A Look Back At The Turbulent History Of Max Payne 3

A Look Back At The Turbulent History Of Max Payne 3

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As much as people love the Max Payne series, it’s sometimes forgotten how turbulent and difficult Max Payne 3‘s development truly was.

Rockstar had bought the Max Payne rights from Remedy (Quantum Break, Alan Wake) in 2002, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the publisher would formally announce the game. It was planned for release just around Christmas of that year, but Max Payne 3 wouldn’t hit store shelves until May 2012 (for PC gamers in Australia, early June).

Raycevick’s latest video, following earlier retrospectives on Max Payne and Max Payne 2, covers the history, gameplay and story of Rockstar’s contribution to the franchise. It goes over some of the controversies that struck the game: the initial concern following its major reveal, rumours that the game had been rewritten three times by 2010 and enforced 14 to 16 hour work days.

If you just want a recap of the game’s development and pre-production, you’ll only need to watch the first 11 minutes below. Everything else touches on the mechanics, story and design. Max Payne 3 is still worth playing today, although it’s best to revisit the original Max Payne first.

For more lengthy retrospectives on classic games, dive through Raycevick’s YouTube library here.


  • Every time I come to Kotaku there’s always an article relating to my current thoughts as if you guys / gals are inside my mind! I’ve actually just started replaying Max Payne 3 on PS3 as I’m a huge fan of the series and I’m sure this will fall on deaf ears but I found this article fascinating Alex and keep up the good work Kotaku!

  • I love Max Payne 3. I very recently played through it a second time after it was included in the Rockstar Humble Bundle and it’s still great. Not sure why but somehow when the game was first released I managed to avoid reading any press on the game, so I was unaware until recently that some people didn’t like it or that the game had a tumultuous development.

    I like the setting, the fat-bald Max and the alcoholism better than the first two games, and I was never really a fan of the comic-book slides (I actually didn’t notice they were missing) so no loss there. It’s also remarkably playable on a controller, which is a huge change from the first games (I used a Xbox controller for both play throughs).

    Max does get a bit whiney at times, but I guess the first two games had similar themes (I can’t remember that far back).

    Not sure if a fourth game ever needs to be made. If they go again it needs to be a spin-off or a reboot.

    • 3 is easily my favourite in the series. The gunplay was better, the story was more mature, and after Max finally stopped whining in the first third and started trying to get his fucking head together (shaking off the drug-haze to remember that he was a detective, and actually start thinking), the story improved markedly. It got pretty self-aware, too. Coupled with a crazy-effective soundtrack, the major betrayals and set-ups had more emotional clout to them, too. Trips down memory lane to fill in the gaps was a pretty great tool to give us some gaming biome variety without taking the story on contrived detours. And the setting made the ridiculous body-count somewhat more believable.

  • I found this game incredibly disappointing, not because it was a bad game but because it wasn’t a max payne game.
    It had none of the awesome atmosphere and grittiness the other two had and was just a typical rockstar shooter.

      • I can only assume they didn’t play the game past the first level and misinterpreted ‘dark and gritty atmosphere’ as requiring it to be literally dark, meaning anything set in the daytime is ‘not a Max Payne’ game.

        Seriously. Human trafficking for organ harvesting, selling out family, setting up a patsy against a backdrop where EVERYONE is corrupt – government, police, gangsters – isn’t gritty? It’s metaphorically darker than the series ever got.

        The thing was oozing with atmosphere, with the visual filters and stylized subtitle slams emulating Max’s deep drug funk, and you only have to YouTube the theme music to each game to hear how it evolved and mature.

        The complaint fucking mystifies me.

    • Yeah… I still occasionally remember this thing and get angry /disappointed.

      I think that if it didn’t have the MP branding I’d be a lot more ok with it. Much like the movie, though, the very existence of MP3 probably means that we’ll never get a more authentic sequel, and that makes me sad.

  • While I enjoyed this game, I agree with many other people in saying that it doesn’t feel like a Max Payne game.
    It certainly felt like an organic evolution of the character, but for me, nothing beats Max Payne 2 – that is gaming perfection.

    If they ever revisited the series, I’d hope for Max to go back to his roots, a dark and stormy night, for one last shot at redemption….to which he inevitably falls agonisingly short. Maybe use the secret ending in MP2 as Max’s drive as he desperately tries to track down Mona.

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