The next entry in Rockstar‘s series of videos focusing on the design and technology in Max Payne 3 has been released, this one focusing on Bullet Time. One of the key indicators of a Max Payne title, bullet time is an essential gameplay element for survival, while at the same time making the title look cool and slick.

For Max Payne 3, bullet time is getting some significant improvements both in terms of its visuals and its functionality. As Max makes his way through the underbelly of South American crime he will come across large groups of enemies, but thankfully he has bullet time on his side.

With Rockstar’s physics and animation engines at the ready, Max Payne 3 can deliver realistic movements all whilst Max is accessing an unrealistic ability. The signature dives (both forward and to the side) are making a comeback as well, as is the excessive violence from the series.

As the video below illuminates, Max Payne 3 doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to bullet time — even though its main character is missing a few hair follicles. New flourishes like the ability to focus in on the last kill in a variety of contextual ways and predetermined bullet time action sequences fit right in with this grittier version of Payne.

For example, in Max Payne 3 a final kill takes into account the type of weapon Max is using and the distance from the target all to create a truly cinematic final kill.  Taking out a room full of thugs has always been satisfying in the series, and this is the next evolution of that.

Despite coming out of the gate with what looked to be some drastic changes to the series and main character, Rockstar has slowly assuaged fans fears with classic Max Payne fodder. With bullet time not just returning, but improving, and combat looking as silky smooth as it ever did on the PS2 there’s no telling how great of a game Max Payne 3 could be.

How do you think the bullet time in Max Payne 3 stacks up against previous iterations? Aside from bullet time what elements from the series do you hope to see return?

Max Payne 3 releases for the PS3 and Xbox 360 on May 15, 2012 and for the PC on May 29th.