If you were feeling nostalgic for old-school Max Payne, the perpetually grimacing star of Remedy’s iconic third-person shooter of the same name, take heart. There’s now a mod for Max Payne 3 that brings back the character’s unforgettable OG face—based on Remedy Creative Director Sam Lake—squint and all.
For the uninitiated, Max Payne is a 2001 third-person shooter developed by Remedy Entertainment, the studio behind Alan Wake, Control, and Quantum Break. The game featured the likeness of Sam Lake, a Remedy staff member who became known for lending his very structured face to the game’s protagonist. But Lake’s time as Payne’s face soon ended, as both Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne and Rockstar Studios’ Max Payne 3 changed course, with the former NYPD detective being modeled after actors Timothy Gibbs and then James McCaffrey in those sequels. However, modder AlexSavvy has now released a Sam Lake mod on Nexus Mods that puts Lake’s memorable mug back into Max Payne 3.
The mod “brings back the original look of Max Payne from the first game” so you can basically play as Sam Lake’s Max Payne in Max Payne 3. That game was pretty graphically sophisticated in its time, so making this mod required AlexSavvy to alter the fitting of every single costume to match Sam Lake’s body, and also model all the different hairstyles Payne sports throughout the game’s narrative.
The modder sought to fully preserve all existing facial expressions and wounds, and also brought back Payne’s Hawaiian shirt and leather jacket combo from the first game. In total, the mod replaces some 98 in-game models and 66 textures to reconstruct Sam Lake’s likeness. As ever, even a seemingly simple mod can require a ton of work.
If early feedback is anything to go by, AlexSavvy nailed it. Certain Max Payne fans have always had a bone to pick with the character’s changed appearance in Max Payne 3, and while it may have taken over a decade, now they can finally enjoy the game as the Max Payne they know and love, who happens to look a lot like Sam Lake.
Lake, incidentally, will also be appearing in Remedy’s upcoming Alan Wake 2, in which he’ll provide his likeness for the FBI agent Alex Casey.