The Payne residence massacre was one of the more prominent events in the Valkyr Case, as it was the catalyst for Max Payne to join the DEA, take down several prominent Punchinello crime family members, and eventually expose and bring down the Valkyr drug empire.
On August 22nd, 1998, three men who were high on Valkyr broke into the Payne residence and killed District Attorney office worker, Michelle Payne, and her daughter, Rose. Michelle's husband, Max Payne, came home in the middle of the break-in and shot the intruders, but he was unable to save his wife and daughter. While the event itself was brief, it had a prominent effect on Max Payne's actions and nightmares during the years that followed the incident.
- Main article: Project Valhalla
In August 1998, while she was working at the New York District Attorney's office, Michelle Payne discovered a dossier that had been delivered to the office anonymously; the documents detailed a defunct government research program called Project Valhalla. Michelle then assumed that the documents had been sent by mistake but still attempted to tell her husband, Max Payne, about them, but didn't as he seemed too busy with detective work for the NYPD.
Unknown to Michelle, the documents incriminated Nicole Horne, the President of the Aesir Corporation. Horne led Project Valhalla while it was a U.S. Army program, and she continued her role and kept the program alive after the government shut it down. The most notable result of the project was the creation and subsequent production of Valkyr, a drug that was capable of greatly increasing the stamina of its user, as well as having hallucinatory and manic-inducing side effects. When Horne learned of the documents' existence as well as Michelle's possession of them, she made the order to have Michelle killed in order to prevent any leaks of information about the project and Horne's involvement.
On August 22, 1998, a few hours before the home invasion, Max Payne met with his partner and best friend, Alex Balder, and Balder attempted to persuade Max to transfer to the DEA and work with him. Max declined the offer and told Balder that he didn't want to do dangerous undercover work while he had a wife and baby at home. Meanwhile, three Valkyr test subjects were given guns and twice their normal dosage of Valkyr, and then dropped off at the Payne residence. The test subjects broke into the house, upended and destroyed furniture, and spray-painted the Valkyr symbol on the wall near the front door. The three men then went upstairs to Michelle and Rose's bedrooms.
Max arrived home soon after the break-in and discovered his house in disarray, as well as the graffiti on the wall, and as soon as he began to move deeper into the house, the phone rang. When Max answered the phone he asked the caller to call the police, but the person, who had a voice of an older woman, told him that she could not help and hung up the phone on Max.
Payne went through the house and as he reached the upstairs landing, he heard the shouts of his wife and a man followed by the sound of gunshots. Before he could open the door to his daughter's room, Max was confronted by an armed and manic individual who, when ordered by Max to drop his weapon, opened fire on the NYPD detective. Max fired back and took both the test subject and his accomplice out.
Max went into his daughter's room and discovered her body under a blanket, and when he reached the bedroom that he and Michelle shared, he saw her body on their bed as well as a third gunman. Max shot and killed the third gunman then took his wife's body in his arms as he screamed in despair.
After his family's deaths, Max buried his wife and daughter at the Golgotha Cemetery in a single plot. Max then left the NYPD and joined the DEA to work with his best friend Alex Balder on the Valkyr Case, as he knew that the ones who killed his family were under the influence of Valkyr. During the next several years Max had reoccurring nightmares about the incident, most prominently while he investigated the Valkyr Case, and also visited the grave of his family members for years up until he fled to São Paulo, Brazil in 2012.
During the winter of 2001, Max went rogue and took down numerous Punchinellos, including Angelo Punchinello, and learned who the main supplier of Valkyr was: Nicole Horne. Max then went after Horne, and during his pursuit of her to a secret military bunker, he found out that Horne was also responsible for his family's deaths. After Max had found out the truth about his family's deaths Alfred Woden, a United States senator and a member of a secret society group known as the Inner Circle, found Max and promised him protection if he took out Nicole Horne. Max then stormed Aesir Headquarters and caused Horne's helicopter to crash while she was inside of it.
Alfred Woden kept his word and got Max exonerated of all the charges against him, and soon after the end of the Valkyr Case, Max transferred back to the NYPD as a detective. During the Cleaner Case in 2003, Russian Mob leader Vladimir Lem told Max that the Project Valhalla documents that Max's wife and daughter were killed over were sent by Alfred Woden to the District Attorney's office in an attempt to expose the project as well as Horne's position as the project's leader.
- Max Payne
- Max Payne 2
- "Previously on Max Payne" cutscene, Max Payne 2 (incident summarized)
- Prologue (The Darkness Inside) (briefly referenced)
- Elevator Doors (briefly referenced)
- The Depths of My Brain (briefly referenced)
- A Linear Sequence of Scares (briefly mentioned)
- Prologue (Waking Up from the American Dream) (briefly referenced)
- There Are No Happy Endings (directly mentioned)
- That Old Familiar Feeling (briefly referenced)
- Max Payne 3
- Max Payne 3 comics
- ↑ Prologue (The Darkness Inside), Max Payne 2
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Prologue (A Cold Day in Hell), Max Payne
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Computer files Max read in the bunker underneath Cold Steel. The Deep Six, Max Payne
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Prologue (The American Dream), Max Payne
- ↑ Prologue (A Bit Closer to Heaven), Max Payne
- ↑ Ain't No Reprievement Gonna Be Found Otherwise, Max Payne 3
- ↑ Angel of Death, Max Payne
- ↑ In the Land of the Blind, Max Payne
- ↑ Pain and Suffering, Max Payne
- ↑ "Previously on Max Payne" cutscene, Max Payne 2
- ↑ There Are No Happy Endings, Max Payne 2