EDGE-Borg Reveals Max Payne 3 Details

Tension headache? Try lots of pills at once.

Some decent information is arriving about Max Payne 3, in the wake of some shitty screenshots being released. EDGE magazine have got a giant old feature about it, and through the power of copying out some bits, we can tell you some snippets about the game below. We’d also recommend you rush out and buy a copy of EDGE, as that will assuage our guilt.

There appears to be some peculiar revisionism where we’re all to pretend that the first two Max Payne games were bristling with emotional honesty and a compelling story. They were, of course, over-blown purple prose and whiskey-laden stereotypes. Nothing wrong with that, but let’s keep our reality-heads on.

Payne is now in São Paulo, Brazilsd, balding, hairy and fat, retired from the police department, and working for the likes of politicians and property moguls. And Edge reports that the game is not playing out in a strictly linear way, flashing back to the years that have passed since we last saw him. A full head of hair, his journey into blobdom is apparently to be told, although not necessarily in order.

Max still increases his health by choking down painkillers, but the comic book frames are gone. Instead it’s what EDGE describe as, “an animated collage of action footage”, although Rockstar maintain that it will still be a comic book approach. And perhaps most interestingly, it’s said that it’s not playing like a corridor shooter. Still linear, but instead focusing on set pieces, emphasising a frantic sense of action.

Bullet time is still in there of course, along with the bullet-cam providing punctuation for fight sequences, and Payne’s ability to dive out of the way of slo-mo bullet tracers. He can carry three weapons at a time, all used in a constant assault that attempts to keep the action going in what they’re hoping will be cinematic action sequences in the place of cutscenes. Let’s hope they’re that, and not just bits where the game keeps flipping taking over and we press a button when prompted.

The other thing to note is that it’s quite obvious the art director of the game, Rob Nelson, has modelled pre-lardo Max on himself. Someone had to say it.

I'm sure it's just a coincidence.


  1. The Army of None says:

    More like: Tension headache? SCREW YOU, LIVER, THIS IS YOUR FAULT. I will end you!

  2. Mechorpheus says:

    They HAVE to have James McCaffery doing the voice of Payne. The moment they said he wasn’t doing it, I immediately wrote off this game, his vocal input was such a massive part of the original two games for me.

    The piece on EG about this mention his name, but that he’s not been confirmed as being Max Payne himself, which strikes me as being an even bigger dick-move. It’d be like when they they try and keep a character in a TV show after the original actor has left, it never feels right.

    • int says:

      I agree. The voice is one of the most important parts of the franchise!

    • SteveHatesYou says:

      It’s confirmed in the article that McCaffery is playing Payne again. He’s even doing the mocap.

    • TheTingler says:

      I believe it said that he would be playing a minor role, but not necessarily as Payne.

      If he’s not, then this is officially NOT Max Payne 3.

    • SteveHatesYou says:

      “Rockstar has confirmed that James McCaffery, the voice of Payne in the first two games, is returning to the character – this time in a full acting role.”

      It’s not exactly ambiguous….

  3. Keilnoth says:

    Looks like CoD4 I shoot anybody still standing in the Favelas like game… that’s not Max Payne in the dark gloomy city at all anymore.

  4. Alfius says:

    Well this looks a bit shit doesn’t it? …. not that I’m jumping to conclusions about a game I haven’t even played yet.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The best parts of the first two Max Payne games were:
      – The writing, balanced on a brilliant knife-edge between silly parody and sincere weight
      – Third-person show-off shooting that was slick and precise (I am of the strong opinion that MP1/2 got the camera right and everyone else got it very wrong—in particular the current fetish for shoulders)

      They have changed:
      – The writer (Sam Lake is not involved in Max Payne 3)
      – The shooting (we shall yet see how much further they’ve gone than reducing his arsenal)

      It is not unreasonable based on the information available to form an expectation that the game will be bad or, at least, bad compared to the brand they have stuck upon it.

    • Navagon says:

      I think in some cases it’s perfectly fair to judge a game you’ve yet to play. When a game has abandoned damn near everything that made the originals great is being developed by a PC-hating company I don’t see a lot left to give a toss about.

