- "The way I see it.. there're two types of people: those who spend their lives trying to build a future. And those who spend their lives trying to rebuild the past."
- ―Max Payne
Max Payne is an American police detective who goes on a violent, rogue, nearly unstoppable, tenacious, and relentless killing spree against felons, spanning a number of nights, all the while looking for truth to mysteries he finds in his life but mercilessly bringing death to all those who ever caused him pain.
During his long and diverse crime fighting career, Max Payne works as a New York City Police Department Homicide detective and as a Drug Enforcement Administration undercover agent but abandons both posts when he sees the limitations of orthodox police work, instead preferring the chaotic, hot-pursuit-and-revenge-filled approach to extinguishing crime. With his criminal body count tallied in hundreds, Payne is responsible for single-handedly crippling the Punchinello crime family, crushing Nicole Horne's Aesir Corporation, terminating the manufacture and trade of the drug Valkyr, and, along with Mona Sax, wiping out the mercenary and gangster army of the Russian Mafia boss bent on taking over the Inner Circle - Vladimir Lem.
Raised during the 1970s, the son of Jack and Helen Payne, Max had a troubled background; his father was a drunk who often beat his wife and cheated on her, leading to her death in 1976. Jack himself died in 1979, leaving Max an orphan.
Max later became a detective in the New York City Police Department, becoming the partner and the best friend of Alex Balder. He married a DA worker named Michelle, six months after saving her, and the two had their only child, Rose, nine months later. In summer 1998, men addicted to Valkyr attacked and killed his family, after which Max vows to kill those responsible. He first believes that the ones who killed his family are Angelo Punchinello and Jack Lupino, the leaders of the Punchinello crime family, as well killing Alex, but he finally finds out, thanks to senator Alfred Woden, that Aesir's CEO Nicole Horne, is the one who ordered the death of his family, and he kills her on top of Aesir HQ, in 2001.
Two years later, in 2003, Max returns to the NYPD, and is given a new partner, Valerie Winterson. He begins to investigate assassinations made by a cleaning company, with the help of Woden, now sick with cancer, and Mona Sax, an assassin whom he met during his during his 2001 revenge quest. He appears to be in the middle of the war on the leadership of the Inner Circle. He later finds out that Valdimir Lem, a Russian mobster and a good friend of his, is the one behind the cleaner hitmen, as well being the lover of Winterson, and one of the people who are fighting for leadership of the Inner Circle. With the help of Vinnie Gognitti, an Italian mobster whom he also met during his 2001 quest, he confronts Vlad, who kills Vinnie and injures Max. With the help of Mona and Woden, he fights a final showdown with Vlad, who kills Woden and mortally wounds Mona. Max finally kills Vlad, but Mona dies of her gunshot wound.
Following these events, Max resigns from the NYPD.
Nine years later, after becoming addicted to alcohol and painkillers, Payne moves to São Paulo to work private security with his friend, Raul Passos, following the death of Tony DeMarco, son of the New Jersey mafia don, Anthony DeMarco. Max begin to work in Sao Paulo, Brazil for Rodrigo Branco and his brothers Victor and Marcelo, as well as his wife Fabiana. During that time, Rodrigo is murdered, and Fabiana is kidnapped. Max sets out to rescue her, but fails. With the help of a young detective, Wilson Da Silva, Max reveals that all the events that happened during his time in Brazil, were set by Victor Branco and his right-hand man, Armando Becker, as well with the help of the Crachá Preto gang leader Alvaro Neves. With the help of his new allies, Max is able to defeat Victor's group, the Unidade de Forças Especiais, and destroy the man's plans. Max defeats Victor at Sao Paulo's airport, leading to the latter's arrest. A week later, Max has arrived to Bahia on vacation, when he hears about Victor's death.
Max Payne grew up in the 1970's. His parents were Jack and Helen Payne. The family was far from idyllic. His father, a Vietnam War veteran, showed the boy little affection, (missing his birthday, etc...) Instead opting to "toughen him up." Max Payne remembers Jack suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, using violence against his mother and cheating on her. This led her to drink often and to an early death from unspecified causes in 1976. Since then, the young Max turned against his father. In one instance, he intimidated Jack with a toy revolver, supposedly shooting him in the head with it. Jack Payne died prematurely as well, in 1979, 3 years after his wife, leaving Max an orphan.
Early to Mid 1990's
Somewhere in between the late 80's and early 90's Max Payne grew up to be a police officer, he trained in the New York Police Academy and was the best and top young officer in his class, from taking down small fry crooks, to high end gangsters, he was quickly promoted from beat cop to detective for the New York City Police Department. At some point in his life, he met Alex Balder who became his partner on the force and both men have worked on side with each other since the mid 90's. Together they grew to be close friends. Their crime fighting efforts were good enough to attract the attention of media: busting a major drug deal between an unknown gang and some Punchinello foot soldiers and there once was a newspaper issue with the front page headline "Hero Cops" that was decorated with the photo of the two detectives smiling together; their exact heroic deed is unknown, however.
Payne remained close with Balder after his partner joined the Drug Enforcement Administration. The two would play poker together from time to time. Alex would occasionally prod Max to come work with him for the DEA, but Payne would decline, not favoring the most likely harsh conditions of undercover work he would get into.
At some point in the mid 1990's, Max Payne met his future wife Michelle. Max saved Michelle from two robbers. After a short talk with the woman, the two begun to hang out together, until they were married six months later, and went to Montauk on their honeymoon. Nine months later, On February 4 1998, their daughter, Rose, was born.
By the summer of 1998, Max Payne has been living with Michelle and Rose, is a Midtown South/Hell's Kitchen detective of the NYPD and has created a home and family he never had growing up - a house in the suburbs in Jersey, a loving wife, and a new born daughter. In his words, he was living the true "American Dream."
