Max Payne 3, the third-instalment of the critically acclaimed third-person shooter franchise brings bullet-time and GTA IV-style cover system to the table. By adding more realistic gameplay mechanics to a refreshingly new game world, the game is set to be a joyride for die-hard fans.

Max Payne 3 Launch Details
Max Payne 3 launches this week

Game developers Rockstar are all set to release the third installment of their critically acclaimed third-person shooter series - Max Payne. The original game was released back in 2001, when the developers imagined the protagonist in the role of a New York City police detective haunted by nightmares of his family's brutal killing and his only hope of survival on a bleak and depressing winter night was to gun down the perpetrators, at all costs.

The story action elements were built around Payne's killing instincts, coupled with a revolutionary feature called Bullet Time, which allowed the player to slow time and dodge enemy bullets while simultaneously targeting enemies. The feature was hugely lauded and drew comparisons with the special effects in the Matrix film franchise.

There were also suggestions of the Die Hard series of films, starring Bruce Willis, as Payne took on multiple bad guys, all the while outlawed for a crime he did not commit. The player's best chance of taking Payne through the campaign was a hair-trigger and exploiting the Bullet Time feature for all it was worth.

The sequel, released in 2003, introduced a femme fatale character, Mona Sax and hinted at a mysterious past for Payne, while retaining all the action elements that made the first game so popular.

Max Payne 3: Storyline [Spoiler Alert]

Max Payne 3
Max Payne 3 is set in sunny Sao Paulo including the favelas.

According to a synopsis of the story on the Max Payne wiki website, since leaving the police force and New York, Payne has drifted from bad to worse. Double-crossed and a long way from home, he is now trapped in a city full of violence and bloodshed and left to use his weapons and instincts in a desperate search for the truth and a way out.

The third game is set in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, amid the shantytowns known as favelas, affluent neighbourhoods, the port, bus stations and a football stadium, among other locations. Two popular films - Cidade de Deus and Tropa de Elite - have been cited as inspirations for game settings and cinematic scenes. The game world of Max Payne 3, however, will undoubtedly retain the vigour and originality of the first two releases.

"We're starting a new chapter of Max's life with this game. This is Max as we've never seen him before, a few years older, more world-weary and cynical than ever. We experience the downward spiral of his life after the events of Max Payne 2 and witness his last chance for salvation," explains Sam House, the co-founder and President of Rockstar Games.

The game will see Payne caught up once again in a world of deception, corruption and turmoil, besides unforgiving violence. With haunting memories of his past, Payne is forced to leave New York City and flee to Brazil where he starts his career as a bodyguard for Rodrigo Branco and his family. The game will also show a different Payne... with a bald head, a beard and a more muscular physique.

Max Payne 3: Game Style

Max Payne 3 Storyline
Max Payne 3 will benefit from the new RAGE games engine.

Rockstar have opted for a rather drastic shift in environments for the third game, choosing to relocate Payne to the sunnier climes of Brazil after watching him suffer New York winters and nights in the first two. However, the new game is expected to retain the film noir feel that made the first two installments so popular and there is talk of rainy nights, even in sunny Sao Paulo.

The graphic element of the game gets a revamp too, as the story will be presented through animation of still images from comic books rendered as in-game footage in a motion comic book style. In addition, the graphics could receive a further boost, with the RAGE engine and NaturalMotion Euphoria animation technology borrowed from Rockstar's other best-selling titles, Grand Theft Auto IV (GTA IV) and Red Dead Redemption (RDR).

Max Payne 3: Gameplay

Max Payne 3 Gameplay

Max Payne 3 features an improved Bullet Time mode - greater details of the game world will be presented in slow-motion, such as flying bullet-casings, etc. - while the bullet cam makes a return and a new Bullet Time variant - Environmental Bullet Time (reduced game speed during scripted events) makes an appearance.

Meanwhile, all world elements will be destructible and a new cover system, similar to the one in GTA IV and RDR, will bring a new dimension to gameplay mechanics. The ability to take hostages as human shields is also on the cards, while enemy character models react differently to minor injuries and fatal exit wounds based on the type of weapon damage and the targeted body parts.

All in all, expect more realistic gameplay with improved physics of shoot-dodging and character alertness to environmental effects with more realistic effects of falling on the ground.

Max Payne 3: Release and Availability

The game was scheduled to release 12 years after the second. However, there was some confusion on that score with speculation the release could be pulled back to eight years after the second. Finally, owing to technical constraints, the release was re-announced as 2012 and is now one of the most anticipated releases of the year.

The game has already been released in North America (15 May) for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The UK and Australia releases are scheduled for 18 May (for the PS3 and the Xbox). The Windows version will come to North America on 29 May and the UK on 1 June.

You can order/pre-order the standard and special editions of the game here.

Watch the Official Launch Trailer Below:

Design and Technology Series - Bullet Time Video:

Multiplayer Gameplay Video Trailer - Part 1:

Design and Technology Series - Visual Effects and Cinematics Video:

Design and Technology Series - Targeting and Weapons:

Design and Technology Series - Creating a Cutting-Edge Action-Shooter: