In a world where sequels, “spiritual successors” and long-overdue reboots are getting thrown around like nobody’s business, developers are struggling to keep all the people happy all the time. A lot of them are taking the unusual approach of changing virtually everything about the game in order to release their new, loosely-affiliated project. Rockstar Games, on the other hand, figure that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” promising that Max Payne 3 will be full of the things we know and love from the first two.
Jeronimo Barrera, VP of product development at Rockstar, recently sat down with Gamespot to spill the beans on what was in store for everybody’s favourite, cranky NYC cop. The answer: A hell of a lot, really. Max has spent most of the time since the last game drinking and trying to forget.
Unfortunately, it seems like many gamers have also forgotten about Max, or simply never knew him in the first place. “As the games are so old now,” says Barrera, “Plenty of people who would like Max were simply not gaming back in 2003 (and, yes, we are depressed by how old we are getting!). There are, of course, plenty of great shooters out there, but the game’s combination of urban and criminal setting, the cinematic third-person action that is at the heart of the game, and the really amazing character that is Max are still a pretty unique proposition.”
As we know, Max has moved to Brazil to find work, hoping to gain employment as an executive security freelancer (fitting, for a disgraced cop). Sao Paulo apparently is “very alien” for poor Max (who doesn’t speak a lick of Portuguese), but at the same time, it’s familiar and bears many similarities to New York. It doesn’t take long before Max and old pal Raul Passos are employed by real estate mogul Rodrigo Branco and his family.
And that’s where the fun begins.
“The goal with the trailer was to set the scene for a new chapter in Max’s story; one that would make sense both from a thematic point of view and from the point of view of Max’s character arc. Staying true to each core element of Max was always a major focus, and that’s actually something that we discussed with Remedy during development, and they’ve been extremely supportive of our work.”
Barrera is quick to point out that – despite the appearance of this early trailer and some of the first-look screens – Rockstar is not moving away from the classic noir-ish styles from earlier Max Payne releases. “We’ve come up with what we think is an interesting interpretation of classic noir. Noir is about much more than location; it’s a visual approach and a thematic style. It’s also a huge part of what makes Max Payne unique.”
Expect to see the return of bullet time, internal monologues and those classic graphic novel cutscenes, and while plenty of things have been updated (“What looked great in 2003 sometimes does not always look so perfect in 2011!”), plenty have stayed the same.
The full interview is worth a read, and yes. Barrera does explain what happens to Max’s hair. No, he’s not balding (much), he’s “not too much older than he was in Max Payne 2”, and it’s a very deliberate decision. Why? Read more to find out.