Rockstar Games has announced that they are to release a third game in the Max Payne series later this winter. The so-far-subtitle-free Max Payne 3 is to take place several years after the events of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, in a city other than New York. Max looks to be much older, bearded, but remains angry and violent.
This third game has been anticipated for a long time. Back in 2002, fans noticed that publisher Take-Two had registered the domain www.maxpayne3.com—well before the release of Max Payne 2. Though there have been a few hints in the years intervening, it wasn’t known whether the project was being developed and, if so, by whom.
Finnish developers Remedy, creators of the first two Max Payne titles, are not working on Max Payne 3; it is being developed by Rockstar Vancouver, best known for the controversial game Bully. Though other Rockstar teams have been responsible for porting previous Max Payne games to consoles, Max Payne 3 will be the first entirely developed by a Rockstar team.
The first Max Payne was released in 2001. It stood out for presenting its story in stylish, comic-book–style cutscenes, as well as having player-controlled bullet time effects. The sequel, released in 2003, built on the strengths of the first by improving the plot and polishing the presentation and acting.
Both games were critical successes, winning many Editors’ Choice awards. Despite strong acclaim, sales of Max Payne 2 were considered disappointing. Unlike the games on which it was based, the 2008 film adaptation of Max Payne was disparaged by critics, but sold very well, grossing over $85 million worldwide.
The first Max Payne games are available on Steam at 10 USD each, 15 USD bundled (roughly $13 and $18 Canadian). Max Payne 3 is likely to be released in time for the holidays, 2009.