Rockstar Games Revisits Max Payne in the Portable Space

By John Gaudiosi ( - Wed, Jun 13, 2012

Rockstar Games’ Max Payne is having a very big year with the third game in the franchise hitting PC and consoles and the original game now available for portable devices. The groundbreaking game that pushed cinematic interactivity in its day is now available for gamers on the go. Rockstar Games worked with NVIDIA to bring the memorable PC action adventure game to the portable realm. A Rockstar Games representative talks about the new game and how it makes use of NVIDIA Tegra technology in this exclusive interview.

What were the challenges in bringing Max Payne to portable devices?

It’s all about the interface. Max Payne is a hardcore mouse and keyboard experience. GTA, at the very least, was built to be more of a casual game despite its go anywheregameplay -- and I think that’s why GTA caught on the way it did. The challenge was how to get around the whole run and look gameplay. What we’ve done is offered different experiences. The more hardcore gamers can use the HDMI out and play with a controller. But we think most people will be using our touch screen controls, where one button moves Max around and one button shoots.

How did Max Payne compare to your other mobile game, Grand Theft Auto III?

The good thing is Max Payne is a good game that’s graphically rich, but not as intense as GTA sothere are no streaming issues and we were able to fit the entire game into memory on a wider range of devices, including single core devices.

What will the experience be like for those who have an NVIDIA Tegra 2 device?

We actually use the same adjustments as GTA to a degree, so we give you high resolution visuals and more particles on screen. We lock in the frame rate for a smooth experience. Even back then, Max Payne had a lot of particle effects and they really come through on Tegra devices. Every shot yielded a particle, so we were able to embellish on that for Tegra 3. We support 1600 x 1200 and higher even, so the textures hold up and it looks sharp and pretty.

Did you have to update the characters for this game?

We really didn’t have to. Remedy was nice enough to give us a lot of the source assets that they had and we used them. We offer a ton of customization for players to choose how they play the game. And we have tablet features like the ability to upload your stats to our social club so players can share their kill count, how many pain killers they took and all those other goofy little things with their friends.

Have you added anything beyond what was in the original PC?

No. This is a game that was done by a very skilled developer and we all know and love Remedy. They’re fantastic people, and it’s their game. We’re proud of the hand that we had in that game as well, but it’s a game that we believe to be a classic. We just want to leave it alone. You don’t want an alternate ending for Max all of a sudden where his whole family really lived at the end and all this other stuff, so you avoid those things. This is the game you remembered and loved. We just make sure it looks good on the device that you play and we’ll give you a new way to play it.

Can you walk us through the process of taking a game like Max Payne and bringing it mobile?

We’re pretty slow in general with how many games we put out in a year and the same holds true with our mobile content. There are other places that can turn out mobile games in a few weeks, but it’s a pretty intense thought process. It passes through everybody’s hands, producer, executive producer, developer. In some cases like with GTA III, we have Sam Houser involved and the guys from Rockstar North, including a lot of the original development team. It becomes a slow and methodical process. It’s taken about a year to bring Max Payne to mobile devices. There’s also a lot of balancing and tuning and making sure these games are accessible to the tablet audience.