In campaign mode the player controls Kane. The player is accompanied by Lynch, and sometimes other hired mercenaries. Co-op mode is available, in which the second player controls Lynch. Though almost identical to Kane's style of gameplay, Lynch has short bursts of aggression in which he hallucinates nearly all AI characters are police, some sporting an animal's head. Lynch carries a shotgun and a revolver as side arm, while Kane carries an assault rifle and standard pistol, though it is possible to swap weapons. Additional weapons such as grenades, sniper rifles and carbines can be picked up, which can be swapped between allies. The player can take cover by standing next to a wall, and can blindfire. While having hired mercenaries, the player can issue orders such as follow, move to a specific position, or attack.
Fragile Alliance is the game's online multiplayer mode, which consists of four maps: Hot Coffee, Late Night Opening, Withdrawal and A Walk In The Park. A free-to-download map pack released on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live provides four additional maps. The goal is to finish a several round match with the most money. Each round begins with all of the players as armed, balaclava-clad robbers. Money can be used to buy better firearms and armor. Resistance is met in the form of armed AI controlled security guards and/or police officers. A player's money acts as a shield, but will quickly be dropped on the ground as the player is injured. To escape the level, a player must survive to meet a getaway vehicle. All players who survive without turning on their allies will split stolen money evenly.
On the Xbox 360 and PC versions, a player's appearance in the game is influenced by their TrueSkill rank. Players who have reached TrueSkill rank #1 and #2 will play as Kane and Lynch, respectively. Unlike Kane and Lynch's campaign mode, players cannot sprint. If a player feels they have taken enough money to become a target for potential traitors, they can drop some of their money, becoming less of a scoring threat.
The game opens with a voiceover of Adam 'Kane' Marcus, reading a letter addressed to his daughter Jenny. Kane is traveling to death row after being convicted of manslaughter. Another death row inmate, James Seth Lynch, lets on there will be a breakout. Their truck is involved in a head-on collision by a group of mercenaries. The two are taken to a construction site, where they are confronted by four members of a gang of criminals called The 7, led by The Brothers and their henchmen Carlos (a close friend of Kane) and Mute. They accuse Kane of stealing money from them, and reveal that they have taken his wife and daughter hostage. Kane is given three weeks to retrieve the money or his wife and daughter will be killed.
After the meeting with The 7, police officers arrive and the two are forced to shoot their way out of the construction site. Later, Kane explains that he did not steal from The 7, but knows who did, and where they hid it. Kane and Lynch rob a local bank where the money is being kept. Though only half of the money is inside the safe, Kane believes he knows where the other half is. Meanwhile, Lynch, who suffers from periodic episodes of violent psychosis, blacks out and kills all of the hostages after his medication wears off, forcing Kane and Lynch to shoot their way out and flee in a van driven by their getaway driver. Losing the police in the subway after the van crashes, Kane informs Lynch that they need to go to Tokyo to retrieve the other half of the money.
In Tokyo, the pair go after Retomoto, a Japanese crime lord, by kidnapping his daughter Yoko as ransom. While Kane negotiates with Retomoto over the phone, Lynch accidentally shoots and kills Yoko while trying to stop her from escaping. Kane, Lynch and The 7's hired guns then proceed to escape from Retomoto's hitmen. Kane is furious with Lynch, but he soon realizes that they are out of time, and must return to The 7 with only half of the stolen money.
Lynch reveals to Kane that he made a deal with The 7 to ensure his survival as well as a position within The 7, but he is betrayed and knocked unconscious at the construction site where Kane and his family are to be executed. Kane's plea for extra time is denied, as The Brothers and Carlos depart for Havana, leaving Mute to carry out the deed. Kane's wife expresses her disgust with Kane but is executed by Mute before he has a chance to speak to her as promised. Regaining consciousness, Lynch snaps and attacks his kidnappers while Kane beats Mute to death. Kane and Lynch then protect Kane's daughter Jenny from The 7's reinforcements as she cries over her mother's body.
