E3 2010 games to watch: Max Payne 3 preview

It’s that time of year again. E3 is coming and the hype train is beginning to hiss. In preparation for this year’s maelstrom of new video game delights, which starts on June the 15th, we’re running a twice-weekly series of features highlighting the big hitters you’ll want to keep an eye on at the show.

Some you’ll know, some you won’t, but all will require your complete and undivided attention. So tune in to GamesRadar every Wednesday and Saturday, and have that attention primed and ready.

Today, we’re looking at the return of Rockstar's down-on-his luck hero Max Payne in Max Payne 3.

Why Max Payne 3 is one to watch

  • This is the first Max Payne game developed in its entirety by Rockstar. This makes me excited. Previous dev Remedy did a stunning job with the first two games, but Rockstar is known for making games that are shitting amazing and consistent GOTY favourites. The company's Vancouver studio is in charge of duties. Its last game was PS2 classic, Bully. So, yes, Max Payne 3 is in good hands.
  • It's been confirmed that Max Payne 3 is going to have *some* kind of online multiplayer. No one outside of Rockstar knows exactly what though. If I had to make a wild guess - and I might as well - I'd say it'll be co-op and Mona Sax will make a return. But that guess is so wild it should be locked up and fed pieces of raw antelope meat. 
  • Sure, he had the face of a man suffering the burden of a perpetually itchy nipsy, but Max Payne is one of gaming's most memorable protagonists for more than just his excruciating expression. Already established as the antithesis of a ray of sunshine, 13 years has passed for Max since the events of Max Payne 2 and we'll be reintroduced to him at his absolute lowest. With the help of booze, painkillers and bad-tasting memories, Max is crawling through the ass crack of life. It should be a blast to see how such a mountain of gloomy pessimism and misery is embodied in the new beardier, balder Max Payne.

  • While Max's mood may be darker than a box of shadows in a windowless cupboard, the backdrop to Max Payne 3 will be contrastingly sunny. Leaving behind New York, Max has started a new 'life' in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he provides security for a wealthy family. Think an abundance of favelas, poverty, gangs, crime, corruption, guns and murder. I'd shit my pants visiting it in real-life. But in a game? It sounds like home.
  • Like the previous games, Max Payne 3 will be absolutely laser-focused on silky gun play. And that means a return of Max Payne's pioneering Bullet Time. It's a feature that's seen more action than a whore's doormat, but Rockstar is promising that it'll be brought bang-up-to-date in a fashion that is spectacular and sexy. I'm picturing the kind of excellent post-shooting body contortionating witnessed in GTA IV. But slow.

Everything about Max Payne 3 looks different. The Brazilian shanty town setting is a million miles away from New York and Max himself looks a little more like generic shooter man than he used to, but hopefully his wit and personality will elevate him above the crowd. And his ability to shoot people more elegantly than anyone else.

May 26, 2010


E3 E3 2010

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  • RedOutlive10 - June 5, 2010 4:24 p.m.

    Sounds promising, but honestly I doubt Rockstar can make it as good as the first was. Just looking at the bulky new model for Payne says it all. The game was more about personalities than looks to appeal the masses.
  • R_U_Guys_From_British - May 28, 2010 11:46 a.m.

    All these changes are welcome, another Max Payne set in New York with the same leather coat Max would've been a little stale.
  • Vagrant - May 27, 2010 1:04 p.m.

    The change didn't bother me so much, but after I played Alan Wake with all it's Max Payney-ness and direct references to Remedy's old games... I don't have high hopes for Rockstar's Max Payne 3.
  • johnprezioso - May 27, 2010 7:17 a.m.

    I love Max Payne but hate the new look he has. Hopefully the gameplay will be the same, as well as the wonderful over-the-top noir-ish story and dialog.
  • TheKennedyCurse - May 27, 2010 3:13 a.m.

    If you take the noir atmosphere out of it, it's not Max Payne. I'll rent this first, and make sure they haven't destroyed one of my favourite series, THEN I'll buy it.
  • CH3BURASHKA - May 27, 2010 12:05 a.m.

    PS: Comic panels will be an instant win if they decide to use them. And seriously, how could you not? The comic story device is as much "Max Payne" as is bullet time or constipated-face!
  • CH3BURASHKA - May 27, 2010 12:02 a.m.

