Rockstar talks about Max Payne's evolution

Max gets ready to face his die-hard fans.

Max Payne 3 is fully in keeping with its predecessors' noir sensibilities, promises Rockstar's VP of product development, Jeronimo Barrera, in an interview with GameSpot .

"For us, noir is not about a place (and if it were, that place would surely be Los Angeles, not New York) but about a particular visual style and a kind of story and characterization telling that has a certain hard-boiled cynicism, plenty of twists, and a sense of decay and depravity."

Fans of the series have been wary about the new Max Payne game ever learning that much of the game occurs in sunny, verdant South America rather than than the dark, nightmarish New York that defined Remedy's vision. Barrera, however, argues that it is the other iconic elements of the Max Payne series that made the first two games classics.

"Throughout development, we have always worked to maintain and evolve the elements that have made the Max Payne series so beloved and so groundbreaking. Through bullet time, Max Payne brought the gunplay of Hong Kong action movies into games in a way that had never been done before. This was in many ways more of a key element of Max even than its noir styling…its incredible movie-style action. And we have really worked hard to evolve this into something that feels incredibly visceral and fresh."

He continues, "It wasn't just the gameplay that was unique and new: Max's iconic internal monologue and the use of graphic novel cutscenes were also signature elements of the game. All these things are present in some way or other in Max Payne 3, along with several other elements from the original games."

It's an illuminating interview, as Barrera explains what Max has been up to since the credits rolled on Max Payne 2, and what the São Paulo setting offers the story. It also underscores the difficulty in creating a third game in a series that always had such a distinct style.