Rockstar Games has announced that the third installment in the Max Payne third-person shooter series will launch in March 2012 for PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. The new title was originally scheduled for a late 2009 debut but was met with multiple delays.

Unlike the first two chapters that were set in The Big Apple, Max Payne 3 takes place in South America. The former New York City detective heads to Sao Paulo, Brazil to protect a wealthy family as part of his new job at a private security firm. Despite the relocation, Max is apparently still haunted by the memories of his traumatic past.

"Max Payne 3 gave us an amazing creative opportunity to evolve one of our most iconic characters," said Rockstar founder Sam Houser via press release. "We're excited to show fans a modern version of Max that pulls them back into his dark and twisted story."

The Rockstar press release says the game incorporates the latest advances in Natural Motion physics as well as a brand new iteration of the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine, resulting in highly-refined gameplay, a new intelligent cover system and sophisticated Bullet-Time mechanics.

Max Payne 3 will also feature another first for the franchise: a multiplayer aspect. The mode is said to dynamically alter maps and mode progression and include a leveling system, clans and gear loadout options.

The award-winning franchise debuted in July 2001 for Windows and was ported to consoles later that year. According to Take-Two Interactive, the game had sold more than seven million copies as of 2008. Team Xbox reports that a trailer for the third installment is due on September 14.