I’m not exactly sure how I feel. Yes, there is delight. But there are also inescapable thoughts that serve as the catalyst for an overall numb feeling. Those thoughts are nothing more than the manifestation of an onward struggle to accept the fact that you and I are not getting any younger. That’s right my friend, if you’ve read the title of this article you know exactly what I mean. Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne has been with us for fifteen years now. Itself a reason to party (to be honest, any reason is a good reason to party) but also the perfect time to look back on the game’s legacy and life itself.
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Max Payne 2, we’ve teamed up with Remedy, along with a slew of fansites (our longtime friends from The Sudden Stop, Popular Twitter page MaxPayneFanpage and Spanish Remedy community ‘ComunidadRemedy‘), to bring you a riddle. The answer to the riddle will secure your spot in a Max Payne 2 themed giveaway on Remedy’s Twitterpage. Each site, including ours, will contain a hint that might help you find the answer. Hidden in the text below is a quote that might help you in your quest. Good luck!
Time is relative to the observer.
I only vaguely remember how Max Payne 2 was introduced in my life. It’s difficult to get a grasp of how the world looked back then (2003, mind you). These were vastly different times. The internet and social media were not as established as they are today. Hardware like smartphones and wide-screen monitors were objects we’d only seen in fancy science fiction movies. If you are around the age of thirty, you too might have forgotten these times existed. Times in which you could still learn about video-game announcements from printed magazines. Admittedly, if you would know your way around the internet you could still find a thing or two yourself. However, by the time you’d find it the news was probably a few days old. News didn’t circulate as fast as it does now. For this very reason, fan created websites had way more importance than they do today. Those sites were hubs, sprawling communities, that allowed you to catch up on all the latest about your favorite game series without having to search around various news sites yourself. Unthinkable in an age were you just follow the brand you love and see everything appear on your timeline.
In primary school I had a friend that was very much into PC gaming. Actually his dad was, but he had the luxury he was allowed to play pretty much all the time. I wasn’t so “lucky” as my dad’s PC was barely powerful enough to play Half-Life. PC Games were still graphically superior to consoles and while I owned a PlayStation, I pretty much watched him play all the time after school. Yes kids, we also watched people play in real life, not only through Twitch. At one point in time, his dad warned us he had just installed a very mature game and we were, under no circumstance, allowed to play it. It goes without saying we launched that game before he was able to finish his sentence. The game was Max Payne and it would change my life forever. Now I realize this might sounds melodramatic, but bear with me. We’d play this game for hours on end, only to become more obsessed with it as time went on. Surely I wasn’t the only one who liked this game to such extent? Of course not. Max Payne was a critical hit and loved by many around the globe. The game was relative easy to mod which lead to a very active community that would bring forward a slew of fan created content. These mods would keep fans occupied until the announcement of a sequel.
The time leading up to Max Payne 2’s release is a blur. All I remember is the endless anticipation and the game appearing quite quick. It did so no matter how I remember it, because it only took Remedy eighteen months to produce the sequel. Prior to the development of Max Payne 2, Remedy had sold all the rights to the franchise as part of a lucrative deal with Take-2. Take-2 ordered Remedy to develop a sequel and would use Rockstar games as its publisher. Great for us fans, who at the time didn’t know it would take over a decade for Max Payne 3 to be developed by their studios.
The past is a puzzle.
When my friend called me to tell me ‘Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne’ was announced, I thought he tried to fool me at first. That feeling of disbelief vanished soon after I laid my eyes on the first trailer and screenshots. Graphically, Max Payne 2 was a huge leap forward compared to its predecessor. Advancements in animation, rag dolls and facial design all contributed to a much more realistic experience. I don’t remember if I was bothered by Max’s altered appearance now that Timonty Gibbs took over from Sam. The more mature look of Max Payne was a better fit for the game’s film noir atmospehere. Even to this day, Max Payne 2 still holds up graphically. But the game didn’t age well technically. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to get it to run as technology advances. It’s fun to see the game’s promotional website is still live, although back in the day it featured the Max Payne 2 theme playing in the background. The website also contains links to various fan sites, including PayneReactor. This referral link is responsible for a majority of our visitors. Fifteen years ago, I was one of them.
By the time I found out about the website, PayneReactor was already a well known and reliable news source for Max Payne fans. The site had gained popularity because its founder (Kristian Hollund) knew some people within Remedy. It wasn’t until late after the release of Max Payne 2 that I became involved. I was so obsessed about the game: You’d often find me running around the house, shootdodging to my room. I’d repeat one of the game’s many poetic quotes in front of the mirror, with that grimace on my face: “A funhouse is a linear sequence of scares. Take it or leave it is the only choice given. Makes you think about free will: have our choices been made for us because of who we are?” I wanted to know how this game was put together, who was responsible for it and what inspired these people. As I started to more and more interact with the community, I met many like-minded people that were incredibly kind and inspiring. It was through these people I got into writing stories and modding. Through my passion for modding and writing, I got to join PayneReactor as a news editor. As part of PayneReactor, I was invited by Rockstar Games to visit New York. And it was during that visit, I realized by fate in the game industry was more or less sealed.
One thing lead to another, but I can’t deny Max Payne 2 was of big influence in how parts of my life are shaped. When reminiscing, it’s strange to see how your life is coming together. It’s a natural process you’re not fully aware of until you stop moving forward and take the time to look back. But then again, things had a habit of making sense to Max, only when looking back too.