To say that Max Payne 3 has had a development cycle as rocky as the life of the titular detective would be a gross understatement. The game has been in development for years and was originally slated for a release back in 2009. Unfortunately, mismanagement problems at Rockstar were cited as the main reason that the game was then delayed to 2010.

Another delay was revealed when Max Payne 3 was absent from Take-Two‘s release schedule for 2011-2012, thus pushing it out of 2011. However, in June rumors had begun to circulate regarding a potential December release window.  Last week, Rockstar released the first Max Payne 3 trailer for the game, showcasing many of the features they had discussed earlier. As with L.A. Noire, Rockstar has remade the first trailer, but this time with pop-up factoids that appear throughout the video. These text balloons provide further depth and give us some more details regarding the third installment in the franchise.

The pop-up trailer confirms a few details that we have already reported on, including use of the Euphoria physics engine and destructible environments. It does provide some new insights into why Max has headed to São Paulo, Brazil eight years after the end of the second game. One of Max’s old acquaintances from the academy, Raul Passos shows up in NYC offering Max a job just when he needs a way out of the city (coincidence? I’m going to guess no). Passos has made a living providing private security in Central and South America, and he asks Max to come along on a job. Max is then put in charge of protecting a family of VIPs in São, Paulo. Considering Max’s luck with families, something happens to them which causes Max to go from leather jacket, Sam Spade wannabe to bald-headed tank top wearing man on fire.

Melee combat is also going to be more significant this time around as well. In the previous Max Payne games, melee combat was very stiff, but the trailer teases faster paced melee as a means of obtaining more ammo. Considering how many bad guys there have been in the previous games, chances are you’re going to need every bullet you can get.

Speaking of bullets, the trailer also discusses how the bullets are all individually rendered, and that combining dodging and the franchise’s signature Bullet Time together can allow you to sidestep and maneuver around individual rounds. I could go on and on, but I know you probably just want to watch the pop-up trailer, which is embedded below:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAbapd56OJA

It has been quite some time since the last Max Payne game and perhaps a bit of review is in order. Max Payne is a Noir themed, run and gun, third-person shooter franchise that debuted in 2001. It tells the story of NYPD Detective Max Payne whose family is murdered by drug addicts who are let lose on Max’s family by a criminal conspiracy attempting to protect its interests. His quest for the truth quickly spirals out of control and morphs into a quest for vengeance against the people responsible. The sequel subtitled The Fall of Max Payne was more of a love story between Max and a gun-for-hire from the first game named Mona Sax. By the end of the first two games, Max has lost everything and has hit absolute rock bottom. His career is in shambles, his family is dead, and he literally has nothing left to lose.

Max Payne 3 represents the first effort by Rockstar’s new Rockstar Studios label, a cross-studio collaboration consisting of studios from around the world. Currently, Max Payne 3 is set to release sometime in early 2012.

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