The Finnish studio Remedy, creator in 2001 of Max Payne, a character entered in the history of video games, announces the start of construction of a remake of the first two parts of the saga, under the tutelage of Rockstar.
Unfortunately, this is not the announcement of a new chapter in the tortured history of the mythical cop on the run, but it is still a pleasing announcement. Remedy Entertainment has just announced the start of construction of remakes of Max Payne and its fabulous sequel, Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, respectively released in 2001 and 2003. We insist: remakes, and not remastered / facelifted versions in 1080p.
The site is made with the blessing of Rockstar Games, which was already at the time publisher of the first two games, and director of Max Payne 3, released as for him in May 2012. These remakes will be done in any case with a rather consequent line of credits; equivalent to a AAA production budget of a game developed within Remedy Entertainment, as they specify elsewhere in the press release accompanying this announcement.
“Max Payne has always held a special place in our hearts at Remedy, and we know millions of fans around the world feel the same,” said Remedy CEO Tero Virtala. “We are extremely excited to once again work with our partners at Rockstar Games for the chance to bring the story, action and atmosphere of the original Max Payne games to gamers in a new way.”
Below, for fun, is the trailer for Max Payne 2. Seeing Mona Sax again and dying…
A cult game for a hero who is no less
In 2016, we had the great pleasure of speaking with Sam Lake, on the occasion of the release of the studio’s new game, Quantum Break. Pillar of the studio RemedyEntertainment, it was he who lent his features to the first part of the Max Payne saga. And we asked him what he thought were the reasons for the success of this license, which was also revolutionary when it was released in 2001.
“When the game was a success, we were just a group of young friends, and honestly it took us a long time to assimilate this success. I think it can be explained by the presence of certain elements present in Remedy games, even today, we didn’t have a lot of experience, we were trying to make a game that we wanted to play first.
Max is a character with a strong personality, powerful motivations that drive him forward. There is also the fact of having a real story, even in an action game. It was something very rare at the time.
When I was writing the story of Max Payne, I always had in mind how I was going to create a story in a frantic action game, how to make the story audible in the middle of all these sequences of gunfights that take up most of the character’s time.
It made me want to push everything to the extreme: the personal situation of the hero is totally hopeless. At the limit, each audible and / or visible word, sometimes written in close-up on the screen, had to attract the player’s attention. Max is consumed by rage and despair; it had to be seen and heard.
The way the story was told was also innovative, with the help of Graphic Novel-style cut-scenes. At the time, we hadn’t yet mastered video cut scenes very well, and from this point of view, we thought we could go further by adopting this visual and narrative graphic novel style to replace them. We found that it gave much more personality and credibility to Max Payne and his universe.
I also wanted to give the game that Film Noir approach. That was the job of our Lead Designer and Project Leader at the time, Petri Järvilehto, who also wanted a game with an eye towards John Woo’s HK action films. The funny thing about all of this is that in John Woo’s films, there is an obvious echo of the Film Noir genre. As a result, having Max Payne cohabit with this type of universe fitted perfectly”.
A memorable voice but an iconic face
In the first game, it was the voice of actor James McCaffrey that we heard. If it was perfect, it was above all the face of the hero that was remembered; so the Sam Lake one. “In fact, apart from the days of Full Motion Video games, actors weren’t much in demand in video games. It wasn’t something natural, we didn’t really ask ourselves the question. measure of Max Payne’s development, things have changed quite a bit.” Sam Lake told us.
“I’m a very big fan of graphic novels; and I had suggested using drawn panels like Graphic Novels for the storytelling of the game. Add to that the fact that one of my hobbies is playing role-playing [de plateaux]. We even took pictures with friends posing for our characters, just for fun.
I brought some photos to the office to show them, and tell them that we really should adopt or integrate a Graphic Novel dimension into the story, and that we could use the photos as a basis for work. They found that it was not a bad idea, and to say to me: “now that you posed like that, you could perhaps try this pose there, or even that? etc”. That’s how I ended up lending my features to Max Payne!
Also, in the early stage of game and character development, everything was still drawn, Graphic Novel panels were hand painted and served as references. The technology evolved, we started to use photographs to work on the textures of the game. And there too, I could be recognized.
In the middle of production, someone still suggested that maybe we should hire professional actors, but in truth, we were already too advanced in the development of the game to use it. This was the case on Max Payne 2, in order to give an even more realistic side, but not on the first part. And then financially, we could hardly afford it!”