      This is an entirely different game that they’ve got no faith in so they’re trying to sell it as a Max Payne game to boost sales. I hope it doesn’t work.

  5. Orija says:

    What the heck is on with this limited weapons inventory bull? I want realism, I’ll go play Arma 2, I want limited weapons in a cliche-ridden, cringe inducing setting, I’ll go buy a 360 and get Halo. Thank you.

    • TV-PressPass says:

      Seconded. The best part of Max Payve 1/2 was starting with a pair of a barrettas, moving up to a pair of mac 10s, then pulling out the side by side shotty, then jumping up to the beastly M4, falling back to your kalashnikov, and finally finishing with the barrettas because you had pissed away all your ammo into a half a dozen poor suckers.

    • Mark says:

      There are fewer buttons on a controller than there are on a PC keyboard. I really think it’s as simple as that.

      Anyway, early indications are that this is designed for console, that it’s taken out all the cool stuff the first two did, and therefore I do not much care for this game beyond the normal curiosity.

    • psycho7005 says:

      @Mark Uh, i had MP 1/2 on console (blasphemy i know), so reducing amount of weapons you can carry has nothing to do with that. Its that ‘everyone else is doing it and selling loads of copies so we’ll do it too’, which is BS.

    • Felixader says:

      Uhm, i played the Orange Box on my 360.
      I had no Problems to quickly and effortless change to another weapon. X-P

      Another Example is Turok 2 – Seeds of Evil.
      That game had an big rooster of weapons and i had no problem to change them, creativity on part of the designers made it work.
      And that was on the N64. over a decade ago.

  6. Oozo says:

    Plus, my twitter feed calls it a cover-shooter (and is somewhat disappointed by this). Is the game one or not? Is it a good thing or not? Can you slo-mo in and out of cover?
    What do I know. Do you?

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      From the article:

      There’s a new cover system, too, allowing players to duck behind scenic objects. The mechanic is still being worked on, but right now, the left trigger locks you to the surface, while the right trigger lets you pop out and shoot. If you release the left trigger, you can blind fire, aiming with the right stick. It seems manageable enough, and combined with the directional shoot-dodge provides a more strategic approach to combat—another hint that the Payne franchise is on top of developments in the shooter genre.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    You know what? I think it’s revisionism to pretend that the original Max Payne has shit writing.

    Sure, if you read it straight, it’s ridiculously over the top. But it’s apparent to me that it’s a loving parody; that as the story is extremely self serious the game itself is tongue-in-cheek, as evidence by the ludicrous in-game conversations and the moments of cutscene parody (the scene where Max realizes he’s in a video game). It’s hilarious, and interviews with Sam Lake seem to have made it apparent that the guy is sharp enough to realize what he’s doing – even if most of the audience (and, likely, the developers of Max Payne 3) wasn’t.

    • Callum says:

      I completely agree, I see a lot of people slagging off the over the top cliche-ridden dialogue of the Max Payne games now, but I still think they are completely unique because of it. Sure, you have games like Bulletstorm nowadays giving knowing winks and nods to the audience/player but the Max Payne games felt so comfortable in their use of movie references, cliches and metaphors that made it feel like no other experience at the time. I still think the series is one of the finest around though they haven’t aged well in terms of graphics/gameplay.

    • Tyshalle says:


      This really does seem to be a case where the people who ridicule Max Payne’s writing just aren’t getting it. Which is odd on this site.

    • Soon says:

      Or they may think it’s badly-written parody.

    • Thirith says:

      Ditto. I’m not saying that Max Payne is the pinnacle of video game writing, but if you ignore its self-awareness, you’re ignoring what makes it work so well.

      Edit: Also, at least in the second game it managed to pull off a weird but highly effective balance between parody and earnestness. It’s silly but it works, in part because it knows it’s silly.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I was chatting to this about John: I think May Payne 2 was self-aware parody. I don’t think Max Payne was at all.


    • Hoaxfish says:

      I’m fairly sure the 1st one is the one with the comic-panels where he goes on about how it’s like he’s in a computer game

    • AndrewC says:

      I’m on the side of Max Payne being bad writing. Or, being diplomatic, such was the accuracy of its pastiche of turgid over-writing that the words were exactly the same as turgid over-writing.

