Acclaimed Flop: Despite great review scores and being regarded as an Even Better Sequel by the fanbase, Max Payne 2 sold poorly and was regarded as a disappointment by Take-Two. While no official sales figures have been released, it is estimated that the lifetime sales of Max Payne 2 were less than half of the first game.
Bad Export for You: The Steam store sells to French customers only the French-dubbed version. Not only said dubbed voices are not very good (which is subjective), but it suffers from several unfixed Game Breaking Bugs, which add sound glitches and systematic crashes at specific points of the game (for example, during the loading screen between Section I - Chapter 1 and Section I - Chapter 2). Those glitches can be corrected thanks to unofficial bugfixes, but are totally absent in the original Steam version of the game (which is unavailable to French customers).
In general, the Steam version completely suffers from audio bugs when played on Windows Vista or later, one of which makes it so no sound, besides sound effects, plays. The above mentioned fan patch fixes this, but requires an installer as well as the patch itself.
In Memoriam: The first game was dedicated to Gathering of Developers * The company that published the game in North America, later folded into Take-Two founder Doug Myres, who died a couple months before the game's release.
Game Mod: There are quite a few mods for the first and second game, notable ones include Cinema Mod and Payne Evolution for Max Payne 2 and the Kung Fu Mod for the original.
Lying Creator: Rockstar claimed that the constant cutscenes in the third game were in order for consoles to load the next part of the level without needing a loading screen, but when the game was released on personal computers with much faster hardware, it was found that the game would not allow you to skip the cutscenes regardless if the next part had loaded or not. Some of this was eventually patched out, but many unskippable cutscenes still remain.
No Export for You: For some reason, the current owners of the franchise rights decided that the second game of the series would be forbidden to be sold in Asia and France, despite the first and the third still available without any difficulty.
Writer Sam Lake modelled for Max in the first game, but was replaced by the irreconcilably different-looking Timothy Gibbs in the second, and then Max's voice actor James McCaffrey in the third game; the subsequent quality bumps are owed to bigger budgets.
Ditto with Mona Sax. Her model in the first game's graphic novel cutscenes was Carol Kiriakos. Mona was modelled after Kathy Tong in Max Payne 2, both in-game and in graphic novel cutscenes.
Lampshaded in one of the second game's fourth-wall-breaking dream sequences, when one of Max's doubles looks at himself and says "I've been switched! I didn't used to look like this!".
Subverted in regards to Max's voice: James McCaffery only acted as Max's model in the third game, yet has been the character's voice actor throughout.
In the second game, the only characters to keep their original voice actors were Max himself and, of all characters, Bicycle Helmet-Girl.
The Pete Best: The most popular model of Mona Sax is Kathy Tong, who replaced Carol Kiriakos in Max Payne 2, thanks to Mona having a much larger presence in the game (including being Promoted to Playable) and her Femme Fatale demeanor and attractiveness being amped Up to Eleven in that game. Interestingly, it's the complete opposite of Max's The Other Darrin, whose new design for Max Payne 2 was complained about for not looking like Sam Lake.
Real-Life Relative: According to Sam Lake's commentary for Alan Wake, the uncredited model for CEO Nicole Horne is actually his mom, Tuula. This was confirmed in behind the scenes materials with Game Informer.
Role Reprise: The only voice actor to reprise his role between games is James McCaffrey as Max himself. Credit to Rockstar, as they even went out of their way to get the original voice actors for Mona Sax, Nicole Horn, and Alfred Woden for minor cameos in Max Payne 3.
Saved from Development Hell: The third game was originally announced in 2009 and expected to release that same year, but after the initial unveiling nothing was shown from it until 2011. This allowed the developers to make a few adjustments based on fan reactions, such as keeping Max's original voice actor James McCaffery, adding a few levels set in New Jersey for nostalgic purposes, and keeping Max's classic look for the first half of the game.
Sequel Gap: 8 years between the second and third games. Also counts as a Time Skip since Max has also aged in real time since the second game, and has an appropriately more jaded worldview.
Troubled Production: The third game started development as a project by Rockstar Vancouver with a planned released date of "Winter 2009", but after its reveal it fell out of sight for two years before resurfacing. During that time, accounts of mismanagement and employee mistreatment such as the Rockstar Wives letter put Rockstar under controversy, and allegations from an ex-employee state that the game went through no less than three complete rewrites and had the developers putting in 16 hour work days with no days off. In the end, what started as a single studio endeavor became a project that required the full attention of Rockstar's worldwide studios to complete. It is estimated that 3 cost Rockstar $105 million USD to make, more than Red Dead Redemption and roughly equal to Grand Theft Auto IV.
The first game was initially pitched as Dark Justice, an isometric shooter set during a drug war Twenty Minutes In The Future. When the concept was reworked into a third-person shooter set in the present and 3D Realms came on as publishers, 3D Realms asked Remedy to title the game after its then-unnamed protagonist, leading to names like Dick Justice and Max Heat being tossed around.
Initially, Bullet Time was not a player-activated ability but was triggered by scripted events such as charging into a room full of enemies. Remedy found this method unsatisfactory for a number of reasons, such as the player having to chase retreating enemies while locked in slow-motion and the slow-motion effects losing their appeal when used over sustained periods.
Early previews of the original game featured Valkyr as a more fantastical drug that caused physical mutations on top of insanity, with such examples as a Giant Mook guarding the entrance of Deep 6. Early graphic novel panels◊ feature differences such as Max killing Vinnie instead of leaving him to die and what appears to be an early design for Jack Lupino, who looked much more like a cultist. Enemies on motorcycles were briefly seen in early footage, but cut from the final game. Concept art for Max had him dressed in a full trenchcoat similar to B.B.
For the second game, Rockstar suggested having Mexican Standoffs as a gameplay mechanic (similar to the later Stranglehold), but Remedy felt it wasn't right for the game. Sam Lake also said that, had there been more time for the game's development, levels where the player would take control of Vladimir Lem and Vinnie Gognitti would have been added. A multiplayer mode was planned, but dropped due to time constraints and Remedy's lack of experience with online features; What work was done morphed into the Dead Man Walking mode in the final game.
Early information about the third game mentions Max being able to take an enemy as a Human Shield, his painkiller addiction having effects on gameplay and Max having a different voice actor, with his face still being based on Timothy Gibbs. The former feature was removed completely from the final game, and Max's painkiller addiction is only a story element. Due to fan outcry, Rockstar brought back Max's original voice actor James McCaffrey as both voice and face model.
Looking through sound files for the game reveals that Max has lines for many gameplay events, including picking up ammo, guns, collectibles, generic lines for picking up painkillers, using painkillers, shooting civilians, holding painkillers at low health, having low ammo, having no ammo, having no pills, and much more - though some of them don't appear in the game.
According to unconfirmed insider reports, the third installment was to be set in The New Russia back when its development was starting out in 2005-2006. However, after its original developer, Rockstar Vienna, was shut down by its parent company and the game's development moved to other Rockstar subsidiaries, its setting was shifted to Brazil.