‘The Matrix Resurrections’ is Getting a Tie-in Game Experience But It isn’t in VR and That’s a Crime

Opinion

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The Matrix Resurrections, the fourth installment in the famed series, is set to debut on December 22nd. Later this week the film will get a tie-in game experienced based on Unreal Engine 5, but it won’t be available in VR and that’s a terrible shame.

Here we are, 20 years after the original Matrix, a film that argurably popularized the concept of virtual reality more widely than any other single piece of media before or since. Amazingly, in those intervening 20 years, virtual reality has seen a resurrection of its own. It made the leap from failed ’90s VR tech that survived only as niche, ultra-expensive training equipment to what is now a widely available consumer technology on the verge of reaching a mainstream audience.

VR is here. So it’s a shame that an upcoming tie-in game experience for The Matrix 4 seems to be largely ignoring the tech.

The upcoming title, called The Matrix awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 experience, is set to debut on December 9th during The Game Awards, just two weeks ahead of the film.

Here’s the tease:

Get ready for a glimpse into the future of interactive storytelling and entertainment with UE5 in this free, boundary-pushing cinematic and real-time tech demo.

Created by members of the original movie team including Lana Wachowski along with Epic Games and partners, ‘The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience’ is a wild ride into the reality-bending universe of ‘The Matrix’ that features performances by Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss.

Want to see what’s possible when you combine the power of Unreal Engine 5 with the Xbox Series X/S? Step into the world of one of the most iconic action franchises ever made. Pre-download ‘The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience’ now.

The Matrix awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 is available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S and can be pre-downloaded today.

We can see from the PlayStation 5 download page that the experience doesn’t list support for PSVR, nor do we have any info suggesting the app will be available on PC VR (or even PC generally) or Quest.

This isn’t going to be a full-blown game by any means, just a short free experience, presumably rendered in real-time with Unreal Engine 5. The project seems to be a collaboration between Warner Bros and Epic Games, the company behind Unreal Engine.

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From the brief glimpse that we get, it looks like the experience will probably be a showcase of Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman technology, which enables the creation and real-time rendering of impressively realistic digital humans.

Especially considering that Unreal Engine is one of the leading engines used to create VR content, it’s a big bummer that this perfect opportunity to tie together a famed franchise, built around the concept of VR, with the VR technology that’s actually available to us in this day and age.

But hey, I get it, this is a piece of marketing and clearly Warner Bros and Epic want to reach as many people as possible. Constraining the project to only work in VR would work against those objectives because there’s way more game consoles out there than VR headsets. And though the experience could have optional VR support, it’s likely it doesn’t due to performance considerations. After all, the experience will probably be a demonstration of high-end real-time graphics, and VR makes that a whole lot more challenging due to the need to render stereoscopically and at high framerates & resolutions.

Image courtesy Warner Bros.

But that doesn’t change the fact that The Matrix couldn’t be more perfectly suited to a VR game or experience—both conceptually and from a gameplay standpoint. We’ve already seen a handful of great VR games that do an amazing job of invoking the experiences portrayed in the film without even meaning to. Hell, here an excerpt from my SUPERHOT VR review from five years ago, which employs a totally unique time-bending game mechanic:

It actually seems like a bit of a missed opportunity that this game isn’t literally built on The Matrix IP, as the execution elicits that feeling of awesome bullet-time combat that the franchise is known for (not to mention all the VR themes), and would open up rich narrative opportunities. Who knows the Wachowskis? We need to introduce them to Superhot VR.

I’d actually highly recommend listening to the Matrix movie soundtracks while playing the game; who would have guessed—it’s a perfect fit!

Oh and then there’s my Pistol Whip review from two years ago, which even makes you move like you’re in the Matrix.

Enemy bullets fly at you slowly enough to give you time to dodge your head out of the way as they approach. As you get used to the timing, you start to proactively move and dodge rather than simply react. As a result you start to ‘flow’ your upper body around as you dodge and shoot your way through each level. The movement feels a lot like being an Agent from The Matrix (1999).

And that’s hardly half of it. Even the stabby-stab gameplay of Blade & Sorcery makes you feel like The One on occasion as you perform highly choreographed combat in slow-motion.

– – — – –

That is to say, VR is not just a great thematic fit for some kind of Matrix experience; it’s also uniquely well suited for Matrix-like gameplay that can’t be delivered through any other medium.

Maybe one day the stars will align and we’ll finally see the famed franchise make the leap into real… virtual reality. Or maybe it technically already has….

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  • Alex Groleau

    VR is still just as lame now as it was then and the Matrix wants us to connect to the real world, not embrace the equally as lame world of the machines and the Zuckerberg. I am happy they didn’t take this route.

    • Raphael

      And yet here you are loitering on a VR site… funny that ain’t it? You’re like one of those people who “hates apple” and spends his days posting on apple news features and websites.

    • Either you’ve never actually played VR or you are a moron. Now, which one is it?

  • guest

    MetaHuman, is Meta Infringement on Meta Anything to Metassholes!

