Ubisoft has recently updated the official Web site for its upcoming movie-inspired massively multiplayer online role-playing game with new information and answers to frequently asked questions. Currently in development at Monolith and EON Productions, the game will be set after the events of the movie trilogy and will take place in a sprawling city within the matrix itself, complete with subways, nightclubs, skyscrapers, and dark alleys.
No "real world" gameplay will feature in the game--once players have created their character, they will effectively be logged into the matrix as if they were aboard a real-world hovercraft at broadcast depth. Once they're inside the matrix, players will be able to participate in solo or group missions against non-player characters and can even pit their skills against those of one of the thousands of other players inhabiting the virtual world in player-versus-player combat. Multiple martial arts styles and firearms will feature in the game, and in order to master different techniques, players will be able to download matrix ability codes in the same way that characters like Neo and Trinity do in the Matrix movies. Ability codes are one of the features that will distinguish The Matrix Online from other online role-playing games, because, unlike skills in other games, they can be swapped out and exchanged for added flexibility when developing a character.
Upon entering the matrix for the first time, player characters will only be able to employ a limited number of relatively basic ability codes, but, as their characters evolve, they'll be able to use more powerful and larger numbers of codes simultaneously. In addition to Matrix-style martial arts combat, players will be able to take advantage of a bullet-time slow-motion feature, download stealth and hacker abilities, and even perform spectacular hyperjumps between buildings.
The matrix megacity in which the game is set is being created using an internally developed, proprietary game engine created by Monolith and EON, and it will feature living neighborhoods complete with non-player characters and traffic. The gameplay will be open-ended, although players will be able to accept missions from organizations within the matrix such as Zion and the Machines. The Matrix Online will be regularly updated with storylines, missions, and art, and players will also have the ability to create their own objects within the matrix.
The Matrix Online is currently scheduled for release sometime in 2004. For more information, check out our previous coverage of the game.