The Payne residence massacre
On August 22, Michelle and Rose Payne are murdered by valkyr-pumped madmen wearing green jumpsuits who break into the Payne residence. Max returns home during the invasion and finds his house in disarray. He kills the armed intruders, but is unable to rescue his family. All he is left to do is scream in anguish holding his wife's dead body.
After burying his family in the Golgotha Cemetery, the widower accepts Alex Balder's offer and joins the DEA, seeking to bring down the traffickers and producers of the previously unknown drug (valkyr) that fueled his family's murderers. The Valkyr Case is opened.
2001: The revelations of the Valkyr Case
Approximately three and a half years later, in October 2001, the members of the DEA catch their first glimpses of progress in the case, when an dime-dropper informant links the Punchinello crime family of the Mafia to Valkyr distribution, Max Payne infiltrates the gang as an undercover officer.
For two months, from October to December 2001, Max Payne poses as a gangster rising through the ranks, meets higher and higher ranked members of the crime family and tries to uncover the source of the drug. During this time, he is known to have come into contact with the Finito brothers and visited Lupino's Hotel on a regular basis. The highest ranking member he is able to get acquainted with seems to have been Vincent Gognitti. Max never manages to meet Jack Lupino, the original and main suspect of Valkyr trafficking.
As a covert double agent, Max Payne maintains contact with only two DEA agents during this period of time: Alex Balder and B.B. The two are also the only law enforcement members that have knowledge that Payne is undercover in the first place, a likely tactic aimed at minimizing the chances of any possible mole in the agency itself uncovering his identity and compromising the operation.
Roscoe Street Station
One December night, characterized by a particularly strong winter blizzard, Max Payne receives a call from B.B. who, citing important news concerning Jack Lupino, sets up an urgent and immediate meeting between Max and Balder at the at the New York City's Roscoe Street Metro Station, the Bronx.
The undercover DEA agent takes a metro train to the the station, but, once there, finds the atmosphere in it suspicious. A dead Transit Police officer alerts him to pull his Beretta out and Payne soon finds the area of the station filled with armed Mafia thugs who are eliminating any Transit Police officers on sight to hold the location and are acting as look-outs for an elaborate Roscoe Bank heist operation nearby. Max Payne engages the gunmen in firefights and proceeds to move through the station (both through it, and its old, abandoned and closed-off section) and the Roscoe Bank looking for any signs of Balder.
Payne eventually finds Alex Balder at Roscoe, but, whilst they talk, his friend is murdered in front of him. Max Payne then kills the last enemies at the station, and, with seemingly nothing left to lose in his world, he decides to exact his revenge and rage upon the Mafia by going after them in what is turning out to be the worst winter storm New York City has seen in a century.
It doesn't take long before Payne gets framed for the murder of Alex Balder. The NYPD, led by police chief Jim Bravura, initiate an intensive manhunt to apprehend him.
Hunting down Punchinello
Payne slowly moves up the criminal food chain, starting off with low ranking members, the Finito brothers, making his way to Vincent Gognitti, the Mafia underboss, and Jack Lupino's right hand man. Payne chases after Gognitti and, after a dangerous rooftop pursuit, leaves him bleeding in an alley after he gets the location of Lupino from him. After killing the fanatic Valkyr baron Lupino in the Gothic nightclub Ragna Rock, he meets a hired killer named Mona Sax and they learn they are both after the Punchinello crime family leader Angelo Punchinello. After both Max and Mona save their bullets, she offers Max a glass of whisky, which he doesn't refuse. Once Max drinks it, he faints, but not before hearing Mona state that she spiked Max's drink to keep him from getting her sister killed.
While unconscious, Max goes through a devilish nightmare, all of which included Max hearing the sounds of his baby daughter crying, moments before her death while remembering the old days of he and his now deceased partner, Alex, fighting crime. The nightmare ends with Max watching himself kill his own wife.
Waiting to catch Angelo Punchinello off-guard, Max calls him and sets up a meeting at the Don's restaurant. But soon he finds out that the meeting is a trap, as a group of mobsters tries to burn down the building with him inside it, but Payne manages to escape, and settles for attacking the Don head on and storms his manor, where he kills his henchmen (including notorious killers the Trio) and confronts him. But before Max is able to get a straight answer out of the scared Punchinello, Aesir Corporation's Nicole Horne and her Killer Suits make a surprise entrance into the manor, and kill the Mafia Don. Max quickly realizes that he is outnumbered and grudgingly surrenders to the mercenaries. Horn then injects him with an overdose of Valkyr, hoping to kill him.
The true enemy
Max Payne lives through his Valkyr hallucinations and torment. Following his new and unknown enemy Horne, he enters the Cold Steel foundry and makes his way to a secret military laboratory under the plant, where he discovers the Project Valhalla files and finds out that Horne arranged the assassination of his wife, as she was getting too close to the truth. But he is soon forced to escape the facility, as Horne's goons blow it up in an attempt to tie up her loose ends.
Back on the surface, Max gets another call from B.B., who requests a meeting at the Choir Communications garage. Here B.B. shows up, escorted by a group of hired gunmen. Max reveals that he has realized that B.B. was the backstabbing DEA agent who betrayed him and killed Balder. B.B. doesn't deny it and attempts to bribe Payne into giving up his vendetta, but he refuses and a shootout with B.B. and his mercenaries ensues, which ends in B.B.'s death.
Alfred Woden calls Max by payphone and tells Max to meet him at the Asgard Building. Once they meet up, Woden personally reveals to Max the existence of the Inner Circle and their wish for him to eliminate Horne without making any of her plans known to the public. Woden also reveals that he sent Michelle Payne, who worked at the DA's office before her murder, the documents about Horne and Valkyr. Woden promises to have all legal charges against Max dropped if he manages to accomplish the task.
Just then, a group of Horne's mercenaries attack the building and assassinates the Inner Circle, forcing Max to make his escape, but not before noticing seemingly dead Woden getting up unharmed among the bodies of his accomplices, revealing that he was prepared for the attack.
