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Max Payne

Max Payne is in The Matrix

People who die in the Matrix die in reality because your mind makes it real. Max takes enough painkillers to be unaffected by otherwise fatal wounds in an otherwise undiscovered exploit/glitch in the Matrix.

  • "The truth was a burning green crack through my brain. Weapon statistics hanging in the air, glimpsed out of the corner of my eye. Endless repetition of the act of shooting, time slowing down to show off my moves. The paranoid feel of someone controlling my every step. I was in a computer game. Funny as Hell, it was the most horrible thing I could think of." - Max Payne has already realized he's in a simulation, and that 'game' is really the Matrix.
  • The connection is obvious, Max Payne and Mona Sax dodge bullets like they're in the Matrix because they're in the Matrix.

Max killed his wife.

He interprets his findings at Project Valhalla to mean that some Valkyr-addled punks were dropped off at his house to silence his wife. An alternate explanation, however, could simply be that Aesir simply had his wife injected with Valkyr to discredit her, that she killed the baby in her confused state; this sent Max into a rage, he killed her, and afterwards was so horrified that he blocked out the memory. The police bought the story about drugged-up intruders, so Max was never even heavily investigated. This would explain many elements of Max's dream sequences and drug fantasies -- his wife screaming "Max! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to!"; Bravura accusing Max of killing, not Winterson, but his wife; Max bursting into the bedroom to stop the thug killing his wife, and it being himself, and other pretty blatant signs. It also seems to be hinted at in the plot of Address Unknown, the TV series Max catches snippets of: a man is hunting/hunted by a serial killer called John Mirra ("mirror", obviously), who looks just like him, has killed his girlfriend, stolen his identity and framed him for his crimes; at the end the man realises he is Mirra, that he killed his girlfriend in the first place, etc.

  • It's not likely, but theoretically possible. The more mundane explanations are that he blames himself for her death, which is not unusual: he was seconds late to stop the killers from murdering both his wife and his daughter. His guilt has festered for three years without an outlet. He even addresses it in the second game, referencing the choice to stay late and talk to a friend (Alex) instead of heading home. If he had gone right home then, he would have been on time. It's survivor's guilt: he can't help but blame himself for the choices he didn't even know he made, and it manifests as a crazy desire to punish himself for being late. When he kills his old self in the second hallucination in the first game, the double yells "Murderer! You killed her!", but he's talking to himself. And then his (future) self guns down his (past) self, completing the punishment cycle. It's a psychological miasma. Both explanations are possible.
    • I actually think "Murderer! You killed her!" fits well with the first theory. It's one of the various lines that pop up periodically in the dream sequences; if you put two of those lines together you get:

 Max: Murderer! You killed her!

Michelle: Max, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to!

    • Also note that all of Max's grief and guilt seems to coalesce around Michelle, with the baby not seeming to factor in. Might be easier to explain, if he killed one but not the other.
  • There is another explanation of Max feeling guilty for Michelle's death: if you examine some of the items in the (second?) nightmare level, you'll hear a dialogue between them where Michelle tells Max she encountered some thing related to vikings at work (which is obviously Project Valhalla traces). However, he just brushes it off for "later" and Michelle is killed soon afterwards. Had he looked into the matter back then, he may have prevented her digging into it too deep and avoided Aesir's wrath.
  • Returning to the original interpretation that Max killed Michelle, the end of the first dream sequence is different to the other representations of the fight, in that it ends with Max facing camera, firing three bullets, and yelling, "Murderer, you killed her!" Michelle took three bullets in the chest, so if he's remembering more than halluucinating, and it certainly seems that way, because this is the dream where it isn't quite so surreal and you can 'remember' other things.
  • But then, what about the V-Heads you face in the prologue? Unless somehow they were hallucinations (and if they were, there'd be no reason for the cops not to look into the possibility that Max killed his wife), they were in his house. In Chapter 3, Max locates a document on a computer in Nicole Horne's lair which mentions that they doubled the dose for "all remaining tests subjects" and dumped them off at Payne's house. "All remaining subjects" couldn't mean Michelle Payne.
    • Of course, since we see the game from Max's POV and if we assume that Max is not a reliable narrator and we are in the mouth of madness, he could concievably have imagined that report to try and explain the fiasco at home.
        • Ah, but if Max is such an unreliable narrator, how are we to believe that Michelle is dead at all?
      • If the junkies were just hallucinations or invented memories, there would be no bodies found in the Payne home. If there were no bodies but those of Michelle and the baby in their house, the police would have definitely investigated the possibility of Max being the murderer. Modern forensic techniques make it quite possible to determine whether a victim has been killed by a particular gun, and had Michelle been confirmed to have been shot by Max's Beretta, he would have spent the next decade behind bars. The only way this theory (Michelle killed the baby, Max killed her, then blocked the memory) can therefore be true is that the police deliberately covered the case up, either to save their own face or because someone (like the Inner Circle) pulled some strings from the shadows.
      • Someone mentioned above that it's possible that Michelle was herself dosed with Valkyr, which caused her to accidentally kill the baby. What if the junkies in Max's house were additional test subjects brought along by whoever administered said dosage to Michelle, in order to, for example, compare how the drug acts on people of different sexes, body types, ethnicities etc.?

