Max Payne is another developer's IP, and one which Rockstar sought to imprint its own personality upon. But Max already has his own personality, one constructed from wry cynicism, verbose monologues, and overwrought similes. The snow-lined streets, grotty tenements and endless nights of Noo Yoik Siddy are as much a part of his character as his tragic back-story and superhuman reflexes. Moreover, as a game Max Payne is the antithesis of everything Rockstar had built up to that point - a fast and furious action shooter that runs almost entirely on a highly specific style, whose substance only appears when time slows to a gelatinous crawl.
To mess with any of these elements more than slightly would seem like madness. Yet Rockstar has the capacity to brute-force a solution few other game developers. What results from this is a curious hybrid, one where Remedy's noir-pastiche is merged with Rockstar's fire-and-fury approach to design. And unlike the company's other games, there are no rolling hills or urban sprawls for Rockstar to hide behind. Max Payne 3 shows us Rockstar, warts and all.