End of the vendetta
Finally, Payne makes an assault on the Aesir Headquarters. Killing everyone in his way, he again encounters Mona Sax and witnesses her get shot in the head. He then makes his way to the mainframe of the building where he disables any locks preventing him from reaching the penthouse.
Payne takes down the remaining guards covering Horne's escape in the penthouse and on the rooftop of the skyscraper. As Horne is boarding an armed helicopter and gets ready to depart, the broadcasting antenna starts to collapse when Payne cuts the cables supporting it with his weapons and fires at it. The falling antenna crushes and destroys the helicopter, killing Horne.
The police arrive soon after in full force and take Max into their custody. Alfred Woden, with his immense political influence, helps clear Payne of any charges.
At some point after his exoneration, Max Payne transfers back to the NYPD and works under the now-demoted lieutenant Jim Bravura in Homicide. In the unit, he gets to work with a talented detective Valerie Winterson. They solve murders together. Some of their successfully solved cases, such as the catching a certain serial killer, make newspaper headlines.
2003: The Cleaner Case
Investigating the crimes
In 2003, one rainy night, Max Payne intercepted a "shots fired" call and uncovers a mysterious group of armed killers posing as members of the Squeaky Cleaning Company. A visit paid to the Russian mobster Vladimir Lem reveals a brewing mob war between the Italians, lead by Vinnie Gognitti, and the Russians. Over a series of nights of pouring rain, Max Payne is once again thrust into the center of rapidly unfolding and brutal criminal events in New York City.
Mona Sax, who survived her gunshot wound in Aesir HQ, contacts Payne in his apartment to inform him they both have assassination contracts on their heads. Their meeting is cut short by the Cleaners who invade the apartment building and the surrounding area with the mission to kill the duo. Sax quickly escapes, while Max, after fending back the hitmen, finds out he has been spied on and monitored by his attackers' faction for some time. Many surveillance photos of him were taken, his apartment's layout was mapped, and his phone conversations have constantly been recorded.
Burning to get some answers about the people who want him dead, Max Payne makes another contact with Mona Sax, despite knowing that she is a wanted murder suspect in his colleague Valerie Winterson's case. This time, Payne meets the female assassin in her hideout - the abandoned Address Unknown funhouse on Coney Island. There, the two agree to pursue a lead in Sax's contact and a member of the Inner Circle, Corcoran, who, according to Mona, would have the answers they need, as the secret society is involved in their predicament.
They depart to the deluxe Upper East Side apartments but find the building already invaded by the Cleaners. Teaming up, with Mona monitoring the security system's cameras and Max Payne gunning the goons down, they search the area but find Corcoran already dead. While Payne encounters, fights and kills the field leader of the hitmen, Kaufman, Sax is arrested by the police, led by Winterson, who arrive at the scene.
Suspension from the force
In the aftermath of the shootout, at the NYPD police station, both his superior, Bravura, and his Homicide colleagues are furious at Max Payne for his cooperation with the wanted fugitive and Payne is soon assigned to desk duty while Sax is put into a cell. It does not take long, however, for more Cleaners, looking to execute Mona, to daringly storm the station via an underground parking lot which is connected to the holding cells. Max once again kills all the intruders; the jailed assassin manages to use the commotion to escape. Deciding that following the usual police procedure would not help him solve the case, the detective leaves the police station, looking to find Mona Sax again. Vladimir Lem unexpectedly shows up in his car and offers him a ride to Coney Island. Max Payne's actions at the station are presumed to have intentionally helped Sax escape, by the NYPD, and Payne is once again announced to be wanted by the police.
At Mona's hideout, the two fugitives meet and the long suppressed attraction they held for each other explodes in an intimate moment. They are suddenly interrupted by yet more Cleaner commandos, who have followed Payne, barge in shooting. Max and Mona make a run for it but get separated. When the hitmen's forces are obliterated, the remaining Cleaners flee and Payne uses the opportunity to jump into one of their vans undetected, ready to track the criminals to their base of operations and take the fight to them.The van arrives at a large area of the Castling construction site and Max Payne radios his location to Sax who quickly rushes to the location as well. The detective kills any thugs in his way and searches a condemned building rigged with explosives for any evidence or clues. He hits the jackpot when, at the top floor of the edifice, he discovers dozens upon dozens of body bags - the opponents of the Cleaners that have already been eliminated and whose remains were now being dumped here to be destroyed. Payne communicates with Mona, who herself is fighting Cleaners in the nearby construction grounds, to call the police to collect the evidence, but Sax refuses. One of the enemy goons inadvertently sets off the demolition charges and Payne is forced to quickly escape the exploding and crumbling building. Although surviving the blasts, the detective finds himself in an open field of the construction site, surrounded by the enemy commandos and snipers. Mona Sax provides covering fire with her Dragunov rifle from various vantage points and the two crush the remaining Cleaner resistance. The victorious couple has little time to plan their next move, as Valerie Winterson arrives at the site ahead of other police forces, whose sirens are wailing in the distance, and holds them at gunpoint. Protecting Sax, in the heat of the moment, Payne shoots and kills his Homicide partner but gets shot in the torso himself and loses consciousness.
The detective is found by the NYPD men and brought to the Memorial hospital where he undergoes surgery. Max Payne does not get much time to rest and heal his wounds there, as the Cleaners storm the hospital looking for him. In vicious gunfights, Payne witnesses medical personnel, security guards and even his lieutenant Bravura gets shot by the thugs. Finally fighting his way out of the hospital, he heads straight to Alfred Woden's manor where the senior Inner Circle member at last reveals him the person behind the mercenary army of the Cleaners who has feverishly been attempting to wipe out any of his enemies - the secret society's rebel Vladimir Lem.
Furious at the Russian Mob boss who has tricked and betrayed him, Max Payne assaults and kills Lem's forces at his club Vodka and thwarts their plans of getting to Vinnie Gognitti at the Italian gangster's used car lot. The detective finds Gognitti himself stuck in a Captain BaseBallBat-Boy suit rigged with a bomb and, unable to disarm it, or without any time to do it, decides to head with him to Mona's safehouse once again to regroup.
