Max Payne 3 is the next step for the series, but also serves a broader purpose as Rockstar's next evolution of using the Euphoria engine. Since committing to use Euphoria for its games, Rockstar has been making strides with the physics engine to create more realistic reactions.
"I think we had a good jump from GTA4 to Red Dead, and you're going to see another good jump from Red Dead to Max," said art director Rob Nelson.
Nelson told GameSpot that Euphoria gives back what you put into it. "It's basically a set of behaviors that you can tune, and so it's really how much effort you put into that," he said. "With Max, we put a lot of effort into the different aspects of Euphoria and how we use it." He says the hit reactions were especially important, since the bullet camera shows the effects up-close.
"We're also doing something new with Max where we're doing physics-animation hybrids, like when he shoot-dodges; that's physics and an animation pose library running together," he said. "You need to be able to control where he's pointing but at the same time he needs to behave realistically depending on his environment. He has to feel aware of his surroundings. So that was a big challenge and something we spent a lot of time tuning."
As for newer features that stray from Max Payne's history, like the over-the-shoulder aim and cover mechanic, he says those are more "ancillary additions" that don't detract from the core run-and-gun gameplay style.