain this so many times.

It was just a list of all supported hardware, from the minimum required to actually run to game to the maximum on the market right now that would be officially supported.

#11 Posted by impartialgecko (1686 posts) -

Address UNKNOWN!!!! Maybe dick justice and lords and ladies too? we can dream

#12 Posted by BBQBram (2291 posts) -

See you zealots, this game'll be fine.

#13 Posted by OneAndOnlyBigE (447 posts) -

Does anyone have a recommendation for a quick and easy way to catch up on the series? Max Payne 3 will be my first Max Payne game.

#14 Posted by Morningstar (2240 posts) -

Cant wait for this game. Rockstar + Max Payne should = win ^^

#15 Posted by Yummylee (22538 posts) -

I've only played Max Payne 2 (on the PS2), so I'm not exactly the most devoted fan of the series. But man am I ever excited for Max Payne 3! And despite the crippling issues with Max Payne 2's ps2 port, I still managed to love everything that lay beneath the elongated loading times and dodgy frame-rate.

#16 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

Super excited.

#17 Posted by iAmJohn (6134 posts) -
@OneAndOnlyBigE
Does anyone have a recommendation for a quick and easy way to catch up on the series? Max Payne 3 will be my first Max Payne game.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. Holds up wonderfully. Still one of the best games ever. It's around $5 or $10 on Steam.
#18 Posted by Pr1mus (3946 posts) -

@OneAndOnlyBigE said:

Does anyone have a recommendation for a quick and easy way to catch up on the series? Max Payne 3 will be my first Max Payne game.

Pre-order it on Steam, you'll get the first two for free right now. They still hold up today.

#19 Posted by DeF (4977 posts) -

@iAmJohn said:

@OneAndOnlyBigE
Does anyone have a recommendation for a quick and easy way to catch up on the series? Max Payne 3 will be my first Max Payne game.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. Holds up wonderfully. Still one of the best games ever. It's around $5 or $10 on Steam.

pre-ordering from certain digital sources gets you free downloads of one of the old or both games in some cases. hit google for details.

if you just want the story, head on over to gamespot, they'Ve just released a cool video feature about it.

Online
#20 Posted by Guybrush (89 posts) -

@phrosnite said:

Who's been waiting for Max Payne, again? I remember playing the 1st or 2nd in a gaming cafe. Liked it but didn't finish it...

Me.

#21 Posted by MisterMouse (3564 posts) -

It is true that I really don't feel like I know a lot about this game compared to other games coming out.

#22 Posted by clintlandon (62 posts) -

I just hope they don't force the game to last too long and spread the story too thin to the point I just don't want to play it anymore like 95% of Rockstar's games (L.A. Noire, GTA, Red Dead).

#23 Posted by ds8k (414 posts) -

Too bad the PC version doesn't come out until May 29th.

#24 Posted by Bell_End (1203 posts) -

@ds8k said:

Too bad the PC version doesn't come out until May 29th.

gives me chance to sink dozes of hours into D3 so im not to bothered about the wait

#25 Posted by BulletproofMonk (2730 posts) -

I don't think Rockstar will disappoint. 

Online
#26 Posted by gzl5000 (164 posts) -

So when Patrick said we'd get some answers, what he really meant was:

"much of Max Payne 3 is being purposely kept from us"

Good to know.

#27 Posted by Ali_D (129 posts) -

@weegieanawrench: Oh yeah, it's gonna look amazing. I'm not concerned about the HD space as I'd be buying it on Steam anyways but my PC is lagging behind on the graphics card side. If I buy the 360 version, I've got no worries. Maybe get it on the 360 at first, then PC later once I've upgraded my rig.

#28 Posted by jukeboxzer0 (73 posts) -

I read somewhere that the xbox version of this game is on two discs? Can anyone confirm?

#29 Posted by OneAndOnlyBigE (447 posts) -
@Pr1mus

@OneAndOnlyBigE said:

Does anyone have a recommendation for a quick and easy way to catch up on the series? Max Payne 3 will be my first Max Payne game.

Pre-order it on Steam, you'll get the first two for free right now. They still hold up today.

@DeF

@iAmJohn said:

@OneAndOnlyBigE
Does anyone have a recommendation for a quick and easy way to catch up on the series? Max Payne 3 will be my first Max Payne game.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. Holds up wonderfully. Still one of the best games ever. It's around $5 or $10 on Steam.

pre-ordering from certain digital sources gets you free downloads of one of the old or both games in some cases. hit google for details.

if you just want the story, head on over to gamespot, they'Ve just released a cool video feature about it.

Thanks, my PC barely runs Superbrothers Sword and Sworcery :-) So I'll head on over to GS for the video. Predictably, my concern is that I won't catch or understand the various call-backs and references without playing the games though.
#30 Posted by Hitchenson (4682 posts) -

As much as I want Payne 3 and I really want Payne 3, I was most excited that it's got DX11 support, which in my eyes confirms DX11 for GTA V on PC. Fuck year, V.

#31 Posted by Psychohead (143 posts) -

Content Unknown.

Yeah, huge fan of the first two games. God help me, I'm writing this while using the Max Payne mouse pad that was packed in with the first game. So yeah. Super bummed when that Game Informer dropped. This last big media push as really done a lot of good, though. It looks like R* isn't pulling a DmC on this one like we feared.

My anticipation now boils like the blood from a dead raccoon seeping onto the the endless ebony expanse of an Arizona freeway under a blazing summer sun that burns hotter than the Hell that is my shattered, empty life.

#32 Posted by Pr1mus (3946 posts) -

@OneAndOnlyBigE: If you have about 3h to spare you could watch all the cutscenes on youtube starting here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPSN-DW0oDo

Just imagine a whole lots of bullets being fired between each scene. :D

#33 Posted by TeenageJesusSuperstar (171 posts) -

I know they can't all be winners, but there really seemed to be no point to this story.

