In less than two months, Max Payne will finally end his
eight-year hiatus, making a multiplatform comeback that promises to update his
groundbreaking, shootdodging action while still retaining the things that made the
Max Payne series special. So far, we’ve seen the “new” Max fight through the
streets of Sao Paolo with slickly realistic animation and his characteristic,
Hong Kong-action-movie-inspired flair, but more than anything else we’ve seen a
lot of awesome-looking, slow-motion gun-porn. This is a game that repeatedly
reminds us, through meticulous attention to detail and dramatic bullet-time
close-ups, just how important firearms are to its gameplay and overall
character. So to get a more detailed idea of just what those firearms will
offer, we caught up with Rockstar’s VP of product development, Jeronimo Barrera,
for a quick chat about what to expect.
GamesRadar: In designing the weapons, how close to
reality are you trying to make them, and what kind of research goes into
Jeronimo Barrera: We work hard on
nailing the tiniest details across all our titles. For the weapons, that means
we spent a lot of time getting the mechanics and feel of each gun just right.
We looked at a lot of Brazilian-manufactured guns for inspiration, but in
general we tried to create weapons that felt right for the new setting and
circumstances that Max finds himself in. There’s also a certain element of
balancing we have to account for, so we take some liberties in order to avoid a
“one gun rules all” mentality. In addition to balancing weapons against each
other, we also have to balance them against the enemy AI. Each encounter needs
to be properly tuned. We don’t want to give Max the best available weapons
right from the get-go!
GR: About how many different kinds of weapons can we expect to see Max wield
this time around?
JB: We’ve included a great variety
of firearms and explosives for Max to wield. Each player will have a slightly
different play style, so it was important for us to include a good mix of
weapons across multiple categories to provide options and choices. There’s
always the hardcore fan who will want to play the entire game using nothing but
pistols, but we make sure to add shotguns, assault rifles, submachine guns, and
various explosive devices to satisfy the needs of varying styles and
GR: What about the weapons in Max Payne 3 makes them particularly special?
What about them made you want to include them?
JB: We looked at a lot of
Brazilian-manufactured guns as inspiration for the game. We noticed certain
weapons showing up in photos time and again during our research of the city and
its various factions. Both the drug trade and police force in Brazil have
specific preferences for shotguns and assault rifles to a point where those
weapons have become wholly associated with their respective factions. This
information helped us make some small tweaks to Max’s classic arsenal, and
players will notice some subtle differences in the weapons Max has access to
from the original games. With that in mind, we made sure to include some
classic Max favorites from the original games, such as the sawed-off shotgun
and fully automatic SMGs.
GR: Are there any weapons not based in reality? Will there be any secret
weapons hidden in the game?
JB: For Max Payne 3, we wanted Max
to feel like a real person in a real place. To that end, players should feel
like they’re right there alongside Max every step of the way. We didn’t
want to break that illusion by introducing weapons so outlandish that they
would break the immersion. The short answer is no, we don’t have any
over-the-top, sci-fi-inspired weapons.
GR: Do you see the guns as being an influence on, or an integral part of,
Max’s personality and character?
JB: Well, Max is a very
interesting character, and unlike most protagonists, has dealt with a lot of
tragedy and failure in his life. That’s part of the reason fans fell in love
with him in the first place. He’s complex, disturbed, and has a hard-boiled
cynicism to him. Many fans have the classic Max Payne image ingrained in their
minds of him in a black trenchcoat, two pistols blazing. The twin-pistol look
is very iconic, but I wouldn’t say it influences or defines Max as a character.
He is a man who communicates to the world through his weaponry, so his guns are
definitely an integral part of the relationship between the player and the
GR: How many guns will Max be able to carry at a time?
JB: Max can carry
three weapons at a time. He can carry and dual-wield any combination of two
single-handed weapons such as pistols and SMGs, and also carry a larger
two-handed weapon in his off-hand such as an assault rifle or a shotgun. This
helps us keep the Hong Kong action-movie atmosphere, as Max stylishly discards
empty weapons and picks up new ones without breaking his flow of movement
through the environment.
In addition, players will see each weapon represented
physically on Max’s person, regardless of whether they’re playing the level in
real time or watching a cutscene. This adds to the level of realism, and we've
created cool custom animations for each scenario, such as smoothly reloading an
SMG while Max carries a rifle in his off-hand by hitching the rifle up under
his arm for balance.