On this day, 17 years ago, Max Payne was released to the public. Max Payne was one of the first games to introduce us to the concept of Bullet time. Bullet time was one of the core gameplay mechanics of the game; When activated, bullet time slows down Max’s environment while movement speed and aiming remain at default, allowing the player to choreograph gunplay.
Max Payne also introduced us to graphic novels, incorporating voice-over and flashbacks to build a complex, layered narrative. Max Payne’s budget was tight and so the use of graphic novels saved costs that were otherwise required to create fully animated cinematics. A costy venture back in the day. Graphic novels would become one of the hallmarks of the franchise.
Fans of the series are also well aware Remedy used studio personnel and even family members to portray various characters in the game. Yet another method to save costs instead of hiring proffessional actors. Most notably, Remedy’s writer Sam Lake would portray Max Payne (with the infamous grimace) while his mother portrayed Nicole Horne. Remedy would even go as far as to feature the person that refilled their coke machine as one of the goons in the game.
Max Payne was one of the first games to use photo-realistic textures. While other games before it were mainly using textures drawn by hand. Max Payne’s textures were based on photos of real life objects or persons, increasing the game’s graphical fidelity.
Fast forward seventeen years and Max Payne is still known as one of the greatest cinematic action games to date. Ported to numerous devices and two sequels later, the game is still cherished by many of its fans. Here’s to you Max (raises a glass of Kong), on to another year of Payne.