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Max Payne 1 & 2 remake — Remedy bring bullet-time back

It's not Max Payne 4, but the original Max Payne developers are back for more

Updated: Apr 8, 2022 6:28 am
Max Payne 1 & 2 being remade by Remedy and Rockstar

Remedy Entertainment has announced remakes of their neo-noir classics Max Payne 1 & 2 for next-gen consoles and PC in an agreement with original publisher Rockstar Games.

The official press release confirms that the two games will be released as one single title, and is currently only in the concept development stage. That being said, we’ll have some time to wait before we get our hands on the physical game. At least the news itself confirms what fans have been waiting for for some time, filling the gap left by the decade since Rockstar’s Max Payne 3.

Max Payne 1 & 2 remakes – Remedy is back in control

Max Payne 2

Remedy Entertainment’s iconic Max Payne and Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne games were originally released in 2001 and 2003 respectively. Max Payne 3 then saw original publisher Rockstar Games take over development nearly a decade later, in 2012. Now, over 20 years since the original game, fans are overjoyed to see Max Payne back in the hands of Remedy. Given the time passed, players can expect an entirely new Max Payne experience, as Remedy themselves look forward to bringing “the story, action and atmosphere of the original Max Payne games back to players in new ways.”

The new Max Payne games will be created using Remedy’s own Northlight Game Engine. Great news for fans of Remedy, and more specifically, Control, another major Remedy success. Released back in 2019, Control was highly praised for its graphics, leaving high-expectations for the Max Payne remakes and the graphics quality we can look forward to. While Control is probably the most high-profile Northlight parallel, fans of CrossfireX – specifically its campaign mode – will also know what to expect from May Payne 1 & 2. CrossfireX’s story mode was, too, developed by Remedy using their proprietary Northlight game engine, having been outsourced to them by Smilegate.

Which platforms will the Max Payne remakes be available on?

While the original two titles are playable on current-gen consoles through backwards compatibility only, it seems PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles will be completely bypassed, with these remakes being made specifically for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

A brief history of Max Payne

Max Payne was a pioneer of both the beloved neo-noir atmosphere now synonymous with the games, as well as its unique bullet-time mechanic – a feature that slowed down time enough that one might follow a bullet with the naked eye. Much of the third-person shooter’s popularity is down to these unique style features, as well as its graphic-novel-style storytelling. These gritty stylistic choices went perfectly with the storyline, which follows protagonist Max Payne, a former NYPD detective, shortly after the murder of his wife and newborn daughter.

Max Payne 1 & 2 being remade by Remedy and Rockstar
Max Payne – via Remedy Entertainment

The first two Max Payne games left such a mark on popular culture that a movie adaptation was produced, starring Mark Wahlberg as the titular character and Mila Kunis as his love interest, Mona Sax. Sadly, the star-studded cast wasn’t enough to save the film from the same unfortunate demise as most other video game-inspired movie adaptations, and it was not well-received by fans or critics. Thankfully, the franchise was revived in its original format a couple of years later, when Max Payne 3 was released.

Who made Max Payne 1, 2, and 3 – Is Max Payne made by Rockstar?

Remedy Entertainment were the original studio behind the first two Max Payne games. Since we know the franchise is back in the Remedy team’s hands, we can be safe in the knowledge that nothing will be lost in the remaking of the classic titles, and they will remain true to the well-received originals.

Rockstar were involved in the original release as the publishers of Max Payne 1 & 2, then developing the third title, Max Payne 3 themselves. They will return as the publishers for the remakes, with the press release confirming a royalty opportunity for Remedy once Rockstar has “recouped its development, marketing, and other costs for distributing and publishing the game.”

In the official Press Release, Rockstar Founder Sam Houser says of the partnership, “We were thrilled when our long-time friends at Remedy approached us about remaking the original Max Payne games.” He goes on to say that Rockstar are “massive fans of the work the Remedy team has created over the years,” and “can’t wait” to play the Max Payne remakes.

Are Max Payne 1 and 2 connected?

Max Payne and Mona Sax
Max Payne and Mona Sax – Max Payne 2

Max Payne 1 and 2 are pretty close together, based just two years apart, and of course, are both headed up by the titular character, Max Payne. There are further links between the two as well, as we see the important return of Payne’s ally Mona Sax in Max Payne 2, who also returns for a poignant storyline in Max Payne 3. So, yes, the two games are connected and lend themselves perfectly to a new playthrough of both games together.

Will there be a Max Payne 3: Remastered?

This news is likely to reignite rumors and demands for a remastered Max Payne 3, as well. Now we know about the Max Payne 1 & 2 remakes, we know that’s where Remedy’s resources will be going, so it’s not as though we can expect a Max Payne 3 remaster to be announced in the near future. However, it does allow for speculation that Max Payne 3 could get similar treatment in the next few years, as it will be over ten years old itself when the new versions are released.

Is there going to be a Max Payne 4?

In a similar line of questioning, could we have reason to believe Max Payne 4 might happen? Another title fans have been clamouring for for years, Max Payne 4 has generally been considered a no-go, mostly thanks to the relative closure at the end of Max Payne 3. However, Max hasn’t been killed off, so there is always room for his return. Given the Remedy and Rockstar partnership being fired back up for the remakes, there’s certainly no reason for there not to be a Max Payne 4 in the future.

When will the release date be for Max Payne 1 & 2?

All of this neatly brings us to the question of when? When will Max Payne 1 and 2 be released? Well, since Remedy and Rockstar only signed on the dotted line on April 6, 2022, we know these are just the early days of production. Of course, no release date has been suggested yet, and won’t be for a while. In a time when developers are constantly having to rethink and delay release dates, Remedy won’t be tying their own hands just yet.

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