Why there should never be a sequel to Max Payne 3
I don’t know about you guys, but Max Payne 3 is easily one of my top games of 2012. And while I can’t confirm anything yet, it might just take the top spot on that list come the end of the year. Max Payne 3 was a cinematic thrill ride from start to finish, delivering an action-packed experience that didn’t sacrifice a strong narrative for gun-heavy gameplay, instead delivering a blissfully satisfying amalgamation of both. Throw in some incredible voice acting, an amazing soundtrack by HEALTH, and awesome graphics, and you’ve got one hell of a ride. Oh, then there’s that ridiculously addictive online multiplayer component, which is like super sugary frosting on an already delicious cake.
Yes, Max Payne 3 is the total package. That said, I really hope Rockstar Games never makes another sequel.
If I had to be perfectly honest, I would say Max Payne 2 was the perfect finale for what could only be called a tragic and beautiful film noir love story. That game featured some of the best storytelling probably ever in the history of video games, and it ended on a high note, with Max accepting the death of his loved ones and realizing that he could actually love again. Then Max Payne 3 happened, and the titular protagonist was living a pathetic personal hell.
Author’s note: If you have yet to finish Rockstar’s latest game, I would suggest you stop reading this editorial right now, because there are some spoilers a-comin’. You’ve been warned. You’re welcome.
The ending in Max Payne 3 was fitting for the series, accomplishing a proper resolution and letting us see a side of Max that we were glad to see. We got to see our hero — this character we actually came to really care about over the years — enjoying a drink at a small bar in front of the ocean, sporting a comfy shirt and sandals like a true white boy. He then stood up and walked off as the camera panned away to reveal a beautiful and symbolic sunset. It was a poetic ending to a tale of tragedy, drug addiction, alcoholism, and murder, and it was exactly what was supposed to happen. So really, where could Rockstar go from here?
Quite frankly, I think we can all bet that the developer would be able to cook something up if it did create a Max Payne 4, and it would probably be one hell of a ride. But would that be necessary? Is the story of Max Payne a story that needs to continue? Is there more to tell? Despite the fact that I consider Max Payne 3 more of a reboot than an actual follow-up to Max Payne 2, I won’t deny the fact that it tells a good tale and delivers an exciting final chapter in a long-running series of betrayal and love. Because of that, I honestly feel that a Max Payne 4 would only trivialize what the series has accomplished already.
But what about a prequel? Would a game about a rookie cop named Max Payne make for a solid experience? Yeah, it probably would. Hell, so would a follow-up to Max Payne 3 that delivers a narrative surrounding an entirely new sequence of happenings. And you know what? I would totally shell out $60 for either of those games and their subsequent DLC packs. That doesn’t mean I want those games to be made. It simply means I have faith in Rockstar — faith that was once lost and recently restored — as a developer. I know those talented individuals could make a game worth caring about.
So if I have faith in Rockstar, why do I want them to refrain from making Max Payne 4 or Max Payne: The Beginning? Honestly, because I just want poor Max to just catch a break already! It pains me that the dude keeps getting his ass kicked and is frequently forced into sh*tty situations. Max Payne 3 ended with a shot of Max beginning the rest of his life as the sun set behind him, and that’s how I want to remember the finale of his story.
Rockstar could deliver another winner if it developed a new Max Payne game, but it doesn’t need to do that. In an industry where franchises are milked ad nauseam, it would be refreshing to see a series end in proper epic trilogy fashion. The Max Payne series has been around for a decade, and in that time it successfully gave gamers a magnificently written story and astoundingly polished gameplay. It even managed to throw in multiplayer in the latest installment — multiplayer that didn’t feel at all forced but was instead a stellar counterpart to the single-player narrative.
Max’s story doesn’t need to continue, because it’s over. Max can finally move on, and we can move on right alongside him.
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