In early April, Remedy announced remakes of the first two Max Payne installments . The studio hasn’t had the rights to the series for a long time, but it managed to negotiate with publisher Take Two to release improved versions of the action games. She also revealed the remake engine, the Northlight Engine, on which Control and Quantum Break were created. In honor of the announcement, we decided to collect 17 interesting facts about Max Payne.
17 Interesting Facts About Max Payne
Remedy’s creative director and writer of all its games, Sam Lake, is a big fan of actor Humphrey Bogart. Bogart is the star of the film noir genre, and his images of private detectives and villains have become classic for this direction of cinema. That is why Max Payne behaves and talks this way: he mentally comments on everything he sees, and even constantly ironically over what is happening.
Another important source of inspiration is the action films of John Woo, the director of The Killer, Bullets in the Head, and Hard Boiled. In many of his paintings there are shootouts with time dilation effects, which have become a key feature of Max Payne.
The famous song by the Finnish rock band Poets of the Fall, which plays in the end credits of Max Payne 2, also appeared thanks to the efforts of Sam Lake. He sent the soloist Marco Saaresto a poem and asked him to write a composition with images that would appear in his head after reading it. And so Late Goodbye was born – a sad song about a trip in the night.
It’s hard to notice during the first playthrough, but Late Goodbye plays throughout the game. The janitor hums it, Mona in the shower, even the villains occasionally whistle it or play the piano. However, the full track is included only at the very end.
All parts of the series are not particularly easy. And in the first Max Payne, there are still no automatic saves – you have to do everything yourself. However, beating the games at the highest difficulty levels unlocks additional scenes.
In the original Max Payne, beating on the hardest difficulty unlocks an additional Endgame mission with multiple enemies. After defeating them, you can go into a large room, where there is a large poster with the developers and photos of New York, which served as a source of inspiration for them when creating the shooter.
In Max Payne 2, the easiest level of difficulty adjusts to the player’s skills: the worse he plays, the worse the enemies shoot, and vice versa. On the Hard-Boiled level, opponents shoot equally accurately, and on Dead on Arrival, the developers limit the number of saves per level. However, if the player does reach the final on the last difficulty level, they will unlock the secret ending. In it, Mona survives Vlad’s shot and meets the police in Max’s arms.
Events before games
After the release of the third part, the hero got an official prequel comic, which Sam Lake and Dan Houser wrote together. The story tells about the childhood of Max Payne and his growing up.
From the comic, it turns out that the hero’s problems began long before the death of his wife and child. As children, Max and his mother were beaten by their father, a war veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The only bright spot in the childhood of the hero was his grandfather, who told him ancient myths.
Max’s parents are dead. First, Elena’s mother died, and she lost her life under mysterious circumstances: it is mentioned that she drank heavily, but it is not known what role alcohol played in her death. Max’s father died a few years later. In general, Payne deserved his name back then.
The comic also tells the story of Max’s first date with Michelle, his future wife. In games, we don’t learn anything about her at all: she dies at the very beginning and doesn’t appear in the plot anymore, at least she’s alive. From the comics, you can find out that a robber attacked a couple right during a walk, but Max did not let himself and the girl be offended.
The events of all three games practically do not give a look at Max in an adequate state. In the first game, he is shattered by the death of his family and works hard out of a lust for revenge. In the second part, he is drugged by the criminal Mona Sachs and constantly violates his principles in order to help her. In the triquel, the hero finally goes crazy and constantly plays with death, hoping that his life will end in the course of another crazy trick.
However, from the same comic, it turns out that in the early years of his service, Max proved himself to be an excellent police officer. He quickly moved up the career ladder and soon gained fame as one of the best detectives in the county.
Max Payne voice
The main character in all games in the series was voiced by James McCaffrey. This American actor could be seen in the old series Law & Order and Sex and the City, and among his recent works are small roles in Suits and Jessica Jones.
