At a Glance: Max Payne 3
Posted by wastelander75 , 09 February 2012 · 556 views
Max Payne Rockstar bullet time old age Euphoria Max Payne 3 noir 3D 2012
Bringing (Back) the Payne
"There are no choices. Nothing but a straight line. The illusion comes afterwards, when you ask 'Why me?' and 'What if?'. When you look back and see the branches, like a pruned bonsai tree, or forked lightning. If you had done something differently, it wouldn't be you. It would be someone else looking back, asking a different set of questions." ~ Max Payne
Time is a predator.
The moment you're born, it's already caught you. It doesn't kill you right away, of course. That would be too merciful. Instead it lets you linger, it lets you suffer. It peels away just enough of you to feel regret, loss, despair. And when it finally decides to let you go, you're too old, too tired, and too broken to fight back.
Time taunts you with promises of the good life. And when you reach for it, you realize it's just beyond your grasp. It always will be. That's what makes death the punchline to the joke that it's been telling.
The only problem is, even though we all know it's coming, we all fall for it.
Time And Tide
The years have not been kind to poor ol' Max Payne. In fact, judging by the recent pictures of a bald, paunchy Max, it looks like he hasn't been too kind to himself either. Which seems an odd choice to go with since players and fans of the series have two games where that iconic trench-coat and double pistol wielding bullet time master has been the norm. But after nearly nine years since the end of Max Payne 2, Rockstar’s VP of product development, Jeronimo Barrera sees it as an appropriate vision of the character's future.
"The most dramatic visible difference is probably the one that fans have already commented about the most," he says "and that’s the changes to Max's appearance that takes place as you move through the game...but as players dive into the story they will have a deeper understanding of what’s going on for Max and why he looks the way he does." Mr. Barrera was also quick to point out that Max's physical changes aren't the only big difference to the series. Thanks to advancements over the last nine years in the video game industry, a lot of positive changes are coming along with Rockstar's new Max Payne 3. "There are thousands of other significant upgrades to the game" he says, "every aspect of Max has benefited from the huge leaps forward that have taken place in game development since the first two games, from the A.I. to the cover system to the use of the Euphoria [physics engine] to make him aware of his environment, or simply the way advanced particle effects make sure everything splinters, shatters and explodes as beautifully as possible."
In a recent interview with Variety Magazine, Dan Houser, the V.P. and co-founder of creative at Rockstar, commented on the changes to the series as a positive one, and hopes that taking the risk to profoundly unsettle expectations of the series will be a risk well worth taking. "I think the challenge of nostalgia is a profound one, because one thing about video games is your memory tends to remove the horrendous," Houser says. "(The games) become these great, perfect experiences. … It's definitely a challenge to get the right pitch when you want to appeal to the fans of the original and bring in a new audience....any change is a challenge. When they play it, hopefully, they will understand what you've changed, and what you haven't changed, and why you made those decisions, and come to see that they were not made out of anything apart from the love for the property and respect for the people who are playing."
The one thing that the team is taking extra care in maintaining is the overall sense of noir-style storytelling that made the first two games such a hit. "Our goal was to make sure that not only did the game maintain the same dark atmosphere as the original games," Barrera says, "but that both the gameplay and the cutscenes were as cinematic as we could possibly make them. At the same time, there will be no visible load times or level changes throughout the entire game—it will flow seamlessly and non-stop from chapter to chapter. With luck, these are the kind of changes that players feel instinctively as part of the overall presentation of the game."
Gunplay Never Gets Old
What would a Max Payne game be without those epic and tense-fueled gun battles that allowed players to experience the series trademark "bullet time" moments that became such an emulated experience in various third person shooters that tried (and often failed) to perfect in their own titles? You can expect that to make a return and more, promises Barrera. "We’ve included a great variety of firearms and explosives for Max to wield," he says. "Each player will have a slightly different play style, so it was important for us to include a good mix of weapons across multiple categories to provide options and choices. There’s always the hardcore fan who will want to play the entire game using nothing but pistols, but we make sure to add shotguns, assault rifles, submachine guns, and various explosive devices to satisfy the needs of varying styles and situations."
Keeping a keen eye to the realistic, don't expect the game to throw you a curve ball just to appease fans that might want something a bit more....fantastic. That's not going to happen, ever if Barrera has his way, in a Max Payne game. "For Max Payne 3, we wanted Max to feel like a real person in a real place. To that end, players should feel like they’re right there alongside Max every step of the way," he says. "We didn’t want to break that illusion by introducing weapons so outlandish that they would break the immersion. The short answer is no, we don’t have any over-the-top, sci-fi-inspired weapons. In addition, players will see each weapon represented physically on Max’s person, regardless of whether they’re playing the level in real time or watching a cutscene. This adds to the level of realism, and we've created cool custom animations for each scenario, such as smoothly reloading an SMG while Max carries a rifle in his off-hand by hitching the rifle up under his arm for balance."
The one aspect that the game will not be utilizing, however, is the notion that it needs to include 3D elements, something that V.P. Houser is not a particular fan of. "[It's] no passion of mine," he admits. "I don't think anyone has solved the riddle of how you make 3D an integral part of the gaming experience: 3D in terms of depth of graphics of course, but not 3D in coming out on the screen and stereoscopic. Is it really able to impact gameplay in a meaningful way? That is something that we haven't solved. You know, I don't think any of us have come close to solving it yet, and I don't think they've solving it in cinema. But that's a more complicated debate."
Instead, he hopes that the story in Max Payne 3 will be the game's strongest selling point, something that will make it impactful in a meaningful and almost artistic way. "If games are to be the next major form of creative consumption, art, cultural expression or whatever the correct term is, then strong narrative has to be part of that," he says. "If the mechanics are fine and the story is ridiculous, the experience is much diminished."
Max Payne is on target for a May 2012 release.
Also, feel free to visit http://www.variety.c...le/VR1118045632 For the full Variety interview with Rockstar's Dan Houser.
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