Max Payne 3

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Max Payne 3
Max Payne 3 Cover.jpg
Developer(s) Rockstar Vancouver
Publisher(s) Rockstar Games
Distributor(s) Take-Two Interactive
Director(s) Sergei Kuprejanov
Designer(s) Jason Bone
Programmer(s) Mike Slett
Mike Waltman
Artist(s) Kathrin Roessler
Writer(s) Dan Houser
Rupert Humphries
Michael Unsworth
Composer(s) Health
Series Max Payne
Engine RAGE[2] with Euphoria[3]
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, OS X
Release date(s) PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
NA 20120515May 15, 2012

EU 20120518May 18, 2012
AU 20120518May 18, 2012
BRA 20120531May 31, 2012
JP September 6, 2012[4]
Microsoft Windows
NA May 31, 2012 (Steam)
NA 20120601June 1, 2012
EU 20120601June 1, 2012

AU 20120605June 5, 2012
  • WW June 20, 2013[5]
Genre(s) Third-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Distribution Digital distribution, optical disc

Max Payne 3 is a third-person shooter video game developed by Rockstar Vancouver and published by Rockstar Games. It was first released on 15 May 2012 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles, followed by a release on 31 May 2012 on Microsoft Windows and on 20 June 2013 on OS X. It is the third title in the Max Payne series, and the first main entry since Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne in 2003, which was developed by Remedy Entertainment.

In Max Payne 3, the player controls Max Payne, a former NYPD detective who had became a vigilante after his wife and daughter were brutally murdered. Nine years after the events of the second game, Max meets Raul Passos, who gets him the job as a private security contractor in Brazil. He quickly finds himself constantly encountering difficult situations, which leads him on a search for the culprits of deaths and betrayals. An online multiplayer mode is included with the game, allowing up to 16 players to engage in both co-operative and competitive gameplay in recreations of multiple single-player settings.

Video game critics gave Max Payne 3 highly acclaimed reviews. Praise focused on its story and action, while criticism was targeted at the sharp departure in tone and style that defined the original games. The game also received high sales, shipping approximately 3 million units in the first week of release. Max Payne 3 also won, and was nominated for, several industry awards, including Best Animation at Machinima's Inside Gaming Awards, and various nominations at the Spike Video Game Awards.


A gameplay screenshot showing the game's cover system, a feature that was not present in the earlier Max Payne games

Max Payne 3 is a third-person shooter in which the player assumes the role of its titular character, Max Payne. Max Payne 3 features a similar over-the-shoulder camera as its predecessors, with the addition of a cover mechanic, while also retaining much of the same run-and-gun style of gameplay.[6] Max Payne 3 also marks the return of bullet time in action sequences, for which the franchise is notable. In bullet time it is possible to see every bullet strike an enemy in detail.[7] New to the series is a "Last Stand" mechanic, which gives the player a grace period after losing all health during which time the player may kill the enemy that wounded them in order to continue playing, however this mechanic is only usable if the player has one or more bottles of painkillers in their possession.[6]

Max Payne 3 retains the shoot-dodge mechanic from the previous games in the series. Players are able to stay grounded after a dive, which enables them to shoot 360 degrees around. Rockstar has blended physics and animation, so that when a player dives, they do so appropriately according to their surroundings. Through advanced use of the Euphoria dynamic animation engine, shooting and killing enemies in Max Payne 3 will look noticeably more realistic than in any preceding Rockstar game.[7]

New to the series are cinematic action movements, interactive cutscenes which transition seamlessly into continuing gameplay. Moreover there are no loading screens across gameplay and cutscenes.[8]

The game's online multiplayer features maps and modes that dynamically change within a match, as well as reward, ranking and clan systems.[9] Max Payne 3 lets players form private crews with friends, or join public crews. Players can be a member of up to five at the same time, and completing tasks as a crew gain XP points for the player. Among the crew features promised are persistent Feuds, that see the player scrapping with opposing gangs who've killed someone on the team. Social Club integration connect play across multiple titles, starting with Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto V. By playing both games multiplayer "crews" that the player set up in one will be carried over to the other.[10]



According to Rockstar's Sam Houser, it was their intention to start a new chapter of Max Payne's life with the game: "This is Max as we've never seen him before, a few years older, more world-weary and cynical than ever." The press release states that since the last game, Max has left New York City behind and "drifted from bad to worse." The press release goes on to say Max has been double-crossed in this new city and is searching for both the truth and a way out.[11] The game is set in São Paulo, Brazil, several years after the events of "the first ending" of the second game.[12][13] Max Payne now works in executive protection for the wealthy Rodrigo Branco and his family in the hopes of escaping the memories of his troubled past. When a street gang kidnaps Rodrigo's wife, Max is pulled into a conspiracy of shadowy, warring factions threading every aspect of São Paulo society in a deadly web that threatens to engulf everyone and everything around him.


