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Max Payne Is Back and He Needs A Shave

Today Rockstar Games officially announced the somewhat announced/quasi rumored Max Payne 3 which is set for a winter release on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. While the game was announced in 2004 via a Take-Two executive not much has been known since then other than that Remedy, the original developer for the first two Max Payne installments, would not be handling development duties since they’re busy with the long in development 360 exclusive Alan Wake. Instead development duties will be handled by Rockstar Vancouver.

Based on the info from the press release it seems like Max has been under even harder times than before.

”Rockstar Press Release” wrote:
Since leaving the NYPD and New York itself behind, Max has drifted from bad to worse. Double-crossed and a long way from home, Max is now trapped in a city full of violence and bloodshed, using his weapons and instincts in a desperate search for the truth and a way out.

 

Other than that we know nothing besides who’s developing it, what platforms it’s being released on and when it’ll be released.  So while we know so little let’s try to analyze and predict things a bit.

  

As you can see Max is no longer his once coiffed self. Instead he looks more beaten than he usually does, has aged a bit significantly and seems to be rocking a buzz cut now.  Other than the change of developers Max’s new hairstyle seems to be the biggest talk of discussion amongst fans, many of whom are worried that Max will fall into the bald hero stereotype which seems to be a constant this gen.  Fans are also a bit worried that Max’s new look is a bit too similar to what Sam Fisher looks like in the upcoming Splinter Cell or the hobo-chic look of Condemned’s protagonist Ethan Thomas.  Maybe everyone will calm down a bit when we hear a voice to Max and see a full body render instead of a grimy and bloody face pic.

Besides physical appearances many are interested in how Rockstar will present the game. Besides the exciting gameplay in the first two games Max Payne was known for its extremely gritty noir story which was told through comic book panels that featured live actors.  We all know that Rockstar can tell a deep and enthralling crime story but will they stick with the comic book style presentation or ditch it in favor of cutscenes similar to GTAIV?  The potential change in story presentation could alienate a ton of fans since the original story technique was quite effective and was a change of pace from the standard cutscenes that we’re used to.

And perhaps the biggest question of all is what will the gameplay be like?  We all know Rockstar won’t screw up the core formula and make Max Payne 3 a vehicle based action game, but will the game take place in a sandbox format and if it does what type of scale will it be? All of Rockstar’s games for the past few years have been sandbox games of varying degrees. Obviously you have the GTA series which allowed massive exploration but you also had Bully which had things on a smaller yet non-claustrophobic scale.  There was also The Warriors that in a way still offered a sandbox experience albeit a linear one. So will we see Rockstars trademarked sandbox experience or will things be scaled back a bit to provide more action set pieces and a more intense experience?  And other than the potential change in level design will the signature Max Payne bullet-time be making a return or is it too cliché to included at this point?  We know that Rockstar necessarily doesn’t like to copy popular gaming trends in their titles so we could potentially see bullet-time get cut but hopefully there'll be a more epic and innovative way for Max to take out the countless thugs in his journey to find a barber.

If you’re eagerly awaiting some answers to the questions I brought up then don’t hold your breath. By now we all know that Rockstar is extremely tightlipped when it comes to announcing details on their projects.  Will Max Payne 3 be at E3 this year? Possibly but if we get a trailer I think we’ll be lucky. I personally think we’ll get our first dose of Max Payne 3 info via a Game Informer cover story. GI had the world exclusives on GTA: San Andreas, Bully and The Warriors so here’s hoping the tradition continues with Max Payne 3.