At the same time, McCaffrey hardly works in the industry outside the franchise. He makes exceptions only for Remedy: in Alan Wake he voiced Thomas Zane, and in Control he voiced Zacharias Trench, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Control. Following the announcement of Max Payne 3, a Game Informer article stated that a new actor would be voicing the hero. But the studio quickly changed its mind, perhaps after an extremely negative reaction from fans.
If you are interested in the topic of voice acting, then we recently published two materials about actors at once. We talked about who voiced the characters in your favorite games , and also remembered the Hollywood stars who worked on video games .
The appearance of the heroes
Remedy made the first game on a minimal budget and saved on everything that could be saved. The studio had no money for the then expensive motion capture technology, professional actors and facial animation.
Therefore, they decided to make the appearance of the characters using ordinary textures, and took as a basis photographs of Remedy Entertainment employees, as well as members of their families and friends. Villainess Nicole Horne, for example, looks like Sam Lake’s mom.
Max himself in the first part was played by Lake. He did not have a professional acting education, and the developers did not chase ideal faces. Therefore, in the first game, the character looks strange: for example, he squints too much. Over time, Max’s face from MP1 has become a meme that developers like to remember in anniversary videos.
In the second part, the main character’s appearance was modeled after actor Timothy Gibbs. It wasn’t until the third game that Max’s face was made using capture technology from the voice actor, James McCaffrey.
After the announcement of the Max Payne remakes, many fans wondered what the main character would look like. Remedy does not give an answer, but the players are already demanding to add the meme face from the first part, at least as an optional skin.
Max Payne in other studio games
There are references to Max in all the studio’s games without exception. In Alan Wake, for example, there are many hints that Max is a figment of Alan’s own fantasy and the hero of his book series. Due to copyright issues, Remedy was forced to change the name of Max Payne to Alex Casey, but other facts of his biography agree. When the player finds the pages of the Casey book, James McCaffrey’s voice will read them.
Quantum Break even has a double (if not triple!) reference. On one of the TVs, the hero sees a video about Alan Wake, in which Sam Lake (Max’s face in the first part) plays Max Payne.
In Control, the developers put everything in its place. The brother of the main character says that he met a certain Mr. Door, who travels between realities. “In one of them, the writer wrote a book about a policeman. In another reality, this policeman lived for real, ”says a mysterious stranger who, apparently, came from the world of Quantum Break.
After the release of Control, Remedy officially announced that all of its games are part of the same universe. But it is with Max Payne that there are problems: the rights to the series remained with Take Two.
Location – Russia
In 2019, a GTAForums user found the work of artist Johannes Mücke online. He worked on an early version of Max Payne 3, which took place in Russia. In the drawings you can see three characters – Boris, Angel and Butcher. In addition, Johannes drew a frame from the alleged action scene.
Mücke confirmed that he worked at the Rockstar Vienna studios in 2005-2006, when development had just started. Then the studio closed, and Max Payne 3 went to Rockstar North, which decided to change Russia to Brazil. At the same time, in the first two parts, the hero faced the Russian mafia, so many players hoped to see the finale of this confrontation.
War with rats
In the second chapter of the original Max Payne, there is an easter egg that allows you to make your life very difficult and declare war on rats. To do this, it is enough at the very beginning of the level to throw a grenade into a hole in the wall. Further, the passage does not seem to change, however, after the explosion in the subway, Max is attacked by rats armed with pistols. Due to the size and numbers of the troops, it is not easy to defeat them in this skirmish.
Death to vampires
Both Max Payne have several secret rooms. In one of them, for example, you can find a memorial to the deceased developer, in the other they show a space show. But the most interesting room is hidden in the first chapters of the first part: after destroying several doors, the player can find a dead man with a stake stuck in his back. He wrote “Buff…” in blood, an obvious reference to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
For the release of Max Payne 3, the developers launched a contest that invites players to submit their photo and give the appearance of the characters in multiplayer. Every week, the studio selected 2 people, and all the bandits in the network mode received the appearance of fans of the series.
