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Shakezulah

The Matrix Online

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i recently recieved another IGN email (thats pretty much where i get most of my gaming info) about the new Matrix game, the Matrix Online. this article gives some really good info. also, as most Matrix fans should know, the dvd of the last movie has a featurette thingy on it that explains a lot about it too.

July 26, 2004 - The Matrix has undoubtedly become one of the more controversial fictional worlds of modern entertainment. Not because of any subject matter that strikes the wrong nerve with a sect of the world, but because of the dubious quality of the second and third movies. Let's face it, this is an amazingly brilliant property with huge potential, but it also has some serious pitfalls that any developer will have to look out for. A lot of people loved The Matrix and continue to hope for a game to do it justice. The first that tried - Enter the Matrix by Shiny Entertainment - didn't really succeed. Now Monolith, best known for their work on titles such as No One Lives Forever, TRON 2.0, and Aliens vs. Predator 2, are taking the reigns and guiding players into a completely new version of The Matrix. This time it's online and it's persistent. The challenge and request from Warner Bros. and the Wachowski brothers is that it not only represent The Matrix in style, but also continues the story that has become even more complicated following the events in the third movie. We recently got a chance to head up to Monolith and get a little time with the game as well as a good chance to grill some of the development team on how they'll be handling the story aspects to the title.

I can say this for certain. The Matrix Online has potential. Having just entered beta testing, Monolith is still working, tweaking, and outright changing some of the systems involved. Therefore, they're understandably reticent about comments pertaining to features that aren't in their final forms. We'll have to wait until a later date to let you know everything about the combat, quests, and environments in detail. For now, just know that the game is up and running. We had the chance to slip into some form fitting latex (sorry for that nauseating image) and jack ourselves into one of the best sci-fi creations of recent years.

The style is definitely there. I remember seeing some early screens of The Matrix Online and being perfectly unimpressed. My opinion has changed. The game looks good. The city is built with detail both in architecture and texture. The color palette will be instantly familiar to any Matrix fan. And most importantly, there are enough clothing and personal styling options to give J-Lo a heart attack. You'll be flabbergasted by the amount of latex and leather hugging the bodies of so many players once the game is finally released. It looks cool and just as importantly, looks very good technically.

We first were able to create a character using an easy, but detailed tool. After crafting what our hosts called my red-headed stepchild, mostly due the some severe beatings I kept receiving, I was able to run around the world, complete some basic missions, and enjoy their vision of The Matrix.

Of course, they'll be first to tell you that this undertaking and this vision of The Matrix is a bit intimidating. As Lead Designer Toby Ragaini put it, "It's an incredible amount of pressure in the sense that we know there are millions of people who love The Matrix and we want to satisfy them. We want to make them feel like this The Matrix and the legitimate heir to the movies."

And he means that literally. "Everything that happens after the movie that happens in The Matrix is The Matrix Online," says Ragaini. "All the new players are red pills that have just been rescued following the events of the third movie." Players woken by Zion will be given their go card and sent back into The Matrix to begin the game by helping Zion retrieve even more humans as well as complete other beginner tasks in order to get used to the combat and interaction and introduce players to the political situation that the truce between Zion and the Machines has created.

Basically, nobody is sure who to trust and each of the main three factions have different agendas. Zion is out to free the humans from their enslavement, which is a pretty obvious goal. But the other two factions, the Machines and Merovingians, aren't so thrilled by these ideas. "You'll be approached by representatives of both the Merovingian and Machines," says Ragaini. "You're very valuable to them and want you to work for them. They realize that the ability to break the rules of the Matrix is something that is very valuable to them and they will make it worth your while to join their cause. They'll present not only rewards for doing so but the Machines and Merovingians have arguments for why Zion is wrong in their beliefs. The Machines will try to explain that if all the humans are released the machines would suffer a huge power crisis essentially forcing them to break the pact and the truce. They're actually advocating that humans and machines can co-exist. Likewise the Merovingian, the ultimate hedonist and super-powerful exile, is going to tempt players with the fact that they can live in The Matrix like a god."

But the kicker is that none of these sides will be implicitly presented as good or evil. That decision will be up to the player. Ragaini explains, "We're trying to let players decide for themselves which side is worthy of their support. We really hope that players will take those reasons to heart and convince other players and have discussions."