      Either road up, it achieved the end of being so offensively impenetrable to me that I skipped past all the cut scenes as fast as possible. Go go games writing!

    • Thirith says:

      @KG: That may be part of why I couldn’t get further than 1-2 hours into Max Payne but love the second game. That and the absence of Constipation Face.

    • kyrieee says:

      It’s been so long since I played MP1, but MP2 is definitely parody and personally I think it’s brilliant, I replay it just to enjoy the writing =)

    • Tyshalle says:

      I think MP1 was more serious for sure. But do you really think it was serious in a way that when they looked at all the over-the-top flowery prose they were like: “God damn this is some damn fine and not-at-all over-the-top writing!” ?

      I just don’t see it. I think that in both cases, the games were telling semi-serious stories that could be taken serious on some level, but were very meta on how they chose to tell the story, electing to go for something way, way over the top, but in a badass way, rather than in a flat-out-comedic way.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Yeah, the first game is quite clearly a parody. I would say it feels like more of a spoof than the second one. As was previously mentioned it has a scene where he realises he is in a comic, then a computer game. Plus it has some of the best over the top acting and voice work in any game ever.

    • Muzman says:

      The thing was, all that’s generally left of Noir is the over the top Daffy Duck parody version. The endless rehashes of that only make me wish harder for the real thing being given another go (and then millions flock to garbage like Sin City, while Brick goes largely unwatched, so which way do you think they’re going to play it?)

      This time they should chuck the whole thing and go with some sort of Hemingway meets Camus vibe (which I guess we can skip and say Cormac McCarthy)

  8. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    OK the MP series hasn’t had the greatest storyline going but it used the overblown noir framing to be very engaging. It told the story of a man destroying everything around him and himself in decent way.

  9. Quxxy says:

    Let’s see… Max has had his second major bout of plastic surgery. Except that this time, he’s got a different voice as well. The game’s atmosphere will be totally divorced from the previous two. The story will be told in a different way. The only part of the gameplay that’s apparently survived is bullet time which was totally what the whole game was about AMIRITE?!

    Yup, sounds like a worthy sequel to me.

    “Max Payne 3: It’s A Sequel To Max Payne 2 Because We Put ‘Max Payne’ In The Title.”

    Honestly, there’s innovating and changing things for a sequel… and then there’s throwing the whole shebang into a dumpster and taking an otherwise totally unrelated game and rebranding it as a sequel. I mean, why? I happened to *like* the overly silly and emo storyline. It was such a nice break from all the generic space marines and military shooters. It had its own style and feel.

    Maybe it will be a great game… as much as I’m not a fan of GTA, Rockstar seem pretty competent designers. But I can’t see how this will be a fitting follow-up to Max Payne 1 & 2. Just call it something else, guys. How about “Max Heat”? Nah, that sounds stupid. “Dark Justice”? Nah, screenshots too bright. I dunno; surely they can come up with something.

    • Stardog says:

      It reminds me of Diablo 3. Just give it a different name, and stop riding off the previous franchise.
      Everything we’ve heard so far sounds derivative, meaning they’re making it to make money and nothing else. I’m also positive this will be a mish-mash of other games, such as Uncharted, and not something original or unique.

    • Thirith says:

      I see what you mean re: Max Payne 3 – but how does Diablo fit in? How does Diablo 3 not look like a proper sequel to the first two games to the same extent that Diablo 2 looked like a proper sequel to the original Diablo?

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      If you can see how Max Payne 3 is unlike 2, but not how Diablo 3 is unlike 2 then… I don’t know.
      I for one am very negative when it comes to the new Blizzard so let’s just list a bunch of criticisms:
      1. RAINBOWS! Which seem to have been toned down after backlash.
      2. Single slot for items. Changed back to tetris after backlash (yay!)
      3. You now pick up health/mana orbs, because cooldown on potions (???)
      4. No town portals. Enjoy your game getting turning into easy mode to stop the dying and following frustration.
      5. Upgrading shops rather than have them evolve dependent on your level/act
      6. Sorceress becomes Wizard/ess.
      7. Demon Hunter class. Seriously? Demon Hunting isn’t a class, it’s a job description. EVERY CLASS IS A DEMON HUNTER. I’m not even going to mention the akimbo crossbows.

