When THE MATRIX first came out in theaters, it took most moviegoers by surprise. Here was a movie with a storyline that was not a rehash of some other story and even made some people question the reality that they live in now. Years later, we see the launch of the second movie, THE MATRIX RELOADED. But May 15th wasn't just the release date for the new movie. Atari and Shiny Entertainment have teamed up to release their video game that covers the events surrounding the second movie. That game is ENTER THE MATRIX.
"Basically, the thing that is interesting about THE MATRIX is that it isn't just about a guy named Neo, it's actually an entire universe that was created by the Wachowski brothers," says Dave Perry, president of Shiny Entertainment and the lead designer on ENTER THE MATRIX. "And in that universe, you learn that the humans living in what they consider the real world are not in the real world at all. They are living in pods that are built by machines and are actually living in this fantasy world that keeps them under control. The fantasy world seems real to them, but the real world is a bunch of rebels that are trying to save them and free them from this prison of their minds."
Unlike most video games, ENTER THE MATRIX has its own storyline and isn't a retelling of what fans will see in the movie.
"In a video game, the normal way a game gets done is to buy the license and to work on it with a small amount of input from the people who work on the movie," says Perry. "But the Wachowski brothers decided they wanted to do something that has never been done before, which was to make the game run parallel to the movie that they were also making at the same time. And the two would intersect at certain times, and the movie would affect the game and the game would affect the movie. So basically, while Neo might be doing something in the movie, you are actually helping him in the video game. And so that is an exciting concept, and it is almost impossible to do unless the movie directors are making the video game themselves."
Even though the game is close to the movie, a lot of you must be thinking "Wow, there is no way that everything in the movie looks exactly what it looks like in the movie. There is just no way!" Well, Dave Perry will tell you differently.
"Basically what we did is to try to keep the game as close to the movie as possible," Perry explains. "To stay accurate with the movie, we took over 25,000 digital photographs of the sets, and we also had access to the architectural plans for the movie sets. So, a good example is a set in the movie that we needed to have more doors on because we wanted to explore that area in the video game more, so we were able to actually take their architectural plans and say for the video game we need you to add a door here. So that means that the movie set and the video game set were entirely compatible."
There are two playable characters in ENTER THE MATRIX, and both are introduced in the new movie - Niobe and Ghost. Both will be thrown into numerous types of situations in the game.
"We kind of cheated because we asked gamers what they would want to see in the game," says Perry. "And they came up with this entire laundry list of things they wanted to see - running on walls, kung fu, Agent Smith and some other things. Absolutely everything they listed we have, but also we have some extra things. The next movie has a major driving sequence, and so the game wouldn't be quite up to date if we didn't have driving in it. So that's in there. We also wanted them to explore the real world, so there are some fights there where you're flying a hovercraft. And you can also actually hack into your machine and unlock levels and hack weapons into certain levels and so on."
ENTER THE MATRIX was released yesterday, May 15, along side the new movie THE MATRIX RELOADED.