Nearly three years after it was first announced, The Matrix Online has finally gone...online. Copublishers Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Sega announced today that the massively multiplayer online game is en route to retailers across North America, after being pushed back from its previously announced January 18 launch date.
Originally, the game was to be copublished by Ubisoft. However, Ubi and Warner Bros. semi-amicably dissolved their deal in February 2004 for undisclosed reasons. Three months later at E3, Sega announced it would help distribute the game.
Developed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's now in-house studio, Monolith Productions, The Matrix Online is set in the titular artificial reality of The Matrix films. Players will create a character that belongs to one of three factions: Zion, the Machines, or the Merovingians. Each faction is spotlighted in nine trailers for the game on its official Web site. The game will feature many characters from the films, and it will also feature the voices and likenesses of original actors Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus), Monica Bellucci (Persephone), and Lambert Wilson (the Merovingian).
The Matrix Online is rated "T" for Teen and will retail for $49.99, with a subsequent monthly subscription fee of $14.99. Gamers who preordered the game got access to it three days ahead of the general public, and their in-game characters received an advanced-level "hyper jump" ability.
Until GameSpot's full review of The Matrix Online goes up next week, feel free to check out our previous coverage of the game.