Max Payne 3, Rockstar's upcoming third installment in the action-shooter trilogy, is set for a May 15th release date. But the soon-to-be launched game is more than just a continuation of the first two titles; it's an interactive character study, as The Verge writes.

Max Payne is a functioning alcoholic and drug addict, a byproduct of all those lives lost in previous games, writes Brian Crecente of the tech news website. This sequel doesn't just remember that, it embraces it.

The creators of the widely-successful Grand Theft Auto series are reviving the third-person shooter with incredible detail and lively elements, communicating the story of a man who has undergone travesties and hardships. The game's protagonist has lost his wife and daughter, has taken hundreds of lives himself, and after surviving numerous shootouts, he takes to his plentiful stash of painkillers.

Although Max Payne 3 appears to encapsulate everything video game lovers could crave in a title, there is a more cinematic element to the action shooter. The game, with its original title debuting in 2001, made a name for itself when it became the first shooter to feature the bullet time-based gun fights seen in The Matrix. Fans play as a gun-wielding ex-cop engaging in shootouts with criminals throughout the streets of New York City and Sao Paulo, but the narrative contains a dimension of depth that makes it more than just a thrill-seeking shooter.

From a narrative standpoint, (addiction) is entirely central to the game-the story depends on it, and it is built into the story, and the entire flow of the game is built around it, Vice President of Rockstar Games Dan Houser said to The Verge. From a visual design perspective, we wanted the visual effects to give the impression of a blurred somewhat hazy look that would give a sense of someone stoned on booze and heavy painkillers.

Just like other forms of media and literary art, Max Payne 3 hones in on the portrayal of a particular theme. This is just another example of the ever-increasing bridge between video games and film, with titles such as 2009's Heavy Rain, which allowed gamers to directly control the story through gameplay. The Mass Effect franchise is also renowned for its strong emphasis on decision-making throughout its plot and the representation of themes (Alliance, Synthesis, and Destruction).

This past August, Entertainment Weekly posed the question of whether or not video games are beginning to replace movies as a popular medium of narrative, citing games such as Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, Red Dead Redemption, and L.A. Noire, as examples.

The time of feature film dominance is dimming, and the days when videogame reign is supreme is dawning, video game enthusiast Adam B. Vary wrote in EW. With a hint of snarky tone, the entertainment publication also pointed out that watching Michael Bay's 'Transformers' trilogy is exactly as enjoyable as watching your little brother play video games you used to love before you turned 6.

A preview for the upcoming Max Payne release also reveals that it will retain the signature style of story-telling through graphic novel style panels, only further emphasizing the role of plot. Although addiction is a theme represented in the game, Houser tells The Verge that this is not what the game is entirely about.

In this game... we are not tacking the issue of addiction, but we are looking at the character and actions of a man who has problems with substances, but also a lot of other problems, he said to the website. There is a subtle but important difference. It's a shooter about a drunk, somewhat morose, widowed ex-cop, trying to find some kind of peace with himself. It is not a game about the realities of being a drunk in terms of the need to drink. It's a game about being Max Payne.

Check out the story trailer below for a preview of what to expect.