Rockstar interview shines new light on the guns of Max Payne 3

GR: Will players be able to get by just using Max’s signature paired pistols throughout the game, or will the game mandate other kinds of weapons at certain points?

JB: Players will be able to play through the majority of the game using the weapons that they are most comfortable using. The only time the player is forced to use a particular weapon is when they are playing through a specific, scripted portion of the game which usually has Max handling a unique weapon suited to that particular sequence. Each level will often start Max off with a specific weapon loadout, but there is always a large selection of pistols, SMGs or two-handed weapons to pick up, so players can always stick to weapon types they’re most comfortable with.

GR: Are there any weapons that you think particularly alter the feel or rhythm of the gameplay?

JB: We try to tailor each weapon to look and feel totally unique, with each class of weapon having their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, pistols are extremely effective when trying to line up headshots, while SMGs, particularly when dual-wielding, are great for taking out large groups of enemies at close range. The assault rifles feature a powerful knockback that, even if they don’t outright eliminate the target, causes them to fall to the ground and recover before they can get back into the fight. The assault rifles are also incredibly effective at long range. Shotguns, on the other hand, are beastly at close range, but take some thoughtful placement to be effective. One shot can often take out a couple enemies if placed properly. Max can also get his hands on the multi-shot grenade launcher, a devastatingly powerful weapon that can take out groups of enemies with a single round. We balance out the power of the grenade launcher by making ammo extremely scarce.

GR: How important is resource management? Is ammo going to be scarce, or will this be more of a bullet orgy?

JB: If the player continues to pick up new weapons, there will always be an abundant supply of bullets on the easier difficulty levels. Higher difficulty levels limit the amount of ammo that can be carried, so carefully placed shots become a much bigger element to survival.

GR: Are some of the more exotic weapons from earlier games, like the Jackhammer or the striker, going to return in MP3? If not, do you have similarly destructive replacements planned?

JB: We definitely have some very explosive and destructive weapons. Max will get his hands on a few different types of grenade and rocket launchers. Obviously these are devastatingly powerful weapons, so we try to limit the ammunition.

GR: Do different weapons have differently modeled bullets? Similarly, can you talk a bit about the different kinds of effects that different weapons will have on the environment and enemies?

JB: Each bullet in the game is individually modeled from the time it leaves the gun to the time it hits its target. That means we had to take the extra step and model different types of bullets for pistols, SMGs, shotguns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles. During the final kill camera sequences, you’ll notice the spray of pellets from a shotgun, or the high-caliber bullet from a sniper rifle penetrating its target. To that end, the ammunition also affects the environment in unique ways. Bullets from a pistol will leave a single small hole in a wall, whereas a blast from shotgun will create gashes over a large area. Players will also notice materials such as wood and glass splintering and shattering in very realistic ways in reaction to the type of ammunition used.

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.