Guest Post: A story about PayneReactor, Max Payne & many friends.


Earlier this week I reached out to various members of the Max Payne community to take a look back on Max Payne 3 now that it has turned three years old. Today I received Kristian’s piece. Frequent visitors and old time fans might know that Kristian Brynie Hollund is PayneReactor’s founder. Kristian (also known as biXen) left PayneReactor in persuit of his career and other time consuming hobby’s. I still cherish he’s around for input from time to time. When the database goes tits up or unexplainable things happen, he’s always there to help me.

I had been working with Kristian on the site for years when we first met on the Max Payne 3 fan site trip. The moment we shook hands was truly surreal and without surprise we immediately got along. When I joined PayneReactor back in 2003 I was still very young and inexperienced with website administration. I feel honored to say, Kristian was a great mentor.

His history with the Max Payne community is far more richer than mine. And so his story is very interesting. What were his motivations to start a fan site about Max Payne? What does Max Payne mean to him? In this third guest post, he tries to explain it all.

A story about PayneReactor, Max Payne & many friends.

I’m not too big about writing about myself, but since it’s also about Max Payne and many of the friends I’ve gotten through the strange relationship with this game series I guess it’s gonna have to get done.

So…Max Payne….It’s just a game… Or three games + various ports and a semi-decent action movie. But just that though, right? No… For some of us it’s strangely quite a bit more.

It’s been over 15 years since I started my fan site “Insane Payne” dedicated to the Max Payne game yet to come out. Now the most curious of you would say “Why start a fan page?” and “Why for Max Payne?”. I don’t remember the full answer to that, but the fan page probably came out of my newfound web design interest. And I had always been interested in writing stuff, I was somewhat engaged in the demo scene doing that.

The demo scene part of the first answer leads us into Max Payne creators Remedy having many employees that came from the demo scene. That’s how they caught my eye, so I guess that’s your answer for part of question two. The rest was the John Woo gun fights, slow mo and general feel of the game as seen in the early trailers. Max Payne always felt right to me.

Insane Payne started out as almost the only Max Payne fan site, and I guess PayneReactor sort of ended up as the only site too. The activity has been varying over the years, especially in the “void” between Max Payne 2 (2003) and Max Payne 3 (2012). But the site has usually been up, hosting mods, writing articles and general Max Payne news such as fan films and the like. In the most active years there was stiff “competition” from the site Max Payne Headquarters. They had more backing and had a bigger staff, but I feel like we won on passion. In the end most people went to both sites and I had nothing against them. They were travel company to New York to play Max Payne 2 as well, well one of them at least.

These guys in the background were not invited!

Kristian is Front End Developer at Olavstoppen.

We celebrated Max Payne style!

In his spare time, this bad boy likes to travel the world.

In it’s heyday PayneReactor had 500k visitors in one month, this was in 2001, when internet was a lot smaller, so that’s a pretty big number. Now with social media and Google having other priorities that’s not happening again. But it had my host a bit worried for a while back then, luckily I was a friend of theirs so I didn’t have to foot the huge bandwidth bill for the file hosting. We also used it as backing to start an IRC channel (some of you may have no idea what that is, but it’s an oldschool chat client), a place I still hang out at with a close group of friends. Many people stopped by there over the years and some still do.

So what is Max Payne to me? Well it’s a bunch of friends, many of which I’ve met many times around the world, including developers on Max Payne games and in general all sorts of awesome people. It means trips to New York, it means late night gaming sessions perfecting a shoot-dodge, and some damn difficult spots in Max Payne 3. It also means delaying work to write the news posts about Max Payne many many times. Or trying to get Skaven to say too much between the lines in the 3D Realms forums, before Joe would throw me out for being mouthy at someone else. Or trying out the many crazy and plain awesome Max Payne mods over the years. Many, many memories :)

But this is not all about me. It’s about the mod creators, going on to work at many exciting places after proving their worth with Max Payne modding. Or Matt and Patrick joining me to help with the CMS or posting news and doing graphics when my time and priorities got moved elsewhere. It’s amazing to see people develop like that over the years, it’s the closest I’ve been to being an employer. Thanks guys for all the help over the years, you’ve been amazing Patrick and Matt.

Of course Patrick has taken over the site now, so I feel it’s in good hands no matter where he takes it. I am hoping for a Max Payne 4 but you never know with Rockstar, they do their own thing for better or worse (usually the former). I hope PayneReactor will live on for another 15 years, that would be amazing. Max Payne has done good for many people, and I personally used PayneReactor in my CV when I got my first full-time job as a web developer. The mod scene have led Max Payne modders to work for  DICE, Blizzard, Crytek, Gearbox, Remedy etc. So I think it’s a great community, even if it’s slim nowadays, that’s the nature of the complexity of mod tools, unless there’s a framework for it like Steam has got. Maybe for Max Payne 4? :)

Anyway. I’ve said what I want to say, except this, Max Payne 3 was really underrated considering how fantastically polished the gameplay, cutscenes (loading screens), gun fights and action were. Keep supporting PayneReactor, Patrick is doing a great job keeping it interesting. Thanks

Kristian aka. biXen

Feel free to start a discussion with Kristian in the comments below. Would you like to see your own guest post featured on PayneReactor? Then get in contact with me!

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  • asger97979797

    hey so this article got me thinking; are you guys still meeting up? Would love to join you.

  • Kristian and I have met… back in 2012 :P I’d love to meet him again though :)

  • asger97979797

    let me know if you plan some sort of get together ;)