Rockstar Research: The Weapon-Wielding Gangsters and Special Police Commandos of Max Payne 3

Posted on January 9 2012, 4:31pm | Author: R* A | Filed Under: Games

Escaping the traumatic events of Max Payne 2 and all of the corruption, betrayal, peril and pain of his existence as an NYPD detective, Max Payne breaks south – way south, to São Paulo, Brazil where he takes up a new gig working private security for a wealthy local family in Max Payne 3. As one might imagine, amidst the volatile disparity of towering wealth and profound, desperate poverty in São Paulo, this new job turns out to be not quite as cushy as hoped

In addition to all of the intense technical development and meticulous game design being poured into Max Payne 3 to create an advanced and cutting-edge action-shooter gameplay experience - as always, painstaking effort has also been made by our development teams and internal Rockstar Research department to ensure that the vibe and presentation of São Paulo - touchstones like Paulistano culture, police, weaponry and other elements that will not only contribute to the game’s single-player narrative, but also the single and multiplayer environments and characters - are as authentic as possible. 

Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be offering a glimpse into just some of the behind-the-scenes research and production design done over the course of Max Payne 3's development, from information and asset-gathering trips down to São Paulo, to local casting for pedestrian types in all the game's levels, to extensive study of municipal law-enforcement wings, weaponry and much more.

(Left: São Paulo's own 'elite squad' of special forces, the GATE [Grupo de Acões Táticas Especiais] in action. [Photo via Wikimedia Commons]; Right: One of Max Payne 3's fictionalized special force commandos from the UFE [Unidade de Forças Especiais].)

Fighting against the criminals, thugs and kidnappers in Max Payne 3’s São Paulo are the Unidade de Forças Especiais (UFE), a fictional special forces police unit much like similar counterparts featured in the documentaries Favela Rising and Bus 174, and feature films like Carandiru, Elite Squad (Tropa de Elite) and its wildly successful sequel Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (Tropa de Elite 2). Real-life Brazilian teams include the GATE (Grupo de Ações Táticas Especiais, or Special Actions and Tactics), GARRA (Grupo Armado de Repressão a Roubos e Assaltos, or Robbery and Assault Repression) and GOE (Grupamento de Operações Especiais, or Special Operations Group) teams in São Paulo, and the feared BOPE (Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais) squad of Rio de Janeiro. Great care was taken to obtain research on the uniforms, equipment and weaponry favored by these Brazilian police—including domestically-manufactured assault rifles and a wide array of exotic firepower imported from the US, Germany, Italy and other gun-manufacturing countries.

Facing off against the city's elite police squads are well-armed and highly organized gangs who rule São Paulo's favelas. Even though Brazil has very strict laws on civilian gun ownership, the gangs benefit from a stream of illegal weapons traffic flowing across the country's massive, almost unpoliceable shared borders with ten other South American countries. With access facilitated to some of the most powerful assault rifles dirty money can buy, the favela gangs boast intimidating firepower to wage war against rival drug gangs, special police forces, or anyone else brave or foolhardy enough to provoke them.   

(Left: Rockstar developers tour the favelas of São Paulo to gather level design inspiration; Right: Max Payne descends into the game world's re-creation.)

Gathering assets to help accurately inform and create faithful game level environments set in São Paulo, Rockstar game developers and designers took several trips to the area to extensively document everything from the glamour and exclusivity of posh spots like Avenida Morumbi, Avenida Paulista and the Jardins district, to harsh high-crime locales like Favela Japiaçu (Favela do Nove) and the infamous Edificio São Vito (aka Treme Treme or the Vertical Favela). Thousands of pictures were taken for mood and texture, local fashions and outfits were scanned for reference, and a diverse array of Paulistanos from all walks of life — from bossa nova singers to jujitsu champions to favela gang members — were consulted and interviewed to provide thorough background on the dazzling and dangerous world in which the game is set.

Look for this continuing series on the research behind Max Payne 3 in the weeks and months leading up to the game’s release including a look at the casting of São Paulo's residents, what inspired some of the unique levels you'll find yourself shooting your way out of and much more...