Nine years after the death of Mona Sax, Max Payne has left the NYPD and spends his days at a bar in Hoboken, New Jersey, nursing his alcoholism and an addiction to painkillers. During a drunken argument, Max kills the only son of local mob boss Anthony DeMarco, who puts a price on his head. After killing most of DeMarco's gang, Max decides to leave New Jersey with Raul Passos, an old classmate from the police academy who helped him defeat DeMarco's cronies, taking a job as a private security contractor in South America.

Max and Passos work for the wealthy Branco family in São Paulo, consisting of three brothers: Rodrigo, a real-estate mogul, Victor, a local politician who aspires to be the city's next mayor, and the hard-partying socialite Marcelo. At a private party, Max saves Rodrigo and his young wife Fabiana from members of the Comando Sombra, a street gang based in the neighboring favela. The gang later strikes again, successfully kidnapping Fabiana and demanding a ransom of $3 million. At the site of the exchange (a football stadium), the deal is interrupted by the Crachá Preto, an outlaw, right-wing paramilitary unit, who kill the Commando Sombra and steal the money. Max and Passos escape and meet with the Branco family for their next move. Victor suggests they rely on Armando Becker and his Unidade de Forças Especiais (UFE), a special police unit, to oversee Fabiana's safe return. Victor, Passos, Marcello and Becker leave via helicopter, moments before the Crachá Preto abruptly raid the Branco offices.

Max fights off the Crachá Preto and returns to Rodrigo's secured office to find Rodrigo assassinated, and a bomb waiting for him; he narrowly escapes the blast, before learning that Fabiana is being held in the Nova Esperança favela and that the Crachá Preto raid was meant for Max, as vengeance for the deaths of the Crachá Preto operatives at the stadium. Blaming himself for what has transpired, Max swears off alcohol and informs Victor and Marcelo that he is going undercover into Nova Esperança to save Fabiana. He gets lost in the sprawling favela, but is assisted by Detective Wilson Da Silva, who reveals that the Crachá Preto had links with Rodrigo, who hired them to clear out villages on land he intended to turn into a retail development. Da Silva thinks the UFE and Victor are all connected.

Max eventually finds Fabiana with Marcelo and Giovanna (Fabiana's sister), who were kidnapped while trying to pay Fabiana's ransom themselves. Fabiana is executed and Giovanna and Marcelo are taken away. The UFE raids the favela, and Max witnesses them collaborate with the Crachá Preto, selling them the people they arrested during the raids. Max later witnesses the Crachá Preto necklace Marcello, and escapes with Giovanna. Passos later rescues Giovanna but abandons Max, who is saved by Da Silva.

Da Silva reveals that Passos worked for Victor until he hired Max. Max recalls the time when he and Passos worked as security for a yacht party for Marcelo near Panama, which was attacked by Panamanian soldiers in the Panama Canal. Max escaped the yacht to find Marcelo and Passos trying to drive away with unknown cargo. It hits Max that he was recruited by Passos to be the "fall guy" for whatever illicit activity the Brancos were involved in. Da Silva deduces that Passos and Victor set Max up, so the latter would gain access to his brother's wealth and garner sympathy for elections. Da Silva informs Max about a rundown building, the Imperial Palace Hotel, where the Crachá Preto and UFE are seen entering with prisoners, yet none leave. Max discovers it is the base for a black market organ theft ring and corrupt UFE officers are being paid to deliver the detainees for organ harvesting; he frees the remaining detainees.

