When Rockstar Games revealed that the multiplayer in Max Payne 3 would carry some narrative elements, it left fans scratching their heads. Although cooperative play tends to follow a certain storyline, a competitive multiplayer element’s experience is usually determined by the strength of each team, but that isn’t the case with Max Payne 3.
Instead of running through a cycle of game modes, or allowing players to choose, Rockstar is letting a narrative run through the multiplayer experience, one that is influenced by the scenario that preceded it.
For example, players could first be participating in a mode that requires them to pick up a predetermined amount of drug caches before the opposing team stops them, but, once the next round starts, the MVP of the previous round could find himself the target of a full on assault. It’s all dictated by the amount of success each team, or player, is having, and what scenario preceded it.
For Rockstar, the Gang Wars is a natural jumping off point for a multiplayer experience, and can be influenced by Payne’s own Gang War in the single player campaign. Each round in the multiplayer will be bridged using a Payne voice over and the traditional motion comics to help give players the sense they are on a journey.
There are also some more traditional elements being injected into the multiplayer, including a feature called bursts. Bursts are a set of varied power-ups that each player can unlock based on the amount of success they are having. Things like bullet-time, intuition, and being undetectable by the opposing team are both unlockable and upgradeable, depending on when the player chooses to use them. Some of the other interesting bursts include one called Intuition that, when fully upgraded, allows players to see silhouettes of all enemies, and one called Paranoia that makes players see their teammates as enemies.
There’s currently no explanation from Rockstar as to how these Bursts will come into play — namely how they will be unlocked — but it seems like a clever spin on multiplayer. As does the ever changing and narrative-influenced modes, but only if Rockstar can find a way to keep them fresh after logging a dozen or so hours online.
What do you think of Rockstar’s blending of story and competition for multiplayer? Does this sound like a mode you would sink dozens of hours into?
Max Payne 3 is slated to release in March of 2012 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.