Max's Bullet Time is the result of him actually using Valkyr.

Enemies in the game who use Valkyr are depicted as difficult to kill one-man-army types. It's likely that Max himself is somehow using a formula that doesn't turn him into a babbling lunatic. In fact, if Max Payne takes place in the same world as Grand Theft Auto, it's possible that the "Adrenaline" from GTA 3 and Vice City are also Valkyr, or at least related to it.

  • Valkyr makes its users feel extremely paranoid and causes increased aggression and violence. Max took some valkyr and killed the police officer at the beginning. He went on a rampage and killed everyone in the subway station. He can't dodge bullets, he just imagines that the innocent and unarmed civilians are terribly incompetent mobsters (this would explain why there are so damned many of them). He imagines they were robbing a bank to justify this act. Still in his bloodlust, he kills Alex, imagining that he was framed and someone else did the deed. Max just wanders around shooting people for three days, taking more and more valkyr and imagining himself to be taking down crime syndicates, discovering conspiracies, spinning more and more complex webs of coincidences and impossible feats of vigilantism. He finally comes off his three-day high cuffed in the back of a squadcar. (Note that this is the only part of the game which is not a flashback; even the climactic scene at Aesir Plaza takes place 'a few hours ago'.)
  • Perhaps the painkillers Max takes contain Valkyr. They certainly aren't ordinary painkillers, considering the amounts of damage they help him survive.
    • It's actually heavily implied that Interfectum, the painkillers from the second game, contain - or are derived from - Valkyr.
  • The Movie seems to use this explanation, with Max taking Valkyr after swimming out of a freezing cold river to prevent freezing to death, becoming a drug-fueled One-Man Army experiencing Apocalyptic visions at the end. He does seem to tap into it a bit before using the drug.

The "Angels" from the movie trailer are a visual metaphor for how Valkyr lifts its users.

While the Max Payne universe is quite dark (and this editor wouldn't really be surprised to find out it has supernatural elements), creepy Winged Humanoids are just a bit much, don't you think?

  • Very close. The angels (actually meant to be Valkyries) are one of the hallucinations experienced by those on Valkyr.

Alfred Woden is still alive and will be the Big Bad of Max Payne 3

At the end of the second-to-last level, Vlad shoots Woden in the chest, and there's a surprising lack of blood spurt, even though the game's graphics engine incorporates it. Later, when you revisit the same area in the last level, Woden's corpse is surprisingly absent. Also, at the end of the last level, the security door Vlad is hiding behind suddenly opens for no reason, surprising Vlad and giving Max a chance to pursue him. It's not unreasonable to assume Woden was wearing a bulletproof vest (as he's depicted as The Chessmaster, he'd certainly be prepared), stopped playing dead when no one was looking, then went up to a control room and opened the security door for Max so he could kill Vlad.

As for him being the Big Bad of the next game, in Max Payne 1 Vlad was an ally of Max's, but in Max Payne 2 he turns out to be the Big Bad. Woden may go through the same cycle; he's certainly the only candidate, since (if he's alive) he'd be the only major character left other than Max himself. Vlad also seems to hint that Woden was responsible for Max's wife's death. Supposedly, this was because he sent her the incriminating evidence against Van Horne, which is what prompted Van Horne to kill her. But perhaps there's more to it than that.

  • Jim Bravura is stated to have survived as well.
    • and Mona, in the True Ending
      • Safety spoiler about Woden; Woden -does- survive an Aesir machine-gun attack on the Inner Circle.
  • Jossed. Alfred's nowhere to be found in 3.

