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Max Payne 3: Remedy was consulted

"They've been extremely supportive."

Rockstar "discussed" Max Payne 3 with estranged series creator and Alan Wake maker Remedy Entertainment.

"They've been extremely supportive of our work," Rockstar's elusive Jeronimo Barrera, VP of product development, told GameSpot.

"Staying true to each core element of Max was always a major focus, and that's actually something that we discussed with Remedy during development."

News of Remedy's albeit sideline involvement will allay fears that Max Payne 3 will lose what made the original games so special.

"The game is very true to the original games in terms of gameplay, aesthetics, and visual and narrative themes, although [it's] updated to take advantage of the past nine years of game development," said Barrera.

"Yes, it has moved from a wet or snowy corrupt vision of New York to a sometimes wet and equally corrupt vision of a booming modern-day Brazil, but I don't think they are otherwise that different."

"In his own way, Max is probably the most tortured and put upon of all game heroes."

Jeronimo Barrera, VP product development, Rockstar

"Throughout development, we have always worked to maintain and evolve the elements that have made the Max Payne series so beloved and so groundbreaking," Barrera added, name-checking bullet-time slow motion, Max's internal monologues and the graphic novel-style cut-scenes.

"All these things are present in some way or other in Max Payne 3, along with several other elements from the original games," Barrera said. "Although all have evolved significantly since the last game, as it would be odd if they hadn't!"

The story of Max Payne 3 picks up "quite a few years" after the events of Max Payne 2. Max is working as a private security guard in Sao Paolo, Brazil, having left the New York Police Department. Max drunk many of the intervening years away.

One of the most striking images associated with Max Payne 3 has been Max with a bald head. But he's not balding; he has shaved his hair off.

"Max is not too much older than he was in Max Payne 2, and the scene of Max shaving his head comes at a pivotal point in the story that in many ways echoes similar moments in the earlier games," Barrera explained. At that point, Max is very much out of his depth.

"Max has always been described as a man on the edge, and he's often confronted by lose-lose situations that are beyond his control. In a moment of desperation, he decides that the best way to confront his enemies is to change his appearance.

"In his own way, Max is probably the most tortured and put upon of all game heroes, and we really wanted to show the impact of all that suffering and angst on his hard-bitten but lonely personality and how that suffering has impacted his behavior."

Max Payne 3 was announced in 2009 but was subsequently buried within Rockstar's schedule. The game has now firmly resurfaced.