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Max Payne 3 Details Emerge, Sounds Like They Have Potential

After opting to stay coy for nearly two years, Rockstar Games surprised us all last week by unveiling three new images from Max Payne 3. No, Rockstar wasn’t fooling us with an almost twisted April’s Fools’ Day prank as the images were legit and were a tease of an impending reveal.  Of course we didn’t have a clue as to when Rockstar was planning to fill us in on the long in development Max Payne 3, but thankfully Edge managed to get the details on the long awaited return of everyone’s favorite tortured police officer.

There’s been a lot of discussion amongst gamers and the hardcore Max Payne fans about the makeover Rockstar has given Max.  Seeing Max go from a slightly grizzled look complete with a nice coif hairstyle to an appearance that isn’t far off from a bum was a bit much for some people to process and accept. But despite Max’s appearance, the portrayal of our tortured noir cop will be the same for a few key reasons, the biggest  of which is who will be playing him. Confirmed via Edge is the return of original Max Payne actor James McCafferty, who was responsible for embodying the extremely tortured soul that is Max Payne. Original series writer Sam Lake may not be returning to scribe the game (exactly which of the Rockstar writers penning MP3 is unknown at this point) but at least we can expect the same level of acting from Max and don’t have to worry about him being replaced.

But the familiarity gamers will have with Max won’t just be limited to how he sounds or how he’s portrayed as we will indeed see Max prior to becoming a shaved head hobo looking chap.  The pics that Rockstar released last week alluded to such a thing, but it seems like a good chunk of Max Payne 3 will be played with Max looking somewhat familiar and not completely unrecognizable. Instead of telling a linear narrative (like Rockstar appeared to be doing when the game was first unveiled), Max Payne 3 will instead will jump through various points in time during Max’s life.  While we’ve seen screens showing Max shooting up thugs in South America while sporting his bald look, Max Payne 3 will show Max when he first arrived in the beautiful but dangerous land of San Paulo – which of course means that Max will be sporting his hair albeit also having the early makings of a hobo beard.  The game will of course jump forward in time (to the present) in which Max is bald and his life is completely in the gutter. But the interesting thing is that part of Max Payne 3 could be set prior to Max’s journey down south as the game could have a few New York flashback stages thrown in, which to some fans would immediately make the game worth checking out again.  The exact breakdown of how many missions would be told in the past and how many would be in the present wasn’t detailed, but I’m sure it’ll be around an even amount.

The core identity of the Max Payne franchise will be maintained through two very important aspects: the inclusion of bullet-time gameplay and having a graphic novel style presentation.  Rockstar sadly didn’t give many details as to what sort of things will be included in the new version of bullet-time, but it was revealed that bullet-time is charged by killing enemies, which as a whole does sound a bit standard to be honest. On the topic of what sort of cutscenes we can expect from MP3 it was revealed that the game would keep the comic book panel style presentation found in the previous Max Payne games. But instead of utilizing images of actors enhanced with art, the cutscenes of MP3 will be powered by the in-game engine of the game and will feature animated elements. I’m not completely sold on that element just yet as it’s something that could be cool to see in motion or will look completely stupid.

After being absent for two long years it’s nice to see that Rockstar Games haven’t downsized their vision or plans for Max Payne 3. The game may still not be what hardcore fans of the series want to see, but with elements like bullet-time and the return of James McCafferty, the game ought to hit the right notes in respect to what makes the Max Payne franchise so enjoyable.  And with things like cover and shoot mechanics in conjunction to bullet-time dodging and Max being able to wield three single hand weapons at once, Max Payne 3 could be an epic action experience that may very well be worth the long ass wait Rockstar Games is putting us through.