Already expecting him at the funhouse is Vladimir Lem himself, surrounded by armed guards and holding the remote detonator of the suit's charges. Threatened to be blown up with Gognitti if he does not comply, Payne surrenders and is taken at gunpoint to Sax's living quarters. There, Lem tries to sting Max by revealing to him that Mona Sax, who Payne has been enamored with, was actually working for Alfred Woden and that the senior Inner Circle member was inadvertently responsible for his family's death as he leaked the Project Valhalla files to the D.A. where his wife had been working, which Nicole Horne later discovered. Stating that Payne would never let go of his pursuit for revenge, the Russian mobster shoots him, leaving him unconscious once more. When Lem vaporizes Gognitti and leaves, the Address Unknown funhouse catches fire and Max Payne's motionless body is only saved by Mona Sax who was in the vicinity and braves fire and the dangerous crumbling installation to get to him. Although bleeding and light-headed, the detective rejects the female assassin's assertions he is in no condition to fight, as he designates the final location of their war with Lem: Aflred Woden's manor where the Russian plans to eliminate his one-time mentor.
When the duo reach the manor, they find that the enemy commandos have already taken up defensive positions, demolition charges have been placed around the site, and the bodyguards of Woden have defected to Vladimir Lem's side. Nevertheless, they aggressively storm the building slaying any resistance they encounter: Payne clears the bottom floor, while he leaves the second one to Sax. Upon reaching the inner chambers of Alfred Woden, Mona gives herself away to Max when she appears to know the hidden switch to a locked door; just when Max is about to confront her about her employer, she hits him in the head with a pistol, knocking him flat. Sax confesses to the detective her orders are to clean up the whole "mess" which has been happening, including him, but she hesitates pulling the trigger on Payne and, eventually, throws away her pistol, overtaken by her feelings for the man. To his horror, Max then witnesses her be gunned down from behind by Vladimir Lem.
Finishing off the RussianKneeling beside the woman's body, Payne gets an apology from Alfred Woden, wheeling in from his protective panic room in his wheelchair. When the elderly man is shot dead by the Russian, the the detective seizes the opportunity to jump and wrestle with the distracted mobster. Lem then uses his detonator to set off some explosive charges, which send them both tumbling through the ceiling into the basement, and flees the scene. Simmering with revenge and holding only the Russian mob boss' Desert Eagle to start with, Max Payne chases after his target, killing the last remnants of his men and avoiding more explosions along the way. The NYPD detective corners Lem in a large area just below the external roof of the manor where a platform supporting and holding a huge suspended glass dome is located. When Vladimir Lem climbs onto the platform from whose protective cover he starts throwing bombs at his assailant, Payne eludes the blasts ripping apart the room and shoots the beams holding together the construction. When it collapses and Lem is exposed, Max Payne shoots and mortally wounds his arch-nemesis. The mobster falls to his violent death with the whole detached platform, and the detective returns to Mona Sax's dying body. Amidst the disturbed NYPD officers searching the area for survivors, Max Payne kisses the woman for the last time.
Leaving the NYPD
Despite killing Winterson during the Cleaner Case, Max was successfully able to prove her connection to Vlad, and got off the hook for acting in self-defense. The public continued to regard him with suspicion for this act. Knowing this, Max and Bravura agreed that he would resign from the NYPD with a small pension. Max remained in contact with his former boss until Bravura eventually died of a heart attack.
After that, Max fell into a spiral of drinking, painkiller abuse and depression while being stuck in his new trash-filled apartment where he mainly watches TV, but when Max is outside he was able to see many of the Punchinello Crime Family members get taken down by cops one by one with others turning into street criminals or common hustlers. While many had seen this as a new era in New Jersey, Max knew that a new crime family would soon be coming in and years later the DeMarco Crime Family made themselves known as a power in New Jersey.
2012: The organs harvesting scandal
- "I ain't a cop no more."
- ―Max to Raul Passos, 2012.
Max and Raul later visits Michelle and Rose's tombstone once more, where Max sits, still thinking about how he hates himself for not being able to protect his family from the the valkyr junkies and how he also hates the world for not killing him too, but while Max is taking his last look at his family's grave, Passos and Max are soon attacked by DeMarco's goons. After they've killed most of DeMarco's hitmen the two are eventually caught by DeMarco, who orders his men to kill Max and Raul while being forced to dig their own graves. Max and Raul manage to escape after Max knocks out one of the hitmen with a shovel and throwing dirt in the others eye while a bloody headed Passos manages to pick up one of hitmen's gun and shoots the other before he can escape. Both men escape through the morgue and into the funeral home main office where Passos manages to call for a way out of New Jersey.
Early works in Aruba, Panama and Brazil
Max's first job is in the Caribbean. After that mission, he, Raul, and Marcelo start their second job in Panama, delivering something, later revealed to be money, to an associate of Victor's, a banker. The three relax on a yacht, along with Marcelo's friend Daphne Bernstein. Max goes to his room to sleep for a few hours, and when he awakes, he finds that the yacht is being attacked by well armed pirates. Max fights his way off the yacht, where he finds Raul and Marcelo taking some bags to a truck. While Max and Raul fight in the yacht to find survivors, Marcelo drives off with the bag.
Finally, much to both of the bodyguards' dismay, they find all the passengers dead. Following this incident, Max and Raul return to Sao Paulo for more work.
A few weeks following the Panama incident, the Brancos host a charity party, and invite many of their friends and associates, including Unidade de Forças Especiais (UFE) commander Armando Becker, detective Wilson Da Silva, and doctor Arthur Fischer. As Max looks at the view from the building's roof, Raul comes to talk with him, and tells him about some of the guests.
