The story of Max Payne is a grim one indeed. No, no, not the actual character (although we're sure any man whose face is stuck in that kind of perma-grimace can't be all sunshine and butterflies) -- instead, we're talking about the ever-growing yarn trailing behind Max Payne 3's development cycle. Originally scheduled to launch late in 2009, the game's since endured delay after delay, and all the while gamers have scarcely seen hide nor hair of its development progress.
Most damning of all, however, is the fact that Take-Two's most recent release schedule – which even listed games scheduled for calendar year 2012 – didn't contain Max Payne 3 in any form. Developer Rockstar Games, however, quickly claimed that rumors of Max Payne's death have been greatly exaggerated.
"We're still working hard on Max, and we'll have more news in the coming months," a company rep told Kotaku.
Last time we saw Max Payne 3, it was set to discard the franchise's old noir trappings in favor of a thick coat of grit. Picking up 12 years after Max Payne 2 left off, the game touted a “more world-weary and cynical” version of Max working private security for a wealthy family in Brazil. More often than not, however, publicity blackouts like the one Max Payne 3's been under since shortly after it was announced are signs of a major overhaul, so who knows what kind of story it's aiming to tell at this point?
Here's hoping Rockstar sees fit to tell us sooner rather than later. We're all for gratuitous slow-mo, but this is getting a little ridiculous.
After suffering one delay earlier this year, Max Payne 3 has once again swerved into a ditch on the road to completion. Whereas before, the game was set to launch during the first half of 2010, now Take-Two’s decided to take its sweet time with the game, pushing it into the period between August 1 and October 31, 2010.
Why? No idea. Take-Two casually announced the slip during an investor’s call, then quickly buried it under other unrelated info. Our guess? Maybe Max needs more time to clean his wife-beater. No, seriously. Have you seen that thing? It ain’t pretty. And when you’ve got a guy who’s both a blogger and a college student criticizing your cleanliness, it’s probably time to rethink your hygienic practices.
Just in case our incredibly astute guess is off-base, though, we'll shoot an email over to Take-Two.
“The decision to shift a release date is never an easy one, especially with a product as highly anticipated as BioShock 2. We felt that it was essential to invest the additional time to ensure that this title will deliver what its fans expect and deserve,” said Take-Two CEO Ben Feder.
“As a result, we will now be launching sequels to several of our strongest franchises - including BioShock 2, Mafia II, Max Payne 3 and Red Dead Redemption - during the next fiscal year.”
As a result of that result, Take-Two’s 2009 is looking pretty sparse. We’re all for heart-pounding finishes, but Take-Two’s all-or-nothing 2010 plan is just wild. This is like when action heroes fall from great distances, only to fire off their grappling hooks at the last feasible second; sure, you know the hero’s not going to make any sort of craterous impact, but damn, Take-Two, 2010 had better be the best year ever. After all, Spider Man can’t swing by and catch everyone.
And if 2010 doesn't go your way, we imagine a number of your investors will be plumeting from buildings hoping not for someone to catch them, but for death's sweet, concrete flavored embrace.