Max Payne’s original face and voice team up to prove that 20 years later, he’s still got it

It’s hard to believe but Max Payne, the neo-noir shooter that gave us bullet time, madly over-the-top dialog, and one of the most enduringly famous scowls in all of videogames, is now 20 years old. To celebrate the big birthday, Remedy creative director Sam Lake and Max Payne voice actor James McCaffrey got together to prove that the tragic, grizzled detective has still got it.

Lake was the writer on Max Payne, but he’s also famous for providing the character’s pasted-on grimace, a visage that was likely aiming for rage but ended up somewhere closer to finding something unpleasant on the bottom of your shoe. The look was changed for the bigger-budget Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, but Lake’s mug has persisted as a sort of immediately recognizable “Max Classic.” McCaffrey’s voice is equally identified with the character, although—fun bit of trivia here—he was originally not going to be included in Max Payne 3 because Rockstar wanted someone who sounded older and more damaged for its take on a more broken-down Max. Luckily, that decision was eventually (and rightly) overturned.

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