Max sets explosives to destroy the entire complex, but is held at gunpoint by Neves, the leader of the Crachá Preto and an ex-UFE member. Passos reappears and kills Neves, thus saving Max, then explains that Marcelo and Victor pressured him into the Panama plot in order to get Rodrigo to share his wealth. Passos apologizes to Max, who forgives him. Passos then leaves Brazil with a pregnant Giovanna to protect both himself and his new family from Victor's attempts to eliminate them. Since Da Silva cannot take any action due to extreme corruption within the police, he suggests that Max "turn himself in" to find incriminating evidence linking the UFE and Victor to the crimes of the Crachá Preto and the Comando Sombra. Max does so and escapes into UFE headquarters as planned, finding a surveillance CD stolen from Rodrigo's office and learning the identity of the assassin - a high-ranking UFE member named Bachmeyer. Max kills him in vengeance for Rodrigo's murder, and confronts Becker, but Victor appears and holds Max at gunpoint. Victor explains that he ordered the Crachá Preto to ambush the exchange at the stadium, which went toward funding the organ harvesting ring, the profits of which assisted in the funding of his campaign.

Victor and Becker escape to the airport with Max in pursuit. After an intense shootout with the UFE, Max catches up with them as they are preparing to board a jet. Becker and his men try to stop Max and allow Victor time to escape, with Becker himself using a grenade launcher to try to kill Max. However, Max shoots one of the grenades in mid-air, resulting in the burning and maiming of Becker. Max then has a choice of whether or not to kill the critically injured Becker; if spared, he dies from his wounds anyway. With Da Silva's help, Max disables Victor's plane, and approaches a disabled Victor with the intent to kill him, but he relents after Da Silva persuades him to spare Victor, so that he will answer for the crimes he committed.

A week later, Max finds out that the remains of Becker's UFE battalion has been disbanded indefinitely due to their ties to the illegal organ harvesting ring, while Victor has been found hanged in his cell, although the circumstances to his death are unclear as to whether it was suicide or murder. Max walks into the sunset, satisfied with the outcome of the last few weeks, and having found some solace after all the years of heartache.


"We've been blessed with being able to actually see the game and give some feedback. We've been meeting with Rockstar and looking at Max 3 – it looks absolutely phenomenal – the nice thing is we've been giving our feeling on the game but at the end of the day we don't have to do any of the heavy lifting, which is nice. Rockstar don't make bad games, so you already know it's going to be good. Just like we hope the Remedy brand is a seal of quality, you know that Rockstar's brand is a seal of quality. It's been nice to be part of the process, but we don't want to take any of the limelight. From what we've seen it's going to be absolutely fantastic."

—Oskari Häkkinen, Remedy Entertainment franchise development head.[14]

The game was originally scheduled for release in late 2009.[11] However, it was pushed back to 2010 alongside several other Take-Two Interactive franchises in order to "benefit from having more development time". In June 2010, the game was again pushed back to 2011.[15] On December 21, it was not present on the 2011-2012 calendar year, and was pushed back again.[12][16] The game was still in development and not canceled or indefinitely halted when Rockstar released two new screenshots for the game.[17] On September 8, 2011 Rockstar announced a March 2012 release date for the game, with a debut trailer released on September 14.[18][19][20] In January 2012, Take-Two delayed the game by two months from its original March release date to May 2012. The publisher said the decision's been made to "ensure that Max Payne 3 delivers the highest quality."[21]

The debut trailer was released on September 14, 2011.[22] The writer for the series, Sam Lake, responded by commenting that the game would "maintain its dark and gritty origins" and that fans of the series would be "in for a surprise".[23] Remedy boss Oskari Hakkinen praised Rockstar's take on the series, and said Max Payne 3 looks "brilliant".[24]

Rockstar conducted research to ensure that the vibe, culture, police, weapons and every element of São Paulo is as authentic as possible. The research team visited São Paulo several times and went to lengths researching the local gangs, police and special forces, including each group's choice of equipment and firearms. The fictional UFE resembles Brazilian special police units such as BOPE;[25] the company suggests that fans of the game watch the 2007 Brazilian film Elite Squad (Brazilian Portuguese: Tropa de Elite), especially the "intense sequences of BOPE soldiers carefully raiding favela warzones and caught in deadly shootouts versus heavily-armed drug dealers and lookouts who wield assault rifles and Uzis as part of daily life."[26] Some retailers bundle the game with the film and its sequel.[27]

In a November 2011 interview, Dan Houser of Rockstar Games said that despite what the general public might think, Rockstar likes to "spend a bit of time" at the end of projects before deciding what to do next. "Basically we have been meaning to start [Max Payne 3] for a while, but we have limited bandwidth and limited studios, and more games to make than we've started. So suddenly it was a good slot," Houser said, explaining why it took eight years to follow up Max Payne 2. "Also, contrary to a lot of people, we like to take a little bit of time at the end of a game before starting a sequel, so we can wait for the excitement or disappointment and everything else of the experience to shake down and really see what we should do in the next game."[28]

