In Season One, Max was the hint system (still is in Season Two but it's handled differently). In the first five episodes of Season One, you could ask Max questions that would nudge you in the right direction... they were hints, but not everyone realized that.
In episode 6 the designers made it much more blatant and put in the question "Can I have a hint?" that you could ask Max at any time. This was more obvious but it also took you out of the experience and didn't feel natural, and the team wanted to find a way to refine it and make the hints feel more like part of the game.
The way it works in Season Two is, in the game options you can set the level of hints you want (from "none" to "frequent"). Depending on what setting you have it on and what you've done so far, Max will pipe up if you appear to be stuck... i.e. if you've been in the same location for a while and there's nothing to do there, he'll say "Hey, shouldn't we go talk to Bosco?" It's more subtle than that -- sometimes what he says still takes a little figuring out before you know what to try -- but it's a lot less intrusive than having to ask for the hint. And of course you can turn it off.
Here are a few other previews that just came out:1UPGamesRadarAdventure Gamers