When last we saw Max Payne, well, we honestly weren't sure we'd ever see him again. The man who pioneered the perma-scowl's been out of action for quite some time, after all, and publisher 2K seemed content to pretend it'd simply put the chronically depressed detective out of his misery. Thankfully, we've finally got solid proof that Max is back. As for whether or not he's better than ever, well, see for yourself.
A preview in the latest issue of Edge Magazine finally freed the cat from its 25-to-life bag sentence and put an emphasis on strict linearity, big setpieces, a story that makes frequent jumps in time, and robust implementation of the Euphoria physics engine, and online multiplayer. Also, series creator Remedy has left Max Payne high-and-dry for the equally punny Alan Wake, so Rockstar Vancouver's taking over as the lead developer, with London, Toronto, and New England contributing as well.
Granted, on paper, this could be a recipe for disaster or another slow-diving, quick-shooting classic. At the very least, however, art director Rob Nelson's promising that the game won't pull any punches in terms of sophistication.
"Both the games and the audiences have become more sophisticated," he told Edge (via The Escapist). "Gamers expect a more fully-realized cinematic experience, even if the main mechanic is still shooting. And though this is a more linear game for us, people want to be constantly surprised and entertained in new ways."
"So you need a lot of custom setups, the environments need to be varied, and all of that while keeping the gameplay fun and responsive - people have become really specific about how they want things to be controlled," he added. "It's a lot more work!"
So then, it sounds like this won't quite be the same Max Payne you came to know and love back when this industry (and possibly you) wore diapers, but different doesn't necessarily mean worse – especially with Rockstar's storytelling prowess behind it. And besides, it could be worse. And by that, we of course mean Mark Wahlberg.