'Max Payne 3' storyline includes soccer

An early mission in Max Payne 3 revolves around a soccer match in Brazil. Courtesy of Rockstar Games

The third installment of the "Max Payne" series is out now. And thanks to video game publisher powerhouse Rockstar Games, fans can finally shoot bad guys in slow motion again. We talked to Rob Nelson, Art Director on "Max Payne 3" and he tells us what to expect from the new game and how soccer plays a pivotal part in the story.

Fans haven’t played as Max Payne since 2003 in "Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne." Was it Rockstar’s plan to wait nearly 10 years to resurrect the MP franchise?

It wasn't a strategy. Games take a very long time to make and it takes a lot of people as well. We always intended to come back to Max, but we couldn’t start until we had a team free to do it. And by the time we had the time to do it, games had become much more complicated to make. That’s why this game has collaboration between so many of our studios. It fluctuated at various points, but I would say there were no less than a couple of hundred people working on this game at one time. We’ve been rolling on it really steady for the past 3-4 years and that’s just in terms of full on production.

The Max Payne series is known for the “bullet-time” visual effect. How did Rockstar make it bigger and better this time around?

It was always a cool feature and it had to be a central part of the game, but it needed to hold up to today’s standards. So anywhere we could expand on it—we did. That meant more detail to the scene and the return of the bullet time camera. When you slow down time so much in a game there’s no way to make a bullet come out of a gun other than making a model of a bullet and make it come out of the gun. There’s no hiding.

A huge portion of the game takes place in Sao Paulo Brazil, where soccer dominates the airwaves. Does Max encounter any soccer?

One early mission takes place in a soccer stadium and you get to play with the space. Max has to duck in and out of the stands and go through different back areas of the stadium. We didn’t model it after one specific stadium, but we created a home team and you get to see their merchandise and logo all over the stadium.

Is Max Payne a huge soccer fan?

Max has a funny, sort of stereotypical American viewpoint of soccer—so we played that up.

Tell us more about the team.

The name of the home team is the Galatians. There are some pretty diehard soccer fans in Rockstar and they were very keen about the color and style of the jerseys and everything else relating to the team. The team actually plays a role in the story. One of players on the team—he’s actually woven into the narrative.

So you’re saying Max Payne will kill a soccer player?

You’ll have to play and see.

Max Payne 3 is available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.