  • Karanistikon January 27 2013, 8:52amReplyFlag
    • RockyClevelandon April 2 2012, 4:23pmReplyFlag
      It is amazing how into this game I am, I have went in the past two months studying the polcie forces of Rio De Janiero and Sao Paulo, and its intresting. The police are classifed in three sectors Civil Police, Federal Police, and then Military Police. In civil you have the CORE(Rio de Janiero), GARRA(Sao Paulo), and GOE(Sao Paulo).
      In Federal you have COT. In military you have a wide range of them put in many small cities except for the main and most notourous which are known for killing and some are corrupt and work with favela gang members, The Bope. This guys carry explosvie and more firepower, i suspect in the storyline that due to Fabiana bronco'' capturing it may have to do with this connection with UFE, doing a deal, just guessing. Also watched all those movies including R Kemp, and how there are 3rd command and gangs and are the second largest supplier of cocaine. Also the Gate look cool with there uniform and wanted that to be unfirom you vs them in rather there beret hat with short sleve undifroms, but it understand of it due to authenticty.
    • simiPROon March 24 2012, 6:34pmReplyFlag
      @blacklobby Man, Max Payne and Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne both are avaliable on Steam, you can buy 'em there.
      • SacramentoFCon March 13 2012, 2:34pmReplyFlag
        The BOPE is at MAX PAYNE 3 ?
        • blacklobbyon February 29 2012, 12:58pmReplyFlag
          Hey there, Rockstar! Just a little question: Will we be able to understand Max Payne 3 without playing the last two episodes? If not, can you guys give me a link of any legal downloads for Max Payne's last two episodes? (I just found illegal websites and torrents, which I will never download your games from those sites!)
          • blacklobbyon February 29 2012, 12:53pmReplyFlag
            Rockstar, there is no need to wait... you should already get working in a Game Of The Year edition... and VGA 2012 Video as best character. Also, get ready for the best story, best game, best PC gaming, best multiplayer... you guys should also open some space in your wallet...
            • MaxPayne1983on February 19 2012, 8:14pmReplyFlag
              I'm glad to see the enormous effort you'll making for give us the new story in Max Payne's disgraceful life

              This research series looks pretty cool, i'll stay tuned for the new one when it comes out this week
              • supertempzon February 18 2012, 10:12amReplyFlag
                rockstar,when all the mission's have been completed in max payne 3 will you be able to free roam?
                -and does it have trophie support
                • R* Yon February 15 2012, 11:38amReplyFlag
                  @Megadeth1994 Thanks for asking, while the Rockstar Warehouse can only currently ship games within North America, we are working on a European shipping solution that we hope to have ready within the next few months, for now be sure to check our pre-order page for some UK retailers offering the Special Edition:
                  • Megadeth1994on February 10 2012, 10:53amReplyFlag
                    Hey R* i'm from Wales in the UK i was wondering can i pre order the special edition from your warehouse etc?? Because it says somewhere only available in north america or something?! :S cant be right can it? please get back to me :)

                    p.s this is off topic and you dont have to care about this part, Can we expect any news in the coming months about GTA 5? us gta 5 fans want closure you see :P oh and it's funny how many people get angry at you for leaving it this long... 3 months? that's nothing! keep tight lipped it will only make me play the game when it's out with more hype!!
                    • R* Yon January 19 2012, 11:52amReplyFlag
                      @motagaly While we can't answer all of your questions, we do ask that you email us so we can help find out when the game will be arriving in your country:
                      • motagalyon January 17 2012, 8:30pmReplyFlag
                        Hi R*,
                        Thanks for the great efforts done in this game and keeping Rockstar a "Seal of Quality" and a non-forgettable game-play experience with every game you create, I love the way you wait to work on game quality, story, fun, re-play value for all of your games, I'm a big fan of your company and your games and also a huge fan of the legendary Max Payne series and glad that you worked hard to avoid disappointing the huge fan base, while other publishers and developers *always* mess-up with the great old titles

                        I got some questions that I need your to response to:
                        1. What is the game frame rate per second (30 fps or 60 fps) ? (I'd love it to be in 60 fps)
                        2. When it will be released in the Middle East?
                        3. Game-play average length (How much time is needed to finish the game)? Max Payne 2 was very short and that was killing me and the re-play value was low as it was very scripted game
                        4. Will you create an DLCs? Will it be free of chargable
                        5. Will you release a DEMO?

                        I know some of these questions may be answered before, But I hope you assist me with them

                        Thanks in advance for your efforts and assistance and looking forward for your response

                        Best Regards,
                        • R* Yon January 17 2012, 11:21amReplyFlag
                          @Andre_Gomes We should have details on language support closer to release in May, stay tuned
                          • Andre_Gomeson January 16 2012, 9:25pmReplyFlag
                            Max Payne 3 will have portuguese version? with full speak? like Max Payne 1...
                            • ScorpionHoundon January 14 2012, 3:03pmReplyFlag
                              So you can actually travel to other countries in South America in Max Payne 3?
                              • R* Aon January 13 2012, 6:21pmReplyFlag
                                @EMERSEX Please don't post the same thing in multiple article threads. We have however answered you here:
                                • R* Yon January 13 2012, 11:35amReplyFlag
                                  We can't answer all questions that come our way, however do look for more on Max Payne 3 right here on the Newswire, much more coming up...
                                  • EMERSEX22on January 13 2012, 11:12amReplyFlag
                                    Hello rockstar personnel, I am a brazilian and I'm dying to play max payne 3, not is time to launch a demo of this game? and just to reiterate, I am born in the state of sao paulo, no one know how your work should still be much improved as I, são paulo is not the rio de janeiro, Brazil is not Rio de Janeiro, soccer teams of Rio de Janeiro are not part of são paulo, funk is a rhythm of the Rio, são paulo is not only slum, is simply the fifth richest city in the world !
                                    • ResidentEvilAshon January 13 2012, 9:18amReplyFlag
                                      Can anyone tell me if Mona is alive? It's killing me to think she's not in the main game.
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