Moments later, members from the Comando Sombra (CS) attack the party and attempt to kidnap Rodrigo and Fabiana. Max fights the gangsters and saves Fabiana by sliding down a balcony. Max then enters the parking garage, where he saves Rodrigo from being taken in a van. Becker and the UFE then arrive to execute the remaining CS members, but are stopped by Da Silva. Raul then arrives and asks Max if he is okay.
A few days later, Max and Raul escort Fabiana, Marcelo, and Giovanna to Club Moderno. Max begins to drink and relax at the club, until the CS attack again and attempt to kidnap Fabiana and Giovanna, while Marcelo escapes. Max fights the CS at the club and eventually gets on Raul's helicopter. Max, Raul and Marcelo see Giovanna escape and Max rescues her, but Fabiana is taken away.
Rescue attemptsFollowing the kidnapping, Max and Raul discuss the situation with Rodrigo, Victor and Marcelo of the ransom letter sent by the Comando Sombra, and decide to make the exchange at the stadium of the Galatians FC.
Once there, both sides are attacked by the Crachá Preto, a third party build of former officers and soliders, and Max is then shot in the shoulder while the gang's snipers kill Comando Sombra members. The surviving Comando Sombra members run away in the stadium with the ransom money, with Max and Raul try to catch them. The last member is killed and the Crachá Preto steal the money.
After failing the exchange, Max and Raul try to save Fabiana by different means. The two sneak in on a speed boat to the Comando Sombra's base on the harbor near the Tiete river. As he sneaks, he sees Serrano, leader of the CS, on a boat speaking to two members. As he leaves Max kills the two members who were talking to him, and continues deeper in the place. There, Max watches a television, seeing that Fabiana is beaten up, but still alive. Following this, Max is involved with a large gunfight with the CS. Max enters the where Fabiana was beaten up, but finds no one.Max then goes to another building at the harbor, seeing Serrano taking Fabiana to his boat, in order to escape Max. Killing the men in there, Max finds the plans for attacking Club Moderno and a newspaper about Rodrigo and Fabiana.
Max goes to the pier and kills the men who are there. Max runs to the end of the pier, where he sees Serrano sails off with Fabiana. One of his men shoots at the fuel barrels there, destroying the place, but Max jumps and is saved by Passos, who arrives with his speed boat. As the two chase Serrano, many boats chase them, as well as foot soldiers who shoot at them from the docks.
As the two get near Serrano's boat, their boat is crashed at a small building, and stops working, once again missing a chance to save Fabiana.
A few days later, Max and Raul comes to the Branco HQ, where Rodrigo asks what has happen, as well saying that he think he will move with Fabiana from Sao Paulo, once he will get her back. As Victor, Marcelo, and Passos, as well Armando Becker, leave Rodrigo's office, Rodrigo tells Max that he had many plans, as well saying that he may be just another idiotic rich man like his friends, as well stating that he knows that Fabiana married to him due to his fortune. Max replies that despite this, Rodrigo is a decent man.A minutes later, members of the Crachá Preto attack the building. Rodrigo tries to lock down his office, but can't, as there is a problem in the system. Max and the second man who was at the office, the IT Guy, fight their way to fix the system. Once they fix it, Max tells to Rodrigo to stay in the protected office. A few minutes later, Max returns to the office, where he finds a now-deceased Rodrigo, with a shot to the head. Despite the fact that Rodrigo is dead,Max decides that he will continue to search for Fabiana. As Max takes a bottle of alcohol, he notices a bomb, and rushes from the office, getting caught in the shockwave of the explosion, but survives. Max kills the remaining Crachá Preto members. As he about to leave the building, he finds a injured Crachá Preto goon with a severed leg, Max pulls the goon out, who then tells him that Fabiana is held in Nova Esperança. Following the attack, Max shaves his head and sets off to the Nova Esperança favela.
Journey in the favela
A day later, Max arrives the Nova Esperança favela to find Fabiana. He calls Victor and Marcelo, who thought that he was dead. Max tells them what happened, as well revealing Fabiana's current whereabouts.
Inside the favela, a kid offers to help him find Fabiana. The kid leads Max to a street party, though Fabiana is not seen. A few gangsters approach Max, stealing his phone, sunglasses, Desert Eagle and watch. After being robbed, Max finds himself at a strip club, where Wilson Da Silva, a detective whom he was never introduced to, offers him a beer. Da Silva reveals Max information about his enemies; the Comando Sombra and the Crachá Preto, as well revealing Victor's connection to the latter gang.
The detective tells Max that Fabiana is up the hill in the favela, and gives Max an M1911 before leaving, as well saying that he will help Max if Max will help him. Max is soon involved in a shootout in the club, after refusing to give up his gun. Max then escapes the club.Max starts a large shootout with many gang members, and fights his way to Fabiana's location. He enters a warehouse, where he finds and kills the same gang members that stole his gun. Max continues his way to the hill, overhearing a talk between Marcelo and Serrano, as well seeing a bag of money, Giovanna, and a beaten Fabiana. Max storms the exchange after understanding that it did not go well. His gun is taken, and Serrano aims his gun at Giovanna. Max yells at him not to kill her, leading Serrano to execute Fabiana, and before he can do the same for Marcelo and Giovanna, the UFE attack the favela, leading him to take Giovanna and Marcelo with the money bag, and telling one of his men to take care of Max. Following this, Max remembers the events in New Jersey with Passos after killing DeMarco.
- "Here I was again, halfway down the world. And still looking at the bodies of women I was supposed to protect"
- ―Max looking at Fabiana's corpse.
After the flashback, Max disarms the gangster that was meant to take care of him, and starts to look for Giovanna and Marcelo, fighting in the way large group of UFE soldiers, as well witnessing the group's brutality.
