The last time we saw mob hunting, painkiller guzzling, hard-boiled cop Max Payne was in 2003, when he teamed up with sultry vixen Mona Sax to run-and-gun his way through the New York underworld.
He's had a lot of time to sit around and wallow in his own sorrow. You know, because his wife and family were brutally murded and all that. But instead of letting him retire in his jammies to smoking cigars and chug six-packs of beer through stifling cries of anguish, Rockstar has decided to take old dog out on one bullet filled, fury fuelled run.
Naturally there's bound to be a little cynicism surrounding Max's triumphant return, especially since Remedy, the studio behind the first two games, aren't involved. But, we've come up with a list of 10 reasons for why Max Payne 3 will be well worth the wait.
Here they are.
BULLET TIME'S BACK
The Max Payne series has always been centred on Bullet Time, and the third entry doesn't change that. Currently - though we're told it may still change before release - he'll accrue the time when under fire. So the longer Max holds out in a gunfight, the more slo-mo seconds he'll get to take out the baddies swarming around his location. Once his bar's full, it's time to break out Max's signature shootdodge move to leap around and blast enemies with twin pistols - just like the good old days. It's like he never went away...
MAX HASN'T CHANGED
Okay that's not strictly true, as his face is now modelled on returning voice actor James McCaffrey. But in all the areas that matter, Max is still the same husk of a man that we know and love. His life's still a mess, he lives like a slob and his police work is long behind him: it's just the booze and the addiction to painkillers that keeps him going. Maybe this time we'll get the chance to clean up his act?
MORE CINEMATIC THAN EVER
New to the series are cinematic action movements - essentially interactive cut-scenes. In our demo we saw Max leap off a factory balcony, grab hold of a crane's hook and shoot at a crowd of bad guys while swinging around in slo-mo. Expect lots of moments like these.
SAO PAULO, BABY!
The game kicks off in New York, with Max in a major spot of trouble. The ex-cop rather carelessly shoots and kills the son of New York mob boss Anthony DeMarco, and it's not long before the Family want revenge in the form of Max's life.
Our anti-hero realises it's too dangerous to stay in New York and flees to Brazil (like you do), where he takes up a private security job, introducing our gruff geezer to the highs and lows of Sao Paulo. It is clear that Rockstar have been heavily influenced by dark South American crime films like City of God and Elite Squad, and their take on the city is gritty, grubby and hostile. There's beauty in the world in the form of background detail, but Max's journey will entrench him in the seedy underbelly of Brazilian life.
IT HAS REMEDY'S BLESSING
Original developers Remedy have been consulted throughout the production to ensure this is a faithful continuation of the franchise. As for who's on development duties, the game is being made by all of Rockstar's main global teams working together, hence the rather vague inclusion of the moniker 'Rockstar Studios' in our Info Box.