In February 2012, it was confirmed that the PC version of the game features DirectX 11 and stereoscopic 3D rendering.[29] The PC version of Max Payne 3 is shipped on four DVDs[30] and the Xbox 360 version on two discs due to the disc size limit; however, the PlayStation 3 version ships on one Blu-ray Disc.[31]

Marketing and release[edit]

Max Payne 3 was Rockstar's "biggest and boldest marketing effort thus far". Highlights of the campaign included prominent TV spots during the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final and other mainstream programming, as well as outdoor campaigns.[32] Rockstar Games ran a competition where its Twitter followers who tweet using the #MaxPayne3 hashtag through January 13, 2012, could see their likeness featured in the title's multiplayer.[9] Rockstar also ran another competition to win a trip from New York to São Paulo to attend at Sonar São Paulo, get a customized Max Payne 3 Xbox 360 console, and play the game a week before its official release.[33]

Rockstar collaborated with several retail outlets on pre-order bonuses available through several store chains throughout the world. The Cemetery Multiplayer Map is a map pack, where pre-order customers get early access to the map. The Silent Killer Multiplayer Loadout Pack includes the "devastatingly destructive" Light Anti-Tank Weapon, the slippery character burst to quickly escape a deadly firefight, and the listening device item that amplifies hearing, allowing the player to hear approaching enemies from a greater distance. Those who pre-orders the game from specified retailers receive a code that allows to get the game's first paid Multiplayer DLC Pack for free.[34] A "Special Edition" of Max Payne 3 is available for pre-order. The "Special Edition" includes a 10" tall collectible Max Payne statue, series of game-inspired original still life art prints, bullet keychain (copper and brass-plated iron bullet-shaped) and Max Payne 3 official soundtrack. Exclusive multiplayer content consists of Classic Multiplayer Character Pack and Disorderly Conduct Multiplayer Weapons Pack.[35][36][37]

A three-part Max Payne comic book series was released prior of and after the launch of the third game. Published in partnership with Marvel Custom Solutions, it explored the events of the original Max Payne game and its sequel, as well as delving a little further back in the protagonist's troubled past. Rockstar boss Dan Houser and Sam Lake of original developer Remedy authorized the books. The series was released as a digital graphic novel and in limited print editions.[38]

All three issues of the comic series combined will be released for retail and online shops during October 2013, titled Max Payne 3: The Complete Series.[39]

Max Payne themed avatar items are available for purchase on Xbox Live.[40] The PlayStation 3 version features rewards for PlayStation Home. Rockstar re-released the original Max Payne, subtitled Mobile, for iOS devices on April 12, 2012, with the Android version launching later. Max Payne Mobile has been optimized for both iOS and Android devices and features HD graphics, high-resolution textures, Social Club connectivity and user-customizable controls.[41] The Rockstar Games Social Club is a website that displays the gameplay statistics of registered users and feature competitions and awards based on player activity within the game, which will support both Max Payne Mobile and Max Payne 3.

Downloadable content[edit]

On May 1, 2012, Rockstar announced that through the year, seven packs of downloadable content (DLC) will be released via PlayStation Network and Xbox Live. Players will be able to purchase DLC packs individually or get all add-on content at a discounted rate (over 35%) by purchasing a "Rockstar Pass".[42]

On May 17, Rockstar released a free bonus downloadable multiplayer pack called Gorilla Warfare. The pack includes a Gorilla Mask, which gives extra adrenaline for melee kills from behind, the Lucky Coin, which gives extra cash when looting bodies, and the Booby Trap, an item that booby traps a corpse so that it explodes when looted.[43]

On June 27, Rockstar announced the first DLC Local Justice which was released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on July 3,[44] with a subsequent release following for PC on August 8.[45] The DLC includes three new maps, a new weapon, a new item, a new multiplayer faction, and achievements and trophies.

The second DLC, titled Hostage Negotiation, was originally slated to launch in September, but was pushed back to October 30. Hostage Negotiation adds four new multiplayer maps – Club Moderno, Estádio Do Galatians, Favelas of O Palácio Strip Club and Favela Heights – plus two new rifles, a new Explosive Burst booby trap, additional cosmetic options, and a new avatar faction.