Max later oversees a trade between the UFE and the Crachá Preto, much to his shock as he finds out that the UFE, the group that was meant to protect people, has been selling them to the Crachá Preto. Max follows the Crachá Preto second-in-command, Milo Rego, and watches him ordering one of his men to burn Marcelo alive, while he holds Giovanna hostage. Max rushes to save Marcelo, knocking out the soldier in the progress, but fails to save him. Rego then throws Giovanna from his side and draws his machete. Max is then able to block, disarm, kick at and kill Rego, escaping from the scene along with Giovanna. A few moments later, Alvaro Neves arrives to the place to find Rego dead. Giovanna then translates that Neves blames Max for the death of Rego.
A few hours later, Max and Giovanna leave the favela, and arrive at a more urban location of the city, where Giovanna finds a phone and calls Raul. The two hide in a bus wreck at a bus graveyard, where Giovanna tells Max that she is pregnant with Raul's child, much to Max's shock.
Members of the Crachá Preto enter the bus graveyard, and find both Max and Giovanna. Giovanna hides from the gunfight, while Max kills the soldiers. As more soldiers arrive, Giovanna panics and runs behind some barrels as snipers attempt to kill her. After killing the remaining soldiers, Max and Giovanna enter a factory building. Max jumps to the ground floor, while Giovanna finds no way down from the upper floor and stays there as Max kills the reinforcements. Giovanna then runs on a small bridge from more soldiers, but is saved by Max. She then warns Max out about more soldiers. Giovanna finally finds a bottom to lower the stairs for Max, and the two reunite.
As the two are about to leave the building, a Crachá Preto soldier enters and holds Giovanna at a gunpoint, who yells in fear. She is saved by Max, who guns down the mercenary.
The two then escape in a bus which Giovanna drives while Max shoots at soldiers that chase them, much to Giovanna's shock, who never drove a bus. After getting hit by another bus, they crash at a building.
Luckily, Raul arrives via helicopter. Giovanna runs to him while Max stays to kill the remaining soldiers and then attempts to get on the helicopter, but to his shock, Raul flies off without him.
After waiting at the warzone, Max is encountered by Wilson Da Silva, and Max drives off with him from the scene. At a garage, Da Silva reveals many facts to Max, including Raul working for Victor, more about the job in Panama, and other things.
War with the Crachá Preto
Da Silva drops Max off near the Imperial Palace Hotel, The Cracha Preto's hideout and front building. Once in the hotel, Max finds a group of kidanpped civillians in a room, and releases them from captivity. One of the people he releases is Serrano, now a beaten and "pathetic" man.
Max fights his way through the hotel until he finds a morgue inside the building, where he confronts Arthur Fischer, a doctor and one of the men behind the body harvesting. Fischer begs for his life and offers money to Max. Serrano soon interferes and confronts the doctor for his crimes, ultimately killing him as Max leaves the scene.
Max finds a bag full of C4 bombs, planting them on the walls of the hotel. After planting the bombs, Max confronts Neves at the top of the hotel, where he activates the bomb, causing the building to collapse. Max fends off Neves' men, but falls down as another explosion happens. Neves then comes out and aims his handgun at Max, but is shot in the head by Raul, who arrived to save Max.
After a short arguement, the two fly off the hotel, which completely collapsed.
Showdown against the UFE
As Max, Giovanna, Passos and Da Silva are outside of the 55TH Battalion Of The City Police Special Force Unit, after Max and Passos manage to escape out of the collasping hotel, Max and Giovanna are seen hugging with Giovanna telling Max how greatful she is to Max for saving her and that she claims it is not his fault for not being to save Fabiana. Passos comes in to thank Max as well before leaving with Giovanna with his last words to Max is "Try to look after yourself Max, huh? Life is worth living." Da Silva then explains to Max that Victor and Becker are behind the death of Victor's family and that Victor is a murderer and a dealer in human organs to help fund his political campaign. Da Silva knows that there is to much corruption involved in this problem for him to take them down legally, so he has Max do it, with a little help from Da Silva himself.After Max puposely gets himself caught by the UFE, he is able to knock out the guards that are interogating him, while Da Silva is causing a prison riot which helps out Max a bit more. He kills most of the UFE members in the building before finding the stolen Bronco security cd and finds out that it was infact one of the UFE bigshot members named Bachmeyer that killed Rodrigo and then had stolen the cd himself. Max had final caught up with Bachmeyer in the UFE main office where he was shot in the head by Max. After Max kills Bachmeyer he uses his card to finally get to Becker. While Max tries to kill Becker by choking him to death Victor holds a gun to Max's head before admiting that he is the one behind the murderers. Before Victor manages to kill Max, he blocks out his gun a gives a brutal headbutt to Victor head before Becker tases Max allowing both men to escape Max and his angry rage by locking the door behind them. Max assumes that they are going to leave the airport, thinking in his head that "rich people love to fly away". When Max and Da Silva go after Victor and Becker who happened to be at the airport, Da Silva goes to look for the Bronco plane by the hanger while Max fights his way through tons of the UFE members at the airport, then at the airport subway station when Max had to take a train to reach the hanger where he is ambushed by more of Beckers men. After a brutal train ride, Max reaches the hangar and sees Victor and Becker attempt to leave on a private jet. Max decides that he is going to do the "badass" act to take out both men. While Victor is able to get on the plane he leaves Becker behind to deal with Max and nothing but his bulletproof shield, his grenade launcher and his UFE goons. This proves to be no match for Max who was able to kill Becker's UFE members and severely injure Becker by shooting the grenades launched from Becker's gun in the air, which blows his left arm off along with damaging the left side of his body. Max then leaves Becker to die of his wounds. While Da Silva manage to reach the hanger Max picks up the grenade launcher used by Becker before getting Da Silva's car and killing a bunch of UFE members before reaching Victor's plane and destroys it before it can take off. As Max was prepared to kill Victor who had survived the plane crash but was badly injured himself, Da Silva convinces Max to let Victor live, stand trial and rot im prison which Max agrees to. Victor taunts Max, thinking he'll not be be found guilty by saying "You know I'll walk...' To which a pissed off Max replies with "You'll walk, with a limp!" and stomps on his leg, breaking it. Both Da Silva and Max wait for the real cops to arrive with Victor screaming in pain about his broken leg.
