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Rockstar Research: Revisiting the Ghosts, Goons and Graveyards of NJ & NY in Max Payne 3


Max in Bar

Corporate greed, nightclub shootouts, helicopters, vertigo-inducing rooftops, pill-popping, even Captain Baseballbatboy — the more things change for Max in Max Payne 3, the more they stay the same. Our beleaguered NYC cop pursues the promise of a fresh start working in São Paulo, Brazil, but as a couple of turning point flashback sequence levels reveal in the game, this descent into the volatile South American city’s chaos is sparked by a chance encounter that took place back in the snow and darkness of New Jersey — where the butchering of his family many years ago began Payne’s downward spiral — and with death-dealing gangsters again in hot pursuit. In Max Payne 3, we find our protagonist planted on a barstool at Walton’s Bar near his Hoboken hovel, busy drowning eight years of horrific memories in drink. A dispute with a young hothead from the local DeMarco crime family rapidly escalates to pistols drawn, then gunfire and a mob of angry Mafiosi out for Payne’s blood.

In our latest edition of Rockstar Research, we take a look at some of the real life locales that feature in Max Payne 3 from former Prohibition speakeasies to New York’s massive and historic cemeteries.  Thousands of pictures were taken by our Research and Development teams as they visited areas in Hoboken, Newark and New York City to help build an authentic backdrop for the levels set in New York.


Fantastically moody and atmospheric, glimpses of a couple of Hoboken’s bars from our original research scouting trips.

Cemetery 1

Left: Max visits the gravesite of his slain wife and baby daughter; Right: At the famous Calvary Cemetery in Queens, gravestone of a child murdered by NYC’s infamous Black Hand mob in the 1920s.

Max Cemetery 2

Top: A sprawling view of the real-life Calvary Cemetery, one of the largest in the United States. [Wikimedia Commons]; Bottom: Max Payne 3’s fictional Golgotha Cemetery.

Nice to see some amazing behind-the-scenes on Max Payne 3. Rockstar spares no expense to faithfully recreate and get inspired by real-world locations.