The TV shows are actually metaphors for the game.

"Dick Justice" is a reference to Max's dialogue style and poor character model from the first game, "Lords and Ladies" refers to Max's conflict between his senses of justice/honor and his love for his wife and Mona, and "Address Unknown" refers to his mental disturbance and feeling of guilt, as represented by his hallucinations in both games.

  • This is generally a no-brainer. The only nit is that "Dick Justice" is actually a TV series adaptation of the events in the first game. That's pretty much canon.
    • Dick Justice existed during the first game, though.

Max is hallucinating the TV shows

What a coincidence that many of the shows manage to parrallel his own life. The random TVs Max stumble across aren't -really- showing the television shows, he's just trying to process the incredible stress of his own life.

  • However, this couldn't include Address Unknown, as the existence of the funhouse attests.

Vinnie Gognitti is still alive

Such a dedicated Baseball Bat-Boy fan being booby-trapped into his own costume? Vinnie was just another layer to convince Max to kill all the Big Bad's enemies. After all, he died off-panel and all we see are the remains of the suit. No body, no death and heck, even with a body, that never garuntees death in Max's world. Look at all the chaos, plot wise, that could have been avoided if Max just noted the similar framed paperwork hanging over Vlad's desk and Winterson's desk.

  • His tombstone is an Easter Egg in Max Payne 3, although it's not clear when he died.

Payne's bullet-time is a real super-human abillity

This is why Max went through so much crap. The government was just manipulating events behind the scenes to see what the hell it would take to duplicate his bullet time. In fact, Valkyr itself was created from a sample from Max's blood. This explains why he could survive an O.D. of it by pure force of will. And this also explains why Max can return to normal life after shooting so many, many people. Hundreds of dead mobsters would put anyone away for life. Woden had managed to get a partly-working sample, this explains his abillity to survive so much nonsense.

Vinnie is an Expy of Caesar from Bound

The similarities are obvious but I don't have any proof, so I'll put it under WMG.

  • A cold dark night in the shadowy underworld of New York City alone with an empty pack of cigarettes with TV Tropes ruining my life. Vinnie is an expy of Caesar from Bound? Close, but still not enough Untamed Volume Speculation for Wild Mass Guessing – until the realization was pushed an inch further toward the ledge.
    Vinnie isn’t an expy of Caesar from Bound, Vinnie Gognitti is Caesar from Bound.

Max Payne is Max Payne self-insert fanfic

Max wasn't able to get anywhere after the murders of his family and has invented these grand conspiracies where he kills all the bad guys. He's really just living in a crappy apartment and writing furiously in a diary. The supporting good guy characters are people who were nice to him in life; Mona is the hot manager from the Starbucks downstairs.

Address Unknown and possibly Max Payne itself were written by Alan Wake.

Purely on the basis that Alan is a mystery/horror writer, Remedy loves their Continuity Nods, and it only makes both games more surreal.

  • Confirmed. Max Payne is Alan Wake's story. In the beginning of Episode 2 of Alan Wake, the player can find the manuscripts of Max's final moments.
    • Actually, only half-true. Wake didn't write Max Payne as far as we know, but he DID write a near-exact knockoff called Alex Casey, which is what you can find and read excerpts of.
    • this troper would say that you can still say Alan wrote Max Payne, even if the names are changed, I would say that the "The Sudden Stop" is what Remedy's "real" Max Payne 3 would be as opposed to the apparently canceled Rocktar developed Max Payne 3.

Gordon Freeman is Max Payne

After the horrific events of the first two (maybe three) Payne games, the governemnt used Max's college minor and some intense training to put him in an out of the way facillity studying some pointless energy crap. And changed his name. Of course, that all went to hell. The HEV suit simply dumps loads of painkillers into the hero's body when he is injured. And the film/noir secret behind this move? They stole Max/Gordon's bullet-time. And gave it to the G-Man. That's why the government has been interested in Max all this time. They wanted his bullet-time.

There will be a Story-DLC with Raul Passo as PC

Basically we’re seeing the story of Max Payne 3 from his point of view. There could be missions like chasing Fabianna’s kidnapper at the Penthouse party or fighting his way through the hotel ruin to save Max and the Final mission would be a shoot-out between him and Crachá Preto/ the UFE who are trying to kill him and Giovanna before they can leave the city.

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