Max Payne is the main character of the Max Payne video game series.


Max Payne (possibly) in Max Payne 3.

Max Payne was an officer of the NYPD before his wife and baby daughter were murdered by Valkyr junkies.

Three years after this, Max's best friend Alex Balder is murdered and Max is framed. With nothing to lose, Max goes after the mafia during the worst winter storm in a century.

Unfortunately for Max, the mafia's roots go too deep and the government gets involved.

He eventually falls in love with Mona Sax.


In Max Payne, Max is undercover and so spends the game in typical street clothes: A leather jacket, a white T-Shirt and a pair of black pants. All very unassuming and very reminiscent of Neo, the hero from The Matrix, with whom he shares the bullet time ability. Also, due to the relatively low budget of the game, Remedy had to use their staff in the in-game graphic novel scenes, leading to Max being played by Sam Lake, the head writer of the franchise, who gave him his trademark sneer look. In the second game, Max is back on the force, so he's kitted out in relatively smart office suit but still has his trademark leather trenchcoat. As this game had a larger budget, Max is now played by actor Timothy Gibbs who gives Max a more rugged, worn appearance than he had in the first game. However, through both games, Max is voiced by James McCaffrey. In the Payne movie, Mark Wahlberg portrayed Max Payne.


Max Payne

Both games in the franchise are described as Film Noir stories and even though they both follow different strands with the original game being a revenge thriller and the sequel being more of a True Romance-style love story, in both games, Max fits the tragic Noir hero archetype perfectly. Tackling insurmountable odds, Max faces every situation with a 'John McClane' type wit and a very dark sense of humor which fits perfectly with his nothing-to-lose demeanor. Also, as he is the hero, he has the power to enter bullet time, something only he and Mona can do, and the ability of being able to take vast amounts of damage while only needing a few painkillers to heal.

Max's bullet time is said to be Max going into a higher state of focus or what athletes call "The Zone".

Max has a poetic sense of describing his actions. He does not believe his actions are heroic and he believes he should be punished for his actions during Max Payne. Max's pessimistic view on life and his inability to have fun is very noticable as Vlad points out to Max in Max Payne 2.

Max also along with his dark humour is very morbid, in the original Max Payne he tends to make jokes even in the face of danger one example is the conversation between Frankie "The Bat" Niagra, Whereas in Max Payne 2 he makes no jokes and is hardly ever seen with a hint of humour.



  • In the Max Payne film, Payne was portrayed by Mark Wahlberg[1].
  • In the first game, Max Payne is modeled after Sam Lake, the writer of Max Payne. For Max Payne 2, however, Lake declined the honor, and the actor Timothy Gibbs was assigned to be the model for Max Payne. [2]
  • Actor James McCaffrey provided the voice of Max Payne in both games.
  • James McCaffrey will not be returning to voice Max Payne for Max Payne 3, Rockstar saying "We need a voice that can symbolize an older, more mature Max Payne." However, when asked about a new voice actor, Rockstar said "we are pretty good at casting. Don't expect any major Hollywood names, but maybe minor names."
  • The name 'Max Payne' is a play on words, indirectly suggesting 'Maximum Pain'. Another Remedy game, Alan Wake, is another play on words: taking his first initial and his last name reads "Awake", a reference to Wake's fight with the darkness.
  • In the Remedy game Alan Wake, multiple easter eggs referring to Max Payne can be found. One of the easter eggs suggest that Max was killed thirteen years after his revenge on Horne, that he was killed by a woman, and that he died in a city during the winter, likely New York.
  • In Max Payne there are many homages and references to John Woo. For example, the black suit and tie Max is seen wearing at the beginning, as well as the dual guns and jumping and shooting in slow motion. One of the game's difficulty levels is named Hard Boiled, and John Woo's name is mentioned as a password for entering into a gangster hideout, Also a quote by the main character when he is ambushed is "I made like Chow Yun Fat".


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