Multiplayer with running slow-mo
Before Max Payne 3, slow-motion online shootouts seemed impossible, but Rockstar still found a solution. They worked on the principle of connections: if the player wanted to activate slow-mo, then it worked for a short time and only for those characters that were within sight of each other. Theoretically, it was possible to slow down the entire server for players in different parts of the level, if they at least partially saw other characters in the slow-mo state.
In multiplayer, you had to rethink your approach to gunfights, and tactical options changed radically. For example, if a player was being shot at from behind, then in story mode it would be logical to turn on the slowdown, turn around and kill the enemy, but in multiplayer this only made it easier for your killer. Therefore, the players were constantly experimenting: for example, they learned to blow up enemy grenades in the air and looked for key places on the map, jumping from which allowed them to slow down the map and kill as many enemies as possible while falling. And sometimes they deliberately turned on slow-mo just to confuse the enemy and make him look around.
Music in Max Payne 3
The soundtrack for the third part was recorded by the American group Health, and the music in this game has become one of the most important elements. When the team was invited to audition at Rockstar, they hoped to record at least one track. However, to the surprise of the musicians, the developers wanted full accompaniment.
As a result, Health wrote music in parallel with the game, and entire episodes were created with the tempo and rhythm of the melodies in mind. That is why the game feels so dynamic, and the scenes flow so effectively into each other.
Gratitude to the player
Apparently, Max is very fond of silence. At least during the events of the first part: the hero constantly thanks the player for destroying extraneous sources of noise like alarms and music speakers in the elevator.
Love from the past
There are two endings in Max Payne 2 – one regular, in which Mona Sax dies, and a secret one, where the girl is miraculously saved. In Max Payne 3, the heroine is almost never mentioned: only in the episode at the cemetery, Max mentions that he “hadn’t forgiven himself for what happened to Mona”, whatever that means.
However, in the ninth chapter, if you watch the news broadcast in the office to the end, an advertisement will begin. It invites you to visit the Mona Hotel, and the advertisement is voiced by Wendy Hoopes, the voice of the heroine in the sequel. Max quickly turns off the TV and after a short pause emotionally concludes: “I must have really gone.”
Weirdest Easter Egg in Rockstar Games
From aliens and yetis to vampires and secret labs, the GTA and Red Dead Redemption series have some of the craziest secrets to discover. However, Max Payne 3 hides perhaps the most absurd secret in the studio’s games.
You can find an Easter egg in the third chapter, during a shootout on a football field. Due to the high dynamics of the chapter, it is easy to miss it, but it is enough to activate the large TV in one of the offices where the Love and Lady show is shown. This is a reference to the fictional series Lords and Ladies in the original Max Payne.
In the Brazilian version of the series, a man named Lorenzo, in the best traditions of passionate Spanish shows, confesses his love to Amelia – apparently, his pregnant wife. However, soon Marina comes to the apartment, and the hero immediately admits that he really loves her. The guest begins to tell in a rather obscene manner how she satisfies Amelia’s husband, the ladies arrange a skirmish, and then a fight. The girls awkwardly grab each other, but the episode does not end there: Amelia goes into labor, and Lorenzo and Marina are forced to give birth.
When the couple retrieves the baby, it doesn’t look like a normal baby: Lorenzo is holding a big boy with backwards feet and fiery red hair. “That’s not my baby!” the man shouts. And Amelia concludes with horror that she gave birth to Curupira – the Brazilian spirit of the forest, which, according to legend, looks exactly like that.
The Max Payne remakes don’t have a release date, and given the pressure on the studio, it’s hard to even guess. Remedy is currently working on them, the second part of Alan Wake, as well as on several games in the Control universe at once. We hope that the developers have enough resources for everything: so far, the Finnish company has not disappointed.