      I’m sure there are others, these are just the things that irk me personally. Besides Diablo and Cain the two games don’t have much in common that would set Diablo 3 apart as being anything but a “Diablo clone”. Max Payne 2 and 3 have just as much in common, in my opinion.
      I can’t wait to see how the lore itself will be butchered like in WoW. (I totally wished people had called Blizzard out on that one and said it was vastly different from its predecessors and hence should rot in hell.) /rant

    • Olivaw says:

      I have a lot of faith in Rockstar, having played Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto 4, that they will be able to write a story that is worth a shit.

      And I have a lot of faith that they will be able to make the shooting feel good as well, since Red Dead’s was infinitely superior to GTA4’s.

      So basically I have no problems with this game at all! I mourn the loss of Sam Lake on the team, but hey, he wanted to spend like eight goddamn years working on ONE GAME and then not release it for a platform that I had, so fuck it!

    • Thants says:

      So trying something new with the health system and having different classes makes it not a proper sequel to Diablo 2? Man, some people are literally impossible to please. I guess the expansion wasn’t really Diablo because it has totally different classes that weren’t even in the original! I swear, if they reverted all the things your complaining about you’d complain that it’s too similar to Diablo 2.

    • Thirith says:

      @Memphis-Ahn: I can’t figure out whether you’re serious or whether you’re doing a brilliantly executed parody of whatever Diablo‘s equivalent to NMA is.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      NDA? Or NMA with M for monsters?

    • Soon says:

      No Rainbows Allowed.

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      “So trying something new with the health system and having different classes makes it not a proper sequel to Diablo 2? Man, some people are literally impossible to please.”
      So trying something new with the weapon system and having a different setting makes it not a proper sequel to Max Payne 2? Man some people etc.
      Changing the mechanics that made Diablo 2 what it is? What I’m complaining about is no different to what people are concerned about in regards to Deus Ex 3.

      “I guess the expansion wasn’t really Diablo because it has totally different classes that weren’t even in the original!”
      The thing that irks me in terms of classes is that they’re changing the name of the Sorcerer to Wizard, and can’t even think of a “class” name that didn’t come from Warcraft 3. Besides, Sorcerer was there in the original and the other two classes just became more specialised. It may not have been entirely clear in my first post, but I mainly try to focus my criticisms on the mechanics they changed and not on the content (except for rainbows and demon hunters with akimbo crossbows, of course). Because the content itself obviously has to be differentiated enough from it’s predecessors, like classes for example.
      I’m just waiting to hear how they explain all these classes disappearing/appearing without simply saying “Worldstone went boom” and leaving it at that. Aren’t you at all curious about why the Necromancers and Amazons are gone? Why the Barbarians are still alive when they were so much closer to the Worldstone? Why the Paladins became Monks? The content part of it is easy for me to accept in comparison to “run around like a dumb-ass collecting red orbs to restore your health!”

      “I swear, if they reverted all the things your complaining about you’d complain that it’s too similar to Diablo 2.”
      I didn’t do it with Starcraft 2. Doubt I would with Diablo 3.

  10. juandemarco says:

    So no noir? No gloomy monologues standing at the top of a skyscraper looking over the rain drenched city? Why? What do I care about a retired, fat Max that makes his living but shooting anonymous gangsters in a sunny city? What’s next, a salsa-themed boss fight?
    The next article will be about how the next Duke Nukem game will focus on his way towards priesthood and how aliens can be shown the way to Jesus. Then I’ll know all my adolescence heroes are dead and buried :(

  11. Bhazor says:

    Y’know, that description could describe almost any game from the last 10 years or so.

  12. Moni says:

    Seems fine. I look forward to hearing more about this game in future.