    • Meta go jump in a lake.

      • Ragbone

        I suppose i can ask the sword master one more time…

  • kontis

    Who cares about some useless marketing materials?

    The actual crime is this entire movie, a soulless quasi-reboot cashgrab that looks like a low budget Netflix spin-off. The entire art direction, cinematography, action choreography and pretty much everything showed in trailers not only does NOT resemble Matrix in any way but also feels like a generic action movie. Even the poorly written Matrix 3 Revolutions didn’t do this kind of crime. It had bold vision. This cashgrab thing has nothing.

    • silvaring

      It’s got Keanu Reeves… that’s enough for me to give it a shot, he has been in so many great films throughout the last 30 years, check out John Wick Parabellum if you havent yet, amazing action scenes.

      • Let the killing stop!!
        … and the Healing begin ….

    • Looks like it’s gonna make Trinity the actually real saviour of us all too–it wasn’t Neo, the character they told us was “the one” since the very first movie, after all–because 2021.

      Hope I’m wrong on this but . . .

      • wtyovino

        I wouldn’t bank on them revealing major plot twists in a teaser. This is the Matrix, not Star Wars.

  • kontis

    Not sure how a typical custom expensive and labour intensive 3D scan of an actor is supposed to demonstrate metahuman tech that is absolutely incapable of generating this kind of results?

    • Lucidfeuer

      Yeah that’s clearly a blatant marketing, metahuman was utterly disappointing

  • Trekkie

    UE4/5 are pathetic engines for VR. The former has a brain dead VR renderer and the later will never run on the Quest, standalone or not with its new features turned on.

    Custom engines is the answer to make VR games that dont look like DOOM 1.

  • Yeah, it’s a pity, but I think you nailed the reasons: they wanted to reach the biggest number possible of people with the best graphics possible

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      • Nothing to see here

        So why aren’t you out enjoying the good life instead of spamming message boards?

  • Bumpy

    Ugg..dude needs a hair cut, badly.

  • Anybody else feel this article is a lot longer than it should be …?

    • Keopsys

      Anybody else tired of this guy shouting bold text stupid comments all the time ?

      • Raphael

        A recent survey indicated a growing number of readers are tired of his bold text stupid comments all the time.

    • wtyovino

      If infinity counts as “a lot”, than yes. This “experience” isn’t VR, it shouldn’t be on here at all.

  • Ad

    I still don’t think the Matrix is a VR movie in the traditional sense compared to BCI and AI.

    • behram

      +1
      The exuberant disappointment here comes from passionate VR enthusiasts.
      From the “VR product X doesn’t have feature Y so your Hardware / Game will fail” days.

      A ton of things that we “think” will be cool in VR don’t Actually pan out that way when money is put towards it. Its something you learn after burning your hands a little.

      The VR experience will come. It “has to”. Perhaps in a year or two.
      Cheers,
      b

    • wtyovino

      AI didn’t have *anything* to do with VR at all, and what the actual fuck even *is* BCI?

      • Ad

        The matrix is about robots taking over the world and AI agents in the matrix. The matrix is like the most BCI movie there is, they stick big nodes in their brains.

  • “But It isn’t in VR and That’s a Crime”

    Totally agree.

    Given the whole idea behind the Matrix, not putting a new Matrix game in VR is just a total fail imo.

  • Nothing to see here

    Perhaps they would have liked to do a VR version but a few things got in their way:
    The PS5 has no VR and has to rely on PS4 compatibility and the now ancient PSVR headset.
    The XBox Series X also has VR and it would be far too distracting to Microsoft to add it (except maybe possibly someday perhaps if…)
    The Quest 2 has no where near the graphics power to pull off this demo.
    The PC. OK sure the PC could run it except that Unreal 5 only just now starting to get some games to use it and VR is likely lagging behind on their todo list.

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  • the vast majority

    No Vr, I’m out then. lol

  • behram

    I’m sure the intention is to do something for VR especially with psvr 2. Betting that’s already happening within both Co’s.

    Remember Kim Libreri now CTO of Epic Games was responsible for VFX on the original trilogy. He’s done & forgotten things most of us haven’t discovered.
    Just wait a little and you will get what you wished for. Come back here and post if it’s what you wanted.

    b

  • Lucidfeuer

    I was surprised and then it made sense: almost nobody, no company invests in pricey VR teaser experiences anymore, and certainly not with the mediocre stalling monopoly that Facebook has instated with the Oculus. Then there’s the fact that the experience not only is a glorified tech demo for UE5 but also probably relies on the screen as a frame for the meta narrative purpose.

    In fact the more I hear rumors and internals about Epic, the more it seems like they’re wanting to distantiate themselves from the evil company. Well, as a Matrix fan it doesn’t matter since the movie is clearly going to be lame.

  • If at least there was a PC version, we could play it in 3D

  • I would were more worried if the new movie weren’t in 3D. All the Matrix movies in 3D is a wet dream for a lot of people….

  • Talon1

    Wow, both of the people who have the latest Xbox and PS5 are sure to enjoy this.