- Published on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 22:05
- Written by Cypress
In light of the upcoming sequel to Max Payne 2, we take a look back to the significance of Max's original adventure, 2001's Max Payne.
When the first installment in the Max Payne franchise was released, few of us were prepared for the impact that it would have both on gaming and broader. Developed by Remedy Entertainment, the studio based in Finland that had been playing around with a few third-person action game design concepts in late 1996 after the successful release of their former game "Death Rally".
According to the game's writer Sam Lake the starting point was "this archetype of the Private Eye, a Hard Boiled cop in a deep psychological and engaging story". Obviously Inspired by classics like "Hard Boiled", "Humphrey Bogart" and by the success of "Tomb Raider". A game prototype and design document of the project with the working titles "Dark Justice" and "Max Heat" where shown to 3DRealms, who signed a development deal and production began.
In 1999 the designers traveled from Finland to New York to research the city, accompanied by two ex-NYPD bodyguards, to get ideas for environments and take thousands of photographs for mapping. The music for the game was composed by Kärtsy Hatakka.
The game would eventually be a smasher hit and introduce gamers to a whole new type of gameplay, powered by elements like '"Bullet time" (slow-motion), a narrated graphic novel, photo-realistic graphics and superb quality audio. All powered by Remedy's own game engine, which they dubbed MaxFX. The only games that this engine was used in was Max Payne and its sequel, while a MaxFX level editor was also included in the release, and it was licensed to Futuremark. The first trailer showcasing an early version of the game's story and gameplay was shown at 1998 E3, gaining great interest due to its innovative content and effects .
A few years ago, EDGE magazine released a very interesting article on their website concerning the development of Max Payne. They look back along with Sam Lake and discuss all the influences that shaped the game to what it is now. It makes an tremendous read and perfectly fits in the context of this article, read it here.
Max Payne was originally scheduled to be released in the summer of 1999, however it was repeatedly delayed and got heavily revamped in 2000 (in particular the game's graphics were improved to feature much more realistic textures and lighting, while the multiplayer mode was dropped). Compare the screenshots below with upper to see the enormous difference.
The game was eventually released for Windows on July 23, 2001 and later for Xbox, Mac, PS2 and GameBoy Advance.