Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Max Payne Games

As I have discussed in much detail about some the illustration influences, but now I want to discuss what has been a direct influence in terms of the narrative of the comic, as well as style influences as well. So this post is not dedicated to an illustrator, but to a video game series... the Max Payne series.

But why has a game series been an influence to me, when I am not making a video game but a comic? Well, for starters the incidentals in between the levels are done as an interactive comic. These incidentals provide tons of back-story in a creative way without being too boring with general animatics between each time you play a game. When playing these, the text boxes serves as a tool into what Max (the man in tie and suit, or in a leather jacket) is thinking, or recollecting about what is happening. My comic uses text boxes for this very purpose, which brings out so much to my character by letting them being able to think that just stand in the page looking generic. The style of these is not the same style as my comic, but just look at those poses; they just bring out their dialogue to life with such simple aspects as how their head is tilted, or their hand gestures. This, for me, makes the characters fully believable, and, as for these games, an essential ingredient to making the player engages in the narrative. You can just tell, by looking at the bottom 'strip' that the two are in love, but they cannot express their love (the woman is Mona Sax, who becomes a key character in Max Payne 2, with the player even playing her for one key level of the game.)
The levels in their own right help you engage in the characters too, with viewing them in this third person perspective for most of the levels. Noticing the backgrounds, and attention to subtle detail as tables, chairs, show the levels are made to look like rooms, alleyways with their props, and not just boxes in which they walk in- this was even made more convincing by applying some physics into its game engine to make be able to ruffle boxes, papers, bodies, and so on, which some believability in them (the bodies look like rag dolls, but you don't care about that when the fly in the air after your grenade has gone off!) To relate this to my comic, I do have a subtle attention to detail which I have been inspired from the levels; the painkillers, which in the games are used to replenish your health (my main character uses some painkillers to remove his headache when he is struggling to sleep.)

My comic is not a direct rip-off in terms of storyline, but my narrative has been influenced by the game to establish some elements of noir (like film noir, but in a game) into my comic. These include the emphasis into letting my readers get into the head of my main character through text boxes, the grim outlook of the story (the fact that my detective is being engaged into a series of strange murders.)

On a note of writing these comments, I have no idea on who was involved in the conceptual side to this game, or say the illustrations of the comic segment. If you can help me find those that were responsible for making 2 of these excellent third-person shooter games, I may do further analysis on the more artistic side of their work, such as they what they also done.

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