Ever since the release of Max Payne 3 the future of the Max Payne franchise has been unclear. Almost a decade has passed and there still hasn’t been any news regarding our titular hero. Fans of the slow-motion-induced action games are left wondering if we’ll ever see Max return. Our chances for a proper sequel might be slim, but meanwhile, there are three undeniable impactful games being swallowed by time. While various other popular game franchises have been remastered or remade, the Max Payne games look to have been abandoned. Whether or not that might be the case, we still believe there’s a place for Max. The moment for all three games to be remastered is now.
More sand for his hourglass.
The first Max Payne game will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year. Released at the end of Juli 2001, Max Payne shook the gaming world with its mature story and slow-motion gunplay. The game won various awards and sold a considerable amount of copies. The game’s writer Sam Lake, whose face was used to model Max after, instantly became an industry icon. The constipated grimace he became known for is something he still jokingly pulls off during interviews today.
Max Payne popularized a new way for game developers to create textures: by using photos. Drawing game textures by hand was a common practice for that time. However, textures made from photos would drastically increase visual fidelity at the cost of increased system memory. By today’s standards, the system requirements for Max Payne 1 are a joke. While developed with top-tier hardware in mind, advancements in technology make it increasingly difficult to play the game. Legacy hardware is losing support or see its functionality removed entirely. As part of their marketing campaign for Max Payne 3, Rockstar Games released a mobile port of Max Payne. That version of the game was given a noticeable increase in texture resolution, but many pointed out the game’s age and issues with the touchscreen controls.
“The internet is scattered with guides to get the older games to work, but with no official solutions in place, these community-made fixes seem to be hit and miss.”
Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne is suffering a similar fate. Built on largely the same technology as its predecessor, advancements in hardware are making it increasingly difficult to replay the game. The internet is scattered with guides to get the older games to work, but with no official solutions in place, these community-made fixes seem to be hit and miss. Less tech-savvy gamers are left in the dark while others can’t seem to be bothered with all the steps required to get the games to run, only to hope they will not crash moments later.
A bit closer to heaven.
Even though Max Payne 3 is the most recent game in the franchise, the years are quickly adding up. Earlier this week, the PC version of the game quietly received its first patch in years. While that patch added all DLC for free, it also removed support for 32-bit machines. The world has moved on to 64-bit machines so that doesn’t have to be a problem. But it is underlining the game’s age and how it too will slowly be absorbed by time. In the meanwhile, an entire console generation has come and gone. Max Payne 3 was released for the Xbox 360 and PS3. The PS4 and P55 lack backward compatibility with PS3 games. Max Payne 3 also wasn’t made available through Xbox’s backward compatibility program. Simply put; Max Payne 3 can’t be enjoyed on modern consoles.
With the older games largely unplayable and the third about to suffer the same fate, the demand for remasters of the Max Payne games is larger than ever. 4K and 60FPS are now the facto standard in gaming, two factors all three games would hugely benefit from. While remasters are not Rockstar’s thing, I’m sure gamers around the globe would appreciate it if the studio would put the effort into preserving the games for a new generation. If the effort required to make that happen would financially pay off remains to be seen. However, I’m sure I’m not the only one on the globe willing to put in some cash to see our beloved hero return!