  13. Zagzagovich says:

    I’m sorry but if a man on magic drugs, shouting: “I tasted the flesh of dead angels!”, while taking 3 grenades to the chest is not evoking emotional response from you, consider going to a psychiatrist.
    Oh, and the game looks like a major bummer.

  14. mollemannen says:

    this is the first and final warning to the devs. don’t. fuck. this. up! you know how close to finland i live? pretty close i tell you. i can almost throw rocks at you so heed my warning!

    • Henke says:

      Remedy aren’t making this one, Rockstar Vancouver are. So aim your rockthrowing at Canada instead. :P

    • mollemannen says:

      god damnit now i cant throw rocks at them. north korea is pretty close though. perhaps i will move there.

  15. Soon says:

    The one good thing is that it’s actually telling the story (at least partially) of how he’s gotten to where he is and not just abandoning everything, which is a little more promising. Sounds as though you’ll be playing the old Payne at some points in flashbacks. Maybe he’ll even end up back as he was before. Then get shot.

  16. kwyjibo says:

    Max Payne was about New York as much as it was about the protagonist, the story arc told in the first trip games was closed and self contained.

    That there chosen to revive this character in South America instead of creating a new IP just shows a lack of confidence and imagination.

  17. oxymelum says:

    Do not, I repeat DO NOT run a google image search on Rob Nelson with safe search off. Just don’t.

  18. Mr_Hands says:

    The first Max Payne has a special place in my heart. I actually kind of enjoyed the ridiculous storyline. The whole “Max realizes he’s in a video game/comic book” section really had me chuckling. Yeah, that kind of thing is apparently not cool to do anymore, apparently.

    Admittedly, I somehow missed the second Max Payne.

    I don’t know. I like Max as a character, but without Remedy at the helm I feel like this is just going to turn into Kane & Lynch of War.

  19. Ian says:

    Oh come on, Walker. Those two pictures are like chalk and another slightly different shade of the same sort of chalk.

    You and your mischief.

  20. Zombleton says:

    The other thing to note is that it’s quite obvious the art director of the game, Rob Nelson, has modelled pre-lardo Max on himself. Someone had to say it.

    The same thing happened with PoP: Warrior Within, and we know how that turned out.

  21. Mr. Mojo Risin says:

    I actually accepted the whole crazy change when Max Payne 3 was announced, because somehow I guess I was in a denial and shock.

    Now I realize that the devs can really go **** themselves, seriously why are they calling this MP3 [lulz] even. Selfish development with absolutely no regard to fans or anything.

  22. The Dark One says:

    Come on, John. Rob Nelson’s eyebrows are nowhere near as manly as Max’s in that picture.

  23. Miker says:

    Max Payne’s journey into the night will continue…

    in the guise of Bruce Willis.

    Please don’t mess this up, Rockstar. I love Max Payne 2 (Mona’s funhouse!) to death, and I will HURT YOU ALL if it turns out poorly.

  24. Dances to Podcasts says:

    All the dreary, dirty hotel rooms are getting to me. Behind the sounds of the couple next door I can hear a chorus of voices saying I shouldn’t be here. I don’t belong here. Maybe not. But I’ve burned my bridges like a pyromaniac gephyrophile. There’s too many corpses, too many bad memories back there. Sure, it’s another grubby, rundown place filled to the brim with drugs, hookers and guns. But the corner store sells my favourite booze, the pills are cheap and the women are fast. It’s party time.

    /best I can do right now

    • Pinkables says:

      “But I’ve burned my bridges like a pyromaniac gephyrophile.”

      This is either the best or the worst ever writing in a computer game.

  25. Gotem says:

    is Brazilsd a noir version of Brazil?

  26. Eight Rooks says:

    The first Max Payne had terrible writing no matter which way you look at it, and YOU ARE IN A COMPUTER GAME HO HO HO moments were never cool. At least, not done like that, they weren’t.

    The second had excellent writing both as a parody of the genre, as a parody of itself – no videogame has ever sent itself up as well and on so many levels – and as a heartbreaking, really, really moving little story about a guy who can’t forgive himself for not being perfect. (The only thing I find annoying about the existence of #3 is the canon ending to #2 was supposed to be the happy one.) After bashing Dragon Age 2 and clinging to the absolute rubbish that was Origins, and now this, I’m starting to find RPS’ idea of what makes decent writing rather upsetting, to be honest. Tisn’t a hissy fit… you’re far too good at games reporting in general for me to bother pretending I’ll take my page clicks elsewhere. But your taste in storytelling – ugh. Does not compute.