Using story to really drive the progression of an MMO has been tried in the past, but not quite to this scale. It seems that while Monolith will certainly be giving direction to players, much of the decision on how fast the story progresses will be up to how those in the game behave. "We see it as an evolution of the MMO genre," says William Westwater. "I think that's a big why the Wachowski brothers were excited by what Monolith wanted to do, which is tell stories. They want to tell stories and have done so in a lot of different media. But they like stories that go somewhere. It was exciting for us to get the opportunity to continue the story, but also to let the fans be part of the story. I mean, we come to games to live out these fantastic possibilities and very few MMOs have chosen to go this route and make narrative important."

Keeping players involved is a tricky task, especially when creating a game that is proposed to have a very long and winding story. To do this, Monolith plans on releasing several updates a year and while they'd certainly like to do these as often as possible, they're holding back on any definite numbers until they've tested the updating process to see how efficient it is and what kind of realistic time frame they can deliver the updates in. But we do know that these updates will include progressions in the stories driven by new missions and story content as well as brief cutscenes that will highlight important characters from the movies as well as events around the city.

"The cinematics are designed to create bookends around chapters as well as high points in the chapters," explains Westwater. "The omniscient narrative shows events that we don't want players to miss. Even if they're just hanging out in the game chatting with their friends 24/7, we still want them to hit critical narrative points that are very cool." Having seen a couple of these cutscenes, they should definitely add some life to the experience and help players stay interested. Not only are they used for giving plot points, but players that pay close attention might be able to find clues in the cutscenes that will prompt them to explore and investigate on their own.

These cutscenes will also help players catch up to events that they may have missed should they join the game farther down the line. With the progressing storyline, Monolith will be pulling missions out of the game depending on their connection to plot changes. This means players starting out six chapters down the line will experience their earlier levels differently than they would when the game is released.

When asked if he thought players that joined the game later on in the story cycle might feel a bit alienated by the progression, Westwater didn't seem to think it would be a huge concern. "I think that some of the players will go back and read over the websites and fansites, watch the cinematics and ask other players about the world and the heroes of the server they're on, just because they're interested in the history. I also think that's important also so you don't feel like you've been left behind. It would suck if your friends are all on chapter six and you're on chapter one. This way you can just jump right in and play with them and be part of the action right from the get-go."

Filling in on stories and history should be plenty easy for players as well. Aside from just hearing the news around the server and community, players will be able to visit the website and read the Sentinel newspaper to get all the goods. Because Monolith is trying to invest players in the world so thoroughly, it's likely that players and their exploits will appear in the paper. Some will even have the chance to affect the story and the gameworld during the course of their missions. Some players will be able to participate in unique events that might end up with players fighting a powerful nemesis character. "It's a very unique event in that if you kill him, you're the guys who killed him and he's dead," explains Westwater. "He's totally dead for the whole server world." This will be documented for other players in an update with a new newspaper and more missions opening up to accommodate for the change in environment and politics.

Watching the politics and how things change will be important for players. Missions for each of the major factions will lead players down different gameplay. The choice will always be open for them to switch alliances however, even if that's tough after a certain point. "The way the reputation works is that it isn't an instantaneous process," explains Ragaini. "If you've been working for Zion for a while and decide that you want to work for The Machines, you'll basically have to prove yourself to the Machines and build up enough reputation so that you're where you previously were with Zion. You can't just flip flop back and forth instantaneously. Turncoats aren't trusted at face value till they prove themselves. As a player there is an investment that you're making in that side and the choice you're making is something that becomes harder to reverse the longer you've committed yourself."

Of course, should players want, they can stay out of the happenings of the big three factions almost entirely by sticking to the missions flying underneath the radar. Along with Zion, Merovingians, and Machines will be several exiles and programs working on the streets of the city. "They aren't necessarily associated with any of the big three organizations, they're just trying to get by in what in some cases can be a very hostile world. You can choose to involve yourself in these local conflicts." Actions with these characters may not effect your standing at all even though meddling in these areas might bring you to odds with other smaller factions.

