Max Payne 3 is a game that weighs heavy on my soul. As a huge fan of Remedy, developer of the first two games, Rockstar's gritty, sad, Man On Fire-inspired take on the character just never felt right. He wasn't my Max, from his grim seriousness to his lumpy, bearded face.
Well, thanks to modder AlexSavvy, I can now do something about that latter issue, at least: their recently released Sam Lake Mod changes Max's character model to an eerily accurate recreation of Sam Lake, the face model for the first game (and Max Payne's original creator).
Lake's naturally polygonal mug is integrated perfectly, and somehow his visage alone is enough to inject an air of silliness into Rockstar's otherwise much darker story. The way lip syncing and facial animation have been preserved is impressive too, and he even changes appearance and hairstyles appropriately for the different sections of the game. Given there are apparently 14 different haircuts over the course of the story, that's quite a feat—though I could've done without the oddly unsettling image of a bald Sam Lake.
It's not just a face swap, either—the new model has a physique modelled on Lake and Payne's build from the first game, making this version of Max a lot more wiry and lean than Rockstar's doughier interpretation. Naturally all of the outfits have been adjusted to fit, too.
I dread to think how much work goes into a mod like this—to my eyes, this is professional enough to have been an official DLC. Now all I need is for someone to dub over some cheesy noir monologues and insert some kind of weird mythology-based secret society, and we'll have a sequel I can finally be at peace with.