Kane buries his wife and decides to finish off The 7 for the sake of his daughter's safety. Kane and Lynch free a group of "dead men" from prison: Rific, Thapa and Shelly. These men had been wronged by The 7 and join the duo to get revenge, although Shelly expresses resentment at working with Lynch and suggests that he may have killed his own wife. Before flying to Havana, they return to Tokyo and kill Retomoto, reclaiming the briefcase of money to finance their war with The 7. In Havana, Kane keeps everyone motivated with promises of payment as they track down The Brothers and Carlos. Kane informs Lynch that The 7 profit from assisting factions in civil wars, with Havana supposedly the last job needed for their retirement. They find themselves caught up in an ongoing civil war, joining the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces and battling The 7's forces trying to stage a coup d'état. They find Carlos, abandoned by The Brothers. Kane recruits him, and Thapa, no longer trusting Kane, abandons the mission as a result.
The Dead Men then fight their way through the Venezuelan jungle, and locate The Brothers at their compound. When the Dead Men arrive in the Cuban Jungle of Havana, Shelly demands his pay for helping Kane, that Kane claimed Shelly, Rific and Thapa would get for helping him, Carlos tells Shelly and Rific that there is plenty of heroin in the village that they can take as compensation. Carlos then volunteers to go on ahead and open the gates with an explosive trying to create a diversion, but vanishes inside. This leads Lynch to think that Carlos tricked them all into a trap. Then Kane and Lynch discover over Carlos's radio that The 7 have again captured Jenny. They discover in the compound courtyard Jenny, unharmed and Carlos' corpse. They suddenly get ambushed by The Brothers and their mercenaries, The Elder Brother claims the killing of Carlos, forcing Kane to shoot a mine beside Carlos' corpse and the two then kill The Elder Brother. The Younger Brother however, manages to escape with Jenny and attempts to take off in an airplane.
Kane and Lynch follow in a car and disable the plane's engines before killing the Younger Brother. Jenny then pulls a gun on Kane and blames him for her mother's death. Kane tells her that whether she hates him or not he will get her to safety. Kane is then given the choice of rescuing Rific and Shelly from the village church, who are being pinned down by The 7's mercenaries, or escaping in a helicopter with Jenny and leaving them to die.
If Kane boards the helicopter with Jenny and leaves Rific and Shelly to die, Jenny will resent her father for leaving his men and tell him that she hates him. As they are escaping in the helicopter, Lynch, on the ground, says to himself, "I fucking knew it, from the first second I fucking knew it."
In the other ending chapter, Kane chooses to rescue Rific and Shelly, who are trapped in a burning church towering over a village. Kane and Lynch are too late to save Rific, but Shelly is still alive. He feels betrayed despite the rescue attempt. As they escape to the pier, Jenny is shot, and Kane carries her body along. Shelly loses his patience and attempts to escape on one of the boats alone but appears to be killed by an explosion, although his boat is seen leaving the pier. Lynch is shot as he escapes on an undamaged boat with Kane, while Jenny's status is still unknown. The boat drifts slowly with the river, while Kane holds Jenny and whispers to her about the letter he tried to send her.
For the development of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, Jesper Kyd was brought in to write the musical score for the game, having written scores for the Hitman series and Freedom Fighters. The single player was originally going to have online co-op but was dropped at the last minute and limited to offline, due to time restrictions and difficulty. The game was originally going to revolve around Kane, with Lynch acting as a sidekick. But as the development went on, they decided to include Lynch in the story. Martin Guldbaek, the art director for the game, said that for creating each of the locations, the team went to Los Angeles for photographs. They combined this with concept artwork to create "locations that matched the character's mood and perspective." Anders Poulsen was the lead character artist. According to him, he wanted to make characters "like no other." Kane was the first character to be designed, but was very different from his final appearance. When Lynch was brought in, it added more "life" to Kane's character.
The game went gold on October 31, 2007, making the release date a full 10 days earlier.
