Rockstar Games has set the release date for Max Payne 3 to May 1 in North America.

The game is the next big potential blockbuster from the publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, which published Max Payne 2 in 2003. The game will debut on May 18 internationally, on May 29 on the PC in North America, and internationally on the PC on June 1. It’s a big title coming from one of the world’s most innovative game labels.

The new title will rely on “powerful storytelling” in the action-shooter genre and will deliver a cinematic and intense experience, according to Rockstar founder Sam Houser. In this new game, the former New York detective Max Payne travels to the streets of São Paulo, Brazil, while working for a wealthy client. A street gang kidnaps the client’s wife and Max is pulled into the rescue and a conspiracy among the warring factions in the country.

Clearly, Rockstar has scaled up the investment in the Max Payne franchise and we’ll see if it pays off in a title that has broader appeal among the masses. The original Max Payne from 2001 introduced “bullet time,” or the shift to slow motion game play when players are surrounded by bad guys and need extra help dispatching them.

Each year, Rockstar has released major titles in the late spring. A year ago, it launched L.A. Noire in May, and the year before that it released Red Dead Redemption in May 2010. That’s usually a sign for other game publishers to avoid releasing games in May.

Meanwhile, Take-Two Interactive lowered its guidance for the fiscal year 2012 ended March 31, thanks to its decision to shift the game from the fourth fiscal quarter of fiscal year 2012 to the first fiscal quarter of FY 2013.

Take-Two will provide more information on the impact of the change when it reports earnings for the third fiscal quarter of FY 2012 on Feb. 2. Arvind Bhatia, an analyst at SterneAgree, cut his estimates for FY 2012 for Take-Two and raised them for FY 2013.