Listening to both Toby and William talk about the story behind The Matrix Online that there's a lot of thought and consideration going into their creation process. They do have a ways to go fixing everything to the point where they'll be ready to open the beta up, but the outlook is fairly good. As Ragaini says, "We're trying to create an environment where players are taking on the roles of these incredible operatives and that they'll be treated that way." It all sounds like a good argument to gobble up that red pill to us.

Keep your eyes out for more info on the different systems in the game when Monolith feels more comfortable talking about them. We'll be sure to let you know all about it.

Now, If you'd like to read more about The Matrix Online, go ahead and check out Gamespy's impressions from the same visit to Monolith.

Sounds awsome, doesnt it? i cannot wait to play this game.

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ooh i watched that like 45 min special on it on the revolutions DVD i cant wait for it

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it doesn't actually look that good, plus i can't stand PC games, i'm a console man, maybe if it come out on the XBOX i'll change my mind...i reckon it will just end up like a bigger version on Enter the Matrix, and that was average..

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Posted (edited)

avarage? explain your resoning, enter the matix was an awsome game, passing boundries where other games failed (I.E. Max Payne) and it's not gonna be another enter the matix, this ones so much different, like jobs and gangs, massive amounts of players adn how it takes up off of where revolutions left off, if you even like the matrix at all you'll enjoy it. i mean you get to explore every little corner and every little room of the city in the matrix

user posted image

even the slums

user posted image

its gonna blow every other online rpg out of the water

"Massively multiplayer games started out as fantasy-themed games that let you create a character with which you would fight a bunch of skeletons and goblins until you reached the next experience level in a colorful fantasy world. You weren't playing as yourself--you were playing as Galstaff, the sorcerer of blight, and if you played your cards right, you could have gotten your hot little hands on a rusty quarterstaff. Maybe it's ironic that one new massively multiplayer game, The Matrix Online, will instead let you control a person who, in turn, is controlling a virtual-reality character. That's right, in this upcoming game developed by Monolith and copublished by Warner Bros. Interactive and Sega, you'll play as an awakened "blue pill"--a human being who had previously been enslaved by the enigmatic machines. "

Sorce

Edited by Janiel

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Actually Janile mate, Enter the Matrix did VERY poorly overall, and even in my opinion, sucked ass.

Yes, the fighting was fun.. umm.. what else did the game have? Some more fighting.. urr... 4 hours of fighting...

OH YES, some driving and shooting. Well, i think Mirco Machines on the Genesis had more advanced driving mechanics.

I gave it 3/10.

Max Payne, how exactly did that fail? The story was amazing, you actually DO stuff other than run around the same locations fighting, brilliant scripts and shooting, and the Bullet-Time was WAY better. 9/10 for Max Payne 2.

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whistling2.gif fine then be that way, i didnt like payne as much is all and yea disgust.gif

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But why? The storyline is so brilliant, the voice acting, the comic strips, i'd go as far to say a work of art!

I however have heard next to nothing of the new Matrix, so wont pass judgement until i play it.

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i didn't like max payne either, well enter the matrix was far to short and easy, and i rushed out and bought it and was rather dissapointed..

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saying that enter the matrix sold rather well, well it did in the u.k, probably because of all the hype of the films.

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It did sell well here too. I as well rushed out and brought it.

6 hours later i had done every single thing there was to do in the game, and was at the same shop asking for my money back.

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saying that enter the matrix sold rather well, well it did in the u.k, probably because of all the hype of the films.

thats what made it good, another part of the story and it sold very well grin2.gif

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It did sell well here too. I as well rushed out and brought it.

6 hours later i had done every single thing there was to do in the game, and was at the same shop asking for my money back.

did you do all the hacking? that i found very fun, or even the two player mode...

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Yes. It was okay. Nothing special. Unlocked a bunch of pictures, movies, two player etc. The only thing that was really worth hacking for was the SWORD, arr yeaah, and the cheat menu.

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Posted (edited)

the hacking was a nice little sidequest, but even that was easy, and there was no real pont to it, just trying to make a short game last a bit longer really...

[EDIT: removed the 7 replica posts, please use the 'report this thread' button when you double-post so we can delete them asap] thumbsup.gif

Edited by Tommy

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Posted (edited)

Mr Halo.. thats a lot of posts..

wow Janiel.. you are the first person I've met that thought Enter the Matrix was a good game.