Kane is voiced by Brian Bloom and Lynch is voiced by Jarion Monroe.
Downloadable content was made available for Kane & Lynch on April 17, 2008, entitled "The Dope Bag". This contained four new maps: Clean Cut, Hooker’s Trail, Flying High and Hasta La Vista, plus adding 250 Gamerscore for the Xbox 360 version bringing the total to 1250.
The Kane & Lynch: Dead Men Original Soundtrack was composed, arranged and produced by Jesper Kyd and released on November 23, 2007. There are currently no intentions to release the soundtrack for sale, however, the special edition of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men contains a bonus disc with six tracks.
The mobile shooter runs players through 38 levels across five different scenarios, such as a bank or nightclub mission. Players control one of the men while the other follows, offering cover and support.
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men received "mixed or average reviews" on all platforms according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.
GameTrailers stated that although there are some flaws, the package as a whole made it "easy to recommend." On the other end of the scale, NTSC-uk called the game "a sickly mess of a game with the multitude of negatives undermining every positive."
The Australian magazine PC PowerPlay cited "great dialogue", "impressive locations" and "satisfying action" as highlights, while criticising its length and the final act of the game, suggesting it "loses ambition" compared to the earlier parts of the game which "[took] some pages out of Mann's notebook." Edge gave the Xbox 360 version a score of six out of ten, stating that "Its scenarios are striking in scope, but its gunplay can’t quite keep pace. It features some moments of truly cinematic vision, but the technology and framework can’t quite do them full justice." In Japan, Famitsu gave the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions a score of one eight and three sevens, for a total of 29 out of 40.See also GameSpot § Gerstmann_dismissal
A 6/10 score by GameSpot was initially rumored to be responsible for the firing of editor Jeff Gerstmann. The controversy arose due to heavy and diverse advertisement of the game on the site, leading to suspicion that Eidos Interactive was able to influence GameSpot editorial decisions. Eidos advertisements with GameSpot were substantial and included GameSpot website visitors being able to mix trailers and pick a variation of Kane & Lynch style theme, as well as traditional flash-based web ads. GameSpot denied that Eidos influenced the firing of Gerstmann at the time. However, as of March 2012, the non-disclosure agreement that forced Gerstmann to withhold the details of his termination was nullified. Not long after, it was announced that Giant Bomb (a site he founded after leaving GameSpot) was being purchased by the same parent company as GameSpot, and that they would be moving their headquarters into the same building. As part of this announcement, Gerstmann confirmed that the firing was indeed due to threats of Eidos pulling advertising revenue away from GameSpot as a result of Gerstmann's poor review score.
Eidos announced a sequel, titled Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days. It was released in August 2010 on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to middling reviews, though it generally scored higher than the original Kane & Lynch.
A PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS Kane and Lynch title was in development during 2007, called Kane and Lynch Tactics. The game was never officially announced and it was cancelled for unknown reasons.
A film adaptation is in the works from Lionsgate. The script was written by Kyle Ward. Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx had signed on for the role of Kane and Lynch respectively. The film was originally slated for a release in 2011 but delayed to 2013.
A script sent to the game site Kotaku was reviewed, although it was a rough draft, and revealed that the character of Lynch was changed to a man with eloquent vocabulary with no psychotic tendencies. Since then it has been changed for rewrites and different directors. On November 4, 2013, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that actors Gerard Butler and Vin Diesel are in talks for the title roles with a script by Skip Woods and Kyle Ward and produced by Adrian Askarieh and Daniel Alter. The film will be directed by F. Gary Gray, who previously directed Butler in Law Abiding Citizen and Diesel in A Man Apart.
In May 2010, IO Interactive announced a deal that would see a comic version of Kane & Lynch published under the DC Comics imprint WildStorm The storyline is "not for the faint-hearted" and will explore the duo's criminal past, written by Ian Edginton and illustrated by Chris Mitten, with cover art by Ben Templesmith.