#34 Posted by teh_destroyer (3574 posts) -

Need to preorder this for the xbox.

#35 Posted by Clonedzero (4196 posts) -

@TeenageJesusSuperstar: eh, still better than patricks usual pointless blog posts rofl

#36 Posted by Bell_End (1203 posts) -

@jukeboxzer0 said:

I read somewhere that the xbox version of this game is on two discs? Can anyone confirm?

its on 2 and a half disks

#37 Posted by DeF (4977 posts) -

@OneAndOnlyBigE said:

@Pr1mus

@OneAndOnlyBigE said:

Does anyone have a recommendation for a quick and easy way to catch up on the series? Max Payne 3 will be my first Max Payne game.

Pre-order it on Steam, you'll get the first two for free right now. They still hold up today.

@DeF

@iAmJohn said:

@OneAndOnlyBigE
Does anyone have a recommendation for a quick and easy way to catch up on the series? Max Payne 3 will be my first Max Payne game.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. Holds up wonderfully. Still one of the best games ever. It's around $5 or $10 on Steam.

pre-ordering from certain digital sources gets you free downloads of one of the old or both games in some cases. hit google for details.

if you just want the story, head on over to gamespot, they'Ve just released a cool video feature about it.

Thanks, my PC barely runs Superbrothers Sword and Sworcery :-) So I'll head on over to GS for the video. Predictably, my concern is that I won't catch or understand the various call-backs and references without playing the games though.

alternatively, you can probably get used PS2 versions for very cheap if you got access to one?!

Online
#38 Posted by chilipeppersman (1174 posts) -

@OneAndOnlyBigE: just watch the mount stupid spot on gamespot.com, it was a pretty good wrap, and I did actually play the first 2 games, so it was a nice refresher. Im also comforted that Remedy actually saw the game, played it, and thought it was awesome. Kudos to rockstar for not leaking any info! you guys are the shiznit!!!! I cant wait till may 15 :D

#39 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Should have asked him if the PC port will be awful...keeping in line with recent Rockstar handled ports.

#40 Posted by Feikken (221 posts) -

Max Payne 3 is going to be awesome. Loved the first two games so much! classics.

#41 Posted by iAmJohn (6134 posts) -

@DeF said:

@OneAndOnlyBigE said:

@Pr1mus

@OneAndOnlyBigE said:

Does anyone have a recommendation for a quick and easy way to catch up on the series? Max Payne 3 will be my first Max Payne game.

Pre-order it on Steam, you'll get the first two for free right now. They still hold up today.

@DeF

@iAmJohn said:

@OneAndOnlyBigE
Does anyone have a recommendation for a quick and easy way to catch up on the series? Max Payne 3 will be my first Max Payne game.
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. Holds up wonderfully. Still one of the best games ever. It's around $5 or $10 on Steam.

pre-ordering from certain digital sources gets you free downloads of one of the old or both games in some cases. hit google for details.

if you just want the story, head on over to gamespot, they'Ve just released a cool video feature about it.

Thanks, my PC barely runs Superbrothers Sword and Sworcery :-) So I'll head on over to GS for the video. Predictably, my concern is that I won't catch or understand the various call-backs and references without playing the games though.

alternatively, you can probably get used PS2 versions for very cheap if you got access to one?!

The PS2 version is poor. If you need to go with a console version, get the Xbox one.

#42 Posted by xq (15 posts) -

At this moment, I am still using the mouse pad that came with my preorder copy of Max Payne from GOD in 2001. Yes, I am excited for this.

#43 Posted by ThePhilatron (257 posts) -

I really cared about Red Dead Revolver...

I cant be the only one? Right? Right?!

#44 Posted by Stubee (383 posts) -

Hope it's something special. Max Payne was but the third person shooter market has changed since then.

#45 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -
@patrickklepek said:

Perhaps the most important question is this next one: will Address Unknown be back? Address Unknown was a fake TV show set in "New Noir City" that players came across in Max Payne 2. Kuprejanov was coy in a very good way.

Noir York not New Noir, patrick! 
  

 "I think when you first hear McCaffrey start speaking in one of the early scene-setting monologues, you know you're back in Max's painful psyche.” 

Ok... I am unzipping my PANTS!!!
#46 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

I'm pretty excited for this. It's cool that Rockstar got the Remedy guys involved a bit as well.

#47 Posted by Daemon069 (22 posts) -

I thought Address Unknown was set in Noire York City.

Screw it, stoked for this!

#48 Posted by HatKing (6108 posts) -

@Bell_End said:

@jukeboxzer0 said:

I read somewhere that the xbox version of this game is on two discs? Can anyone confirm?

its on 2 and a half disks

A lot of people are concerned about how the system will handle reading that half disk when it can't properly spin in the disk tray.

This interview has me even more pumped.

#49 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -
@Stubee said:
Hope it's something special. Max Payne was but the third person shooter market has changed since then.
It's not cover based, that alone is a massive indicator of the game being a fresh breath of Third Person Shooter air.
#50 Posted by Steparnicus (32 posts) -

I replayed MP1 & 2 recently and they still hold up. From what I've seen on the dev videos for Max Payne 3, it seems like it will still feel like a Max Payne game, but without all the clunky weirdness that would sometimes occur with the animation and such.

I really hope there is some kind of nightmare sequence in the new one, they are very much a feature of the series and they stuck out in my memory before I replayed them.

Oh and I need me some Lords and Ladies/ Address Unknown!

"John Mirra?"

"Yes this is he..."

"This is John Mirra...welcome to the next level"

"AHHHHH....AHHHHH!!!"

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