After several bouts of extreme media blackout, Max Payne 3 is finally emerging from the shadows, and Rockstar Games is even ready to reveal a release date. Oh, and Max is defying his bullet-time roots this time by adding something previously unthinkable: multiplayer.
It’s been a long time since we last saw Max Payne. The first two games were the creation of Finish developer Remedy Entertainment, who handed over the keys to the franchise to Rockstar Games for future installments after 2003′s Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne. Now we fast forward 9 years to March 2012, when Max’s third story will finally be told.
Max Payne 3 (which apparently has no subtitle), finds Max having left behind the NYPD to take a job as a private security consultant in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There, he’s hired to protect a wealthy industrialist and his family, but then there’s the inevitable double-cross by local gangs, which sends this older, more cynical and world-weary Max on a quest for the truth. And this is Max Payne, so he is of course still haunted by the losses of his past.
Rockstar intends this to be the beginning of a new series of adventures for Max, which I imagine is probably the reason for the drastic change in locale. The sunny, tropical look of the new game is an odd choice for a series that’s always been so strongly identified with nighttime noir. I’m still not sold on the bald-and-grimy John McClain look that the character’s been given for this new entry either, though I am heartened by the fact that actor James McCaffrey, who gave Max his voice in the first two games, has returned for the third installment, lending not only his voice but a motion capture performance as well. Bullet time remains a staple of the action, along with cinematic gun fights, realistic weapons, and an intelligent cover system.
Along with the release date, Rockstar revealed today that the third game will introduce multiplayer to the saga, with a brand new take on PvP gameplay. Details are scarce, but the developer describes multiplayer as “a compelling experience that dynamically alters maps and mode progression for all players in a match.” I have no idea what that means, but it sounds impressive. You’ll also have leveling and rewards, clans, and strategic load-outs.
Rockstar is expected to release Max Payne 3 next March for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Take a gander at the cover art and a pair of new screenshots that were released today.