Max is then seen on a beach in Bahia watching t.v. a week later, when the news comes on, Max and the bartender see that the UFE were disbanded indefinitely for organ theft, murder, and weapons dealing. While Victor, who was found to be behind all of this, was found hung in his prison cell. It is not known whether this was suicide or a revenge attack that took place within the prison, as the bartender tells Max Local Justice, huh. Max leaves with a bag walking away on the beach to now enjoy the rest of his life no longer torturing himself because of his family's death, with a gorgeous sunset behind him.
Notable murders committed
- Jack Lupino
- Finito brothers
- Frankie Niagara
- Candy Dawn
- Rico Muerte
- Boris Dime
- Nicole Horne
- Vladimir Lem
- Tony DeMarco
- Milo Rego
- Armando Becker (either executed by Payne or dies from wounds sustained from grenade explosion, caused by Payne)
Personality and traits
Tackling insurmountable odds, Max Payne faces every situation with a 'John McClane' type wit and a very dark sense of humor which joins his nothing-to-lose demeanor.
Max has a poetic sense of describing his actions. He does not believe his doings are heroic and he believes he should be punished for his actions. Max's pessimistic view on life and his inability to have fun is very noticeable as Vladimir Lem points out to Max in 2003.
Max, along with his dark humor, is also very morbid. For instance, in Chapter 2 of the second video game, he sarcastically describes Vladimir Lem "a gentleman" who reassures his "girlfriend" after discovering a recorded phone message from Vlad to his secret mistress. He tends to make jokes even in the face of danger. One example is the conversation between Frankie "The Bat" Niagara while he is bound to a chair or while he is pinned down by The Cleaners, expecting Mona to provide cover fire. Max humor makes a return in Max Payne 3 as dry jokes, but still funny.
Max Payne pursues his enemies with deep perseverance, some even say fanatically. No matter how injured he might be or how many laws he might be breaking, when he sets his sights on his target, he refuses to let go of them. If it means killing all the enemies that happen to block his way, jumping on top of a moving train, avoiding destructive explosive charges, whatever it might be that impedes serving his revenge Payne is not hesitant to overcome.
Follwing the events of 2001, however, Max seemed to have started to experience a more pronounced degree of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and depression that has been kept under the surface for 3 years after the murder of his family. The dark and dry humor in his monologues are reduced during the events of 2003. His apartment was quite the mess. There was also a voice recording from Max's apartment phone that was tapped by the cleaners which shows Max calling a phone sex line to talk about the emptiness that he had been feeling despite divulging the truth and killing every major personnel involved in the Valkyr case.
This is possibly due to the fact that Max no longer had an actual purpose to live for having fulfilled his vengeance. While he was undercover with the DEA, he had to keep up a good appearance and an obsessive drive. Alex Balder was also a dear friend and DEA handler who kept Max "relatively sane" for 3 years and he was murdered in front of him in 2001, no longer able to support Max.
In 2012, Max is retired from the NYPD and in complete depression resorting to substance abuse with alcohol and pain killers. Murdering Valerie Winterson and the death of Mona Sax have added more layers of guilt and sadness. Whatever motivation that Max holds on to in the third game is desperation and survival. Despite this he seems at times to display a certain sense of honor, even with his dark and melancholic perception of the world around him.
In the mid 1990's, he wears a leather jacket (similar to the one used in the rest of the series) a white shirt with a necktie, a pair of jeans and black shoes.
In 2001, Max is undercover and therefore spends the game in typical street clothes: A black leather jacket, orange opened panther shirt, a white T-shirt with a necklace, black pants and black shoes. He is 6ft (183cm) tall.
In 2003, Max is back on the force, so he's kitted out in relatively smart office suit but still has his trademark leather jacket with a tie until he loses it in the hospital.
In 2012, Payne is seen in many different outfits. While still in New York, Max wears his traditional leather jacket, with a white collared shirt with a tie, a pair of grey jeans and stylish black shoes. Later, Max is seen sporting a casual gray suit, while in another instance, donned with a blue bulletproof vest over his clothes. During most of his time there, he has a beard, and later is seen with a bald head, wearing a white undershirt with shoulder holster for his hand gun(s), tan colored cargo pants, and tan shoes. He can also be seen wearing a colorful Aloha shirt while in São Paulo favelas.
Max had always kept himself in good shape at least up to 2003. He has an athletic build that fits him well in his clothes. With depression, alcohol abuse, and aging he is slightly overweight around 2005-2012.
It could be said that Max Payne has lightning reflexes, very acrobatic, is a skilled hand to hand combatant, being both capable of disarming enemies whilst he himself is unarmed, and also being able to neutralize enemies completely in hand to hand combat when necessary. He is also in good physical condition, and is a skilled handler of firearms, capable of operating many handguns, shotguns, SMGs, assault or sniper rifles, and explosive ordinances. However, for the most part, he seems to prefer sticking to his trusty Beretta as his main sidearm.
Max's pain tolerance is also impressive, being able to take multiple ballistic wounds from enemies and still being able to continue to fight as effectively as if he was unhurt. Max consumes Painkillers to recover from the most severe wounds, although this may simply be a gameplay element. In the story, however, Max shows other aspects of physical endurance: He survives a direct shot in the head (Max Payne 2) and overdose of Valkyr drug (the original video game), both of which are expected to have killed him. It is also apparent that Max has a, if somewhat limited, Healing factor, being able to recover a small amount of health after being wounded, although not enough to be able to completely recover from the damage of a wound without taking Painkillers.
Max also appears to be ambidextrous since he can dual-wield single handed weapons and only seems to be able to hold two more and more powerful guns as he ages and gains more experience. (2 Desert Eagles by 2003, 2 sawn-off shotguns by 2012).
In firefights, Payne can launch himself into a shootdodge to minimize his exposure to an incoming hay of bullets and/or take enemies by surprise, especially around corners.
