Bullet Time in Brazil: Rockstar on Max Payne 3
Max Payne is a series predicated on aesthetic. It may have popularized bullet-time and third-person shooting, but its real strength is its use of film-noir tropes – its deeply flawed protagonist, revenge plot, perennially stormy nights, comic-book panel exposition and bitter narration were so good ready-built for a Hollywood adaptation, but even $35 million couldn’t get the game’s story right on celluloid. Now Rockstar have taken over the series from Remedy Entertainment, and despite their fondness of genre film, are stripping away those familiar conventions, throwing Max into the underworld of Brazil.
“This is a new chapter in Max’s life, told several years later,” said art director Rob Nelson in an interview with IGN. “And we want the story to move on significantly from the previous games while continuing the original storyline in a natural and logical way.”
“It’s been a few years, but Max still carries the same emotional baggage from the events of the earlier games – a mixture of anger, regret and guilt – that he’s been keeping at bay with alcohol and painkillers.”
The comic panel cutscenes will make a return, but this time in a more dynamic, animated form.
“Instead of a static panel or page, we’re creating an almost motion-comic feel that blends in-game footage, text and Max’s iconic monologue, which are over laid on the game to produce something that is pretty amazing and really helps give the game a digital noir feel.”
Bullet time isn’t going anywhere either; using Rockstar’s in-house RAGE engine, the Vancouver studio has refined the mechanic to a fine art.
“Bullets are individually modeled, and hits register dynamically and individually on every enemy. Every gun is modeled as accurately as possible, with the hammer and slide cocking back after each shot.
“Our goal is to set a new benchmark for sophistication and feel in a 3rd-person shooter – we’ve really tried to make the experience as intense and focused as possible.”
Max Payne 3 is due for a tri-platform release in March 2012.