The third DLC, Painful Memories, was originally slated to launch in October, but was delayed to December 4, 2012. Four multiplayer maps are included – the Roscoe street subway map from the first game, the Hoboken dive Marty's Bar, a yacht level called Shoot First, and a Gang Wars map called Canal de Panama. Other additions include the IMG 5.56 and UAR-21 assault rifles, new avatars, and the Hangover Burst which makes enemies spawn with reduced stamina, health and blurred vision.

The final DLC, titled Deathmatch Made in Heaven, was released on January 22, 2013. It adds four new multiplayer game modes: a horde mode called Dead Men Walking, Run and Stun, Marked Man and Time Attack, as well as a single player mini-game called New York Minute Arcade Challenge, which is very similar to the New York Minute minigames from previous iterations in the series. It also adds several new weapons and items, as well as a new Burst called Unstoppable, which adds to a player's defensive ability.


Max Payne 3
Soundtrack album by Health
May 23, 2012
Genre Video game soundtrack
Length 82:25
Label Rockstar Games

Max Payne 3 Official Soundtrack is the soundtrack of the video game music used in the game. The music was mainly composed by members of the noise rock band Health, with minor collaborations from other artists such as composer Pedro Bromfman. The original theme was included in some cutscenes, menu screens, as well as in the trailer, and was made available for free download on Soundcloud. The album was released on CD and MP3, the latter featuring several bonus tracks. The soundtrack as a whole was nominated for Best Score in a Game and "Tears" was nominated for Best Song in a Game at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards.[46]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PS3) 86.08%[47]
(PC) 85.67%[48]
(X360) 84.75%[49]
Metacritic (PS3) 87/100[50]
(PC) 87/100[51]
(X360) 86/100[52]
Review scores
Publication Score
Edge 7/10[53]
Eurogamer 7/10[54]
G4 5/5[55]
Game Informer 9.25/10[56]
GamesRadar 10/10[60]
GameSpot 9/10[57]
GameSpy 4.5/5 stars[58]
GamesTM 8/10[59]
GameTrailers 7.6/10[61]
IGN 9/10[62]
Giant Bomb 4/5 stars[63]
Destructoid 9/10[64]
Gamereactor 9/10[65]
Polygon 9/10[66]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[67]

Max Payne 3 received critical acclaim - though a number of reviews were critical of the sharp departure in tone and style that defined the original games, developed by Remedy. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic rated the PlayStation 3 version 86.08% and 87/100,[47][50] PC version 85.67% and 87/100[48][51] and the Xbox 360 version 84.75% and 86/100.[49][52]

Game Informer gave the game 9.25/10, stating "As much as Max Payne 3 is a fascinating portrait of a man, it tells a great, action-packed story that runs in-stride with Max's inner turmoil."[56] GamesRadar gave the game a perfect score of 5 out of 5 stars and stated "Between its pacing, its presentation, and its excellent gunplay, Max Payne 3 has raised the bar for other action games to follow. Welcome back."[60] The Guardian gave the game a perfect score of 5 out of 5 stars and they called it "A masterpiece of underworld carnality, depravity and violence."[67]

IGN gave the game 9/10, and stated "It touches on the disparity between rich and poor, and how resentment and desperation can fester in the slums and the penthouses alike."[62] Destructoid also gave the game a 9/10, stating "Packed with fast action, brutal violence, and a striking cinematic style, all of the stops have been pulled out to make this the most exciting entry in the series to date."[64] Polygon gave the game 9/10, stating "It is uncompromisingly excellent, with a sense of focus that has secured Max Payne's legacy once again."[66]

However, GameTrailers was less-favorable towards the game, giving it a 7.6/10, citing issues with the narrative structure, difficulty and minor gameplay bugs, but applauding the multiplayer modes.[61] Eurogamer gave the game 7/10, stating "All the same, you can't escape the feeling that Rockstar just isn't as good at a pure third-person shooter as it is with the open worlds of Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption, and in this linear context it's much harder to put up with its usual missteps in mechanics and difficulty."[54] Edge also gave the game 7/10, stating "Max Payne 3 might solve the problem of how you manage to reload when carrying more than one gun, but detailing alone can't change the fact that this is a surprisingly conservative game from Rockstar".[53]


According to Take-Two Interactive, Max Payne 3 shipped approximately 3 million units in its first week.[68] In the first month, the game sold 440,000 units in the United States.[69] One year after the release, the game had managed to sell 4 million copies.[70]

Awards and accolades[edit]

Max Payne 3 won Best Animation at the 2012 Inside Gaming Awards.[71][72] It also received various nominations at the Spike Video Game Awards.[73]


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