    • Kaira- says:

      “The first Max Payne had terrible writing no matter which way you look at it, and YOU ARE IN A COMPUTER GAME HO HO HO moments were never cool. At least, not done like that, they weren’t.”

      I think we have an acute case of “opinions = facts” here. This should help you with that.

  27. passingstranger says:

    I will probably buy this solely for Address Unknown.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      Nah. Lords and Ladies all the way!

    • Kaira- says:

      I’d kill for some more of Night Springs (from Alan Wake), but because MP3 is being developed by R*, I doubt that’s gonna happen.

    • Olivaw says:

      Address Unknown is the best use of fiction within fiction in video games.

      Bar none.

  28. Serenegoose says:

    My lord!
    My lady!
    Goood, good….
    My loooooooooord!
    Lords and Ladies FTW.

    If I say this was a reply fail and not my fault, will you believe me even though I completely forgot to press the reply key? I mean, that’s a sort of reply fail, isn’t it?

  29. nadeus says:

    They say one of the most awesome thrilling story’s in gaming is badly written :)
    that’s a lol allright

  30. pipman3000 says:

    this is all just a joke. you see when you look at the box, open the box, look at the cd, install the game, you’ll think it’s max payne 3 but when you finally boot it up guess what it’s lords and ladies: the game.

  31. HBogard says:

    “Cover system”.

    That’s it. Max Payne’s dead. There’s no such thing as a Max Payne 3 for me anymore.

    This’ll be another Gears of War clone without the enemy variety. No hope for a good storyline either because as far as I know, the RDR/GTA teams are not involved.

    Adieu, Max. Your journey will not continue into the night for me.

    • Zwebbie says:

      “Adieu, Max. Your journey will not continue into the night for me.”

      Judging by the screenshots, he’ll start a journey into the day!

      (Joking aside, agreed about the cover system. Max Payne was all about not being static.)

    • kyrieee says:

      We’re going to hate it and the new generation of console kids are going to love it, which will be even worse =( everyone will associate Max Payne with the new one after that.

    • vodka and cookies says:

      Uh Max Payne originals were on consoles so I guess all those “kids” too will hate it.

      Also having actually read the Edge preview your over reacting about the cover system, they are a staple of modern games and you don’t have to use it you can just stand behind a piece of scenery like you did in the original Max Payne games.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      vodka: I won’t comment on your grammar, but the substance of your argument is deeply flawed: “you don’t have to use it” argument presupposes an inclusive, systemic approach to game design—the approach that Deus Ex used, but very few games subsequently have attempted—wherein the game provides numerous systems that can be utilised separately to achieve game goals. That is not how this game has been designed—I say that with certainty because it is not how any Rockstar games have been designed. Instead, the game will be designed to utilise the cover system for many encounters. Max Payne 3 will be a series of carefully scripted encounters, where the enemy locations and cover locations are designed to be interdependent. If you don’t utilise the cover system, you will be at an enormous disadvantage in the combat encounters because of the design.

      I also expect that Deus Ex 3 will suffer from this, but the levels there at least should be designed with multilinear solutions, even if they don’t have systemic freedom.

      TL;DR: you could just as well say that “Half-Life 2 has a physics system, but you don’t have to use it.”

  32. Grey_Ghost says:

    I’m so tired of people knocking the dialogue of the comic book frames from the first Max Payne. I’ve always treated it as Max’s internal monologue, and the over-the-top noir tone of it being some kind of coping mechanism. As for the quality? Well after all he’s a Cop dammit, NOT a writer. I’ve always thought it was the only way he could reflect on his past since the slaughter of his wife & child was to do it in ridiculous overtones.

    His actual spoken dialogue in the game was pretty normal, with only his internal monologue & dream sequences reflecting just how broken he actually was.

    Anyone else agree with me?