Max Payne returns in March

Rockstar confirms long-awaited, oft-delayed third-person shooter sequel Max Payne 3 finally set for release early next year.

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It has been eight years since Max Payne 2 hit stores, but Rockstar Games' rough-around-the-edges New York City cop is about ready to hit the streets again. Rockstar today announced that Max Payne 3 is expected to launch next March on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in North America and Europe.

Max is haunted by a traumatic past. And a botched theatrical adaptation starring Mark Wahlberg.
Max is haunted by a traumatic past. And a botched theatrical adaptation starring Mark Wahlberg.

Max Payne 3 is in the works at Rockstar Games' Vancouver studio, which took over development reins from Finnish shop Remedy (Alan Wake). The game will catch up with the now-former cop, who has spent the time since Max Payne 2 running from his troubled past. That has led him to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he works as a private bodyguard for a wealthy family.

Payne will fulfill his duties with a healthy helping of the series' signature bullet-time gameplay mechanic, in which the player slows the world to a crawl and Max acrobatically leaps into action, firing twin pistols at anyone in range. That's not the only way to play, as Rockstar is supplementing that approach with a variety of weaponry and a cover system.

Rockstar is also incorporating multiplayer into the series for the first time with Max Payne 3. The publisher has said it will feature "traditional" multiplayer game modes with full-featured support for character progression, clans, and loadout options.

Originally hinted at in 2004, Max Payne 3 was formally announced in March of 2009 and set for release that winter. It was then pushed to the following summer, and then to the fall. When Take-Two delayed the game for the third time in less than a year, executives refused to even confirm in which fiscal year they were expecting the game to launch.

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