Payne would play poker with Alex Balder.
There is a framed picture of baseball players at the Payne residence in 1998. Max could therefore hold an interest in the sport.
Max may have played the piano at some point as he is able to play a bit during the events of 2001 and 2003, albeit with a few mistakes. In the events of 2012 he takes small moments throughout his adventure to practice whenever he comes across a piano and eventually playing out the "soundtrack to his life."
- "One vice at a time."
- ―Max on his painkillers issues.
Max Payne used to smoke before 1998 but he quit soon after Rose, his daughter, was born, proudly telling Alex Balder he was doing this for the benefit of the baby.
Payne becomes an alcoholic by 2007 and also abuses painkillers. He can be seen smoking again too.
Behind the scenes
In all games in the series, Max is attacked at one point at his house: In the first game, Horne's test subjects break into the Payne residence, in the second game, the Squeaky Cleaning Company hitmen attack his new apartment, and in the third game, the DeMarco crime family mobsters attack Max's newest apartment.
Max Payne's Bullet Time has no official in-story explanation, and is referred to in the game manual as possibly being Max entering a higher state of focus, or what athletes call "The Zone." During one of his encounters with Vladimir Lem, however, Max says something that could possibily related to Bullet Time. Being held by Lem at gunpoint, just before being shot in the head, Max says "Einstein was right. Time is relative to the observer. When you're looking down the barrel of a gun, time slows down. Your whole life flashes by, heartbreak and scars. Stay with it, and you can live a lifetime in that split second". That could possibly have implications on how the Bullet Time feature works.
The character of Max Payne was at the very center of the development of Max Payne. The main premise of the game was based on creating a well developed, strong protagonist. The creators wanted to provide a clear backstory and a strong motivation to Payne.
The name "Max Payne" is a play on words, indirectly suggesting "Maximum Pain". Michelle, Max's wife, also noticed the words play, teasing her future husband during the first time they met. 
Due to the relatively low budget of the Max Payne 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. For Max Payne 2, however, as this game had a larger budget, Lake declined the honor, and the actor Timothy Gibbs was assigned to imitate Max Payne, giving Max a more rugged, worn appearance. James McCaffrey is the face model and motion capture actor for Max in Max Payne 3.
Max Payne is voiced by James McCaffrey. The actor was initially announced to not be returning to voice Max Payne for Max Payne 3, with Rockstar saying: "We need a voice that can symbolize an older, more mature Max Payne." 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." Such decision proved to be highly unpopular amongst the fans of the series, who bemoaned that it was yet another radical move in a string of changes for the third game of the series (after the revelation of the change of the setting location from NYC to Brazil and the dramatic altering of the appearance of the protagonist). However, in May of 2011, Rockstar revealed that McCaffrey in fact will return to Max Payne 3.
A 10 inch statue of Max Payne was released as a part of the Max Payne 3 special edition. It features the character in a gray suit holding dual pistols and spent bullet casings lying around him on the floor. The statue depicts a scene from the story of the game.
Max Payne games' TV shows
All the in-game TV shows featured in both Max Payne games are based on the character's life, perhaps except for Max Heat 7.
The black suit and tie Max is seen wearing at the beginning of Max Payne could be seen as one of many John Woo film references.
Xbox LIVE avatars
Mentions in other works
- 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. Two of the notes found by Alan Wake are read by the same voice actor that voices Max Payne in the games (McCaffrey), and might be references to the character. They do not appear to be part of the rest of the notes Alan Wake finds, which are read by another voice actor. For instance, the femme fatale that Max Payne refers to in the series is mentioned in these two notes.
- In the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, a bulletproof window glass could be found, with the words "Max Pane" written under it.
- In Grand Theft Auto 2, car respray shops are named "Max Paynt". Despite that the game was released in 1999, it's very likely that Rockstar borrowed the name from Max Payne, since they were affliated with the game as well.
- Max Payne
- Prologue (The American Dream)
- Roscoe Street Station
- Live from the Crime Scene
- Playing It Bogart
- The Blood Veins of New York
- Let the Gun Do the Talking
- Fear That Gives Men Wings
- Police Brutality
- Ragna Rock
- An Empire of Evil
- Prologue (A Cold Day in Hell)
- The Baseball Bat
- An Offer you can't Refuse
- With Rats and Oily Water
- Put Out My Flames With Gasoline
- Angel of Death
- Prologue (A Bit Closer to Heaven)
- Take Me to Cold Steel
- Hidden Truths
- The Deep Six
- Backstabbing Bastard
- In the Land of the Blind
- Byzantine Power Game
- Nothing to Lose
- Pain And Suffering
- Max Payne 2
- Prologue (The Darkness Inside)
- Elevator Doors
- A Criminal Mastermind
- The Depths of My Brain
- No 'Us' In This
- A Sign of Her Passage
- A Linear Sequence of Scares
- The Million Dollar Question
- Prologue (A Binary Choice)
- The Things That I Want
- In the Middle of Something
- Blowing Up
- Routing Her Synapses
- Out of the Window
- The Genius of the Hole
- Prologue (Waking Up from the American Dream)
- Too Stubborn to Die
- On a Crash Course
- A Mob-War
- Dearest of All My Friends
- A Losing Game
- There Are No Happy Endings
- Love Hurts
- That Old Familiar Feeling
- Max Payne 3
- Something Rotten in the Air
- Nothing but the Second Best
- Just Another Day at the Office
- Anyone Can Buy Me a Drink
- Alive If Not Exactly Well
- A Dame, a Dork, and a Drunk
- A Hangover Sent Direct from Mother Nature
- Ain't No Reprievement Gonna Be Found Otherwise
- Here I Was Again, Halfway Down the World
- It's Drive or Shoot, Sister
- Sun Tan Oil, Stale Margaritas and Greed
- The Great American Savior of the Poor
- A Fat Bald Dude with a Bad Temper
- One Card Left to Play
- Max Payne 3 comics
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