“There was an understanding that this will be the final Max Payne game for us,” says Remedy’s main man Sam Lake.
Remedy Entertainment’s defining moment was Max Payne, a slick and stylish neo-noir style third person shooter with what was at the time an unprecedented narrative bent. It was, similarly, also the defining moment for Sam Lake, who not only wrote the game and its sequel, but also provided his likeness for Max Payne himself.
After two excellent titles in the series, the rights of Max Payne transferred to Rockstar, who did an admirable job with Max Payne 3 in their own right as well. However, for many fans of the series, nothing could ever come close to the excellent work Remedy did with the first two games. According to Sam Lake, though, it had been decided for a long time that Max Payne 2 would be the studio’s final Max Payne game.
While speaking with Screen Rant, Lake said that the franchise’s hiatus following Max Payne 2 had nothing to do with relatively lower sales, but that the rights of the IP had been sold to Take-Two following the release of the first game, and as part of the agreement, it was decided that Remedy would make one more title in the series, and then that would be it.
“After the first game came out, the IP rights were sold to Take-Two and Rockstar, and part of that deal was an agreement that we would create the sequel,” Lake said. “So, you know, with that understanding, it was a nice situation. We have a lot of passion towards Max Payne. It was wonderful to create that, and to take certain ideas from the first one and… Making a sequel is great fun in many ways. But at the same time, that was all with the understanding that this will be the final Max Payne game for us. And you could kind of go through that emotional process while working on it, saying goodbye. So, from a creator’s perspective, that was a really nice way to go.”
When asked about his thoughts on Rockstar’s Max Payne 3 in 2012, Lake said that he appreciated that the developers decided to take their own direction, rather than trying to imitate what Remedy had done with the first two titles. He said: “Rockstar guys, Dan Houser and the others, they reached out to us at a certain point in development (of Max Payne 3), and asked if we would be interested to play it through and give notes, which was really awesome and really nice from them. And it, to me, I mean, it most certainly looked like a Rockstar game. And it was their take on this idea, which was wonderful, I felt. It was much better in my mind to go that way than to try to maybe imitate too much what we would have done.”
Since Max Payne 3’s launch in 2012, owing to the game performing not quite as well on the market as Rockstar and Take-Two had hoped, there has been nothing but radio silence as far as a sequel is concerned. For now, it doesn’t look like that’s about to change anytime soon, but hopefully, we haven’t seen the last of Max Payne yet.
Remedy, meanwhile, is working on other exciting projects. Control, on which Sam Lake is serving as the writer and creative director, is due out in 2019 for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.