Max Payne 3 Multiplayer Details

8 February, 2012 - 11:41 am by

Max Payne 3’s multiplayer – a first for the franchise – attempts to counter anonymity. Charlie Bewsher, the lead designer on the game’s multiplayer claims “We want to make relationships. We want to make these players stand out for you.”

Payne Killer, the game’s take of King of the Hill, is a good example of how it tries to forge relationships. Designed as the natural successor to Max Payne 2’s Dead Man Walking mode, it centres on Max and his partner Passos as they fight to stay alive for as long as possible. Two players will randomly start the match as Max and Passos, while everyone else attempts to take them out. All the other players are, essentially, on one big team, hunting down the pair. To make things fair, Max and Passos are equipped with special abilities and powerful load-outs. Points are gained by injuring or killing Max and Passos, or by killing any of the attacking team. The player with the most points wins. Simple.

Now here’s the twist: if you kill either of the under-fire duo, you and your victim will become the new Max and Passos. Forcing you to work with your killer potentially creates an uneasy, awkward alliance, but if you are to survive for long you need to reconcile, quickly.

But all alliances are ultimately ephemeral, with allies being turned upon one another in an instant. “What we really enjoyed about multiplayer games is the relationship you have with other players when you’re playing,” says Bewsher. Like Gang Wars, the game’s flagship multiplayer mode, it’s all about forging intimate rivalries and breaking them, creating the familiar drama that would emerge naturally sat next to friends, huddled around a console.

It’s a strategy that runs throughout the game’s multiplayer. Even smaller features, like the Vendetta system, are designed to foster good-natured rivalry. If Payne Killer is about forging relationships before smashing them to pieces, Gang Wars’ Vendettas are all about fuelling competition. If a player is killed twice in a row by an opponent, they can choose to start a vendetta with that player. If they can successfully take them out, they will be handsomely rewarded with a XP bonus. But if they are killed by their target, the opponent will take the bonus for themselves. Those locked into a vendetta will be able to see each other on the mini-map, instigating a cat-and-mouse like scenario.

So far, it’s promising to be one of the most engaging online shooters around. I’m already feeling a little less lonely.

Max Payne 3 will be available on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on May 18th.