    Max Payne is by far my favorite character and franchise, and I'm very aprehensive and anxious to see what Rockstar are doing to him. The fact that Remedy just up and sold him off says much of their faith in the continuation of the story, but I do hope that Rockstar does him proud. People so far have given the setting and the new look a lot of shit, but after reading the single Game Informer issue, it makes a lot of sense as to where he is and why. Another thing that scares me is the "consolification". The first two games were a bother to play on the consoles because they were made ground-up for the precision of the mouse and keyboard. Though I do not doubt the quality of the game if it's "streamlined", I do worry whether or not it will be as challenging to play or as satisfying to use bullet-time. Fingers crossed that they don't fuck it up...
  • Imgema - May 26, 2010 10:46 p.m.

    Wow, nice. They took Sam Fisher's 3d model and named him Max Payne. Good job ruining the character just because bald video game heroes is the current trend.
  • bluscorp - May 26, 2010 5:50 p.m.

    I think he looks like Double Agents Sam Fisher.
  • sixboxes - May 26, 2010 5:27 p.m.

    Seems to be a ballsy, but logical, evolution for Max Payne. The character was originally created as a vessel for a wicked action game with film noir trappings. What I'm seeing so far is that R* feels that Payne the character is strong enough to step out of his little noir box. So far it looks like there's enough grit to this game to buff a sidewalk down to a mirror finish. So far he makes me think of Sam Fisher circa Conviction mated with Kane and Lynch, with that loose cannon attitude sprinkled with a bit of lawlessness and maybe sociopathy. And yeah, Sao Paolo would make any of us shit our pants. It makes the scariest parts of NYC look like Candyland. Sounds to me to be the perfect locale for a darker, meaner, drunker Max Payne. The Payne series has always had awesome storytelling, and gunfights that were pure money. Deliver on those, and find a way to revive the tired bullet time mechanic (that the series pioneered) and you're damn right it's a game to watch.
  • bluscorp - May 26, 2010 4:25 p.m.

    Can't f**king wait for Max Payne.
  • JD_Method - May 26, 2010 3:30 p.m.

    @ TheVoid The voice actor HAS changed. I don't know why, as James McCaffrey (think that's his name) was excellent as Max Payne. It was in the GameInformer preview I think they said he wasn't coming back. Really disappointing.
  • TheVoid - May 26, 2010 3:22 p.m.

    Take it easy. Thirteen years ago I had long hair and was clean shaven. Now I'm balder than Night Court's Bull and always sporting some sort of facial hair because that's all I've got, so some of us might actually identify with this. I think I would be more disappointed if I learned that the voice had changed. I'm just happy to see Max making a comeback. The first game was incredible, but I never quite thought the second was all that. Even the much-hyped physics in the sequel were somewhat of a let down. Put to better use, they could have made the game awesome. But nowadays physics are all over the place, and if Rockstar has any respect for the Max Payne legacy (as I am sure they do), they will take it and the gunplay and the bullet time to lofty enough heights to shame the living crap out of every Max Payne wannabe out there. And there are many. My trust is firmly in place. Color me excited.
  • Beheaded - May 26, 2010 3:05 p.m.

    The original games are 2 of my favourite games of all time and i'm really gutted that Remedy are not doing Max Payne 3. I know that R* have consistently delivered amazing games but i just can't see it having the same feel as previous Max Payne games. The more info i hear about the game, the more i truly dread it coming out.
  • Baron164 - May 26, 2010 3:01 p.m.

    I'm a huge fan of the original Max Payne games. But from what I've seen so far of this game it doesn't look like a Max Payne game. It looks like a different game that they just slapped the Max Payne name on. Of course I haven't play it yet and I will withhold judgment until then. But my main concern is that we're going to end up with another Far Cry 2 scenario with a sequel having nothing to do with the original game. And in the process taking the dark and dirty gritting settings of the original and replacing them with sunny locals and loosing what really made Max Payne a unique experience. I also really like the stylized comic cut-scenes that they did for the first game. I'd like to see that return.
  • db1331 - May 26, 2010 2:48 p.m.

    Wow, they couldn't have ruined his character model more. At least angsty teens all over the world will be happy with it.