GMR score: 3/10

CGW Score: 2.5/5

EGM scores : 6.0, 3.5, 3.5 (out of a possible 10.0)

The game was repetative, the camera sucked.. the "focus" was a joke, and was pull off WORSE then Max Payne..

Jan, I can promise you Matrix online will not have "Massive amounts of players" You may break a thousand in 6-12 months.. But it's not going to be the next Everquest, nor is it a serious competetor with EQ2, or WoW. (or middle earth online, Wish, or D&D)

The snare

The Matrix isn't quite the powerhouse it used to be; interest in the series has steeply declined since the last two sequels were released. Fans still hold steadfast to the original film, but the mainstream public might not be interested in a new game after playing the best-selling but poorly polished Enter the Matrix.

Monolith is a talented studio, but this is its first MMORPG. Even so, the company has wrangled in some excellent MMORPG talent, such as Asheron's Call lead designer Toby Ragaini. We're also told to expect some former EverQuest developers to be on board.

Because Ubisoft recently pulled out of the project, the game has endured a bit of publisher schizophrenia. We learned in a surprise announcement during E3 that Sega and Warner Brothers are now copublishing the game, which is gearing up for a Q4 release.

From 1up.com

The fact that the story is driven and scripted for a year, doesn't mean that after that year is up, you'll get more. If the company decides that they're not turning a big enough profit, they are likely to cancel the game.

The downloadable mission packs are another thing nail in the Matrix coffin, who's going to: Pay a monthy fee AND pay a premium to DL a mission pack? Your not talking content like an EQ expansion.. your talking a Mission.

it doesn't actually look that good, plus i can't stand PC games, i'm a console man, maybe if it come out on the XBOX i'll change my mind...i reckon it will just end up like a bigger version on Enter the Matrix, and that was average..

1 month.... Fable... Nuff said

Edited by hunterkiller2001

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Wow, not a double or triple, but OCTO POST, not bad Halo!

HK2001, thanks bud!

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nor is it a serious competetor with EQ2, or WoW

good point, WoW is gonna be awsome grin2.gif i kinda forgot about that lol

there are a lot of hardcore warcraft players (they even made a WoW RPG map for warcraft3)

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Actually Janile mate, Enter the Matrix did VERY poorly overall, and even in my opinion, sucked ass.

Yes, the fighting was fun.. umm.. what else did the game have? Some more fighting.. urr... 4 hours of fighting...

OH YES, some driving and shooting. Well, i think Mirco Machines on the Genesis had more advanced driving mechanics.

I gave it 3/10.

Max Payne, how exactly did that fail? The story was amazing, you actually DO stuff other than run around the same locations fighting, brilliant scripts and shooting, and the Bullet-Time was WAY better. 9/10 for Max Payne 2.

Completely agree with you BurnSide. Max Payne 2 was a GREAT game, and I'd give it a 10/10 if it wasn't by the fact that it was too short disgust.gif

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To short, and they could have added some fighting. That's the only reason i gave EtM any points at all, the fighting was fun until it got uber repetitive.

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whe i first played EtM, i liked it a lot, then i discovered how bad of a game it was. it is one of my least favorite games that iveever played. im hoping the the Matrix Online will be really good, and im sure it will. from what ive heard, its gonna be completly different from EtM. hk2001, how do you know that an expansion for the game is going to be a mission. the game is originally supposta be big enough to occupy enough time for the player until the downloadable expansion is released, which should be another huge chunk of storyline, movies, and missions. and you dont know that there's not gonna be very many players online. it could be a lot. we just have to wait and see. youre right about it most likely not going to be as good as everquest, even though ive never played it, i just know from the amount of popularity it has. it could be very good though. i, for one, am going to buy it soon after its released. if i dont like it, ill return it.

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That seems to be the way it was for everyone. They got pulled in with lots of promises and screenshots, played it for 10 mins, and got really bored really fast.

We want more than a little kicking and fightingi'm afraid. Hell MARIO 1 had more stuff to do.

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TMO will have MUCH MUCH more to do than EtM. the city is going to be like 3 times the size of any in GTA. well...maybe a little smaller, dont know about SA, but there is gonna be tons of missions to do that require traveling through an entire city. i think its gonna be awsome.

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hey i didn't mean to post all them, my computer wouldn't work and tell me if i'd posted it or not, sorry guys..

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