The Matrix Awakens is not strictly speaking a video game, but an interactive experience. This project is above all a technical demo created by Epic Games (Unreal Tournament, Gears of War, Fortnite) in collaboration with The Coalition (Gears 5, Gears Tactics). The latter is thought to highlight the technical prowess of Unreal Engine 5, the engine designed by the same Epic Games.
This dive into the Matrix is an opportunity to rediscover, in real time, the iconic characters of the Matrix saga in a virtual version surfing dangerously with photo-realism. The recreation of Neo and Trinity, played by Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Mosse respectively, is glaring with truth. It even becomes difficult to distinguish what is real from what is not. The Chosen One warns us. The Matrix is no longer a pipe dream. It is at our doorstep. In fact, what difference is there still in December 2023 between a 100% biological human being and his reproduction made of 0 and 1?
After a 100% action sequence that echoes the legendary Matrix Reloaded motorway chase, a new awake walks the streets and alleys of this simulation. Driving and exploring the city is only a small part of the possibilities offered to players by programmers. Like the Chosen Ones, the awakened ones can act as they wish on various parameters, starting with the green filter inherent in the Matrix as well as the day / night cycle, but also visualize the other side of the scenery.
It’s no longer a secret. Morpheus is well and truly back in surprising form, to say the least. The prophet of the first Matrix trilogy played by Laurence Fishburne gives way to a “digital” version whose role is played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Indeed, the Morpheus that fans know is only a distant memory. He was in the last years of his life the Grand Master of Zion, the last human bastion, before dying his beautiful death.
Matrix Resurrections begins decades after the events of Matrix Revolutions. The Morpheus of this new episode cannot be the real Morpheus. It is actually an artificial consciousness locked in a Modal, and more precisely Modal-101. This simulator-programmer developed by Thomas Anderson aka Neo is a simulation in the simulation that is the Matrix. The Matrix Awakens could be another Modal, and our reality said simulation. We would then be in the Matrix, our Matrix.
Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss and their digital doubles warn the audience about the dangers of these artificial universes where only an “immortal” consciousness remains… in theory at least. Who is the real Neo? That of Matrix (1999)? The one from Matrix Resurrections? or the Canadian actor himself? Ditto for Trinity! The real and the virtual become one in the era of social networks, of an interconnected world and of metavers that are expected to make us digital beings.
During the feature film directed by Lana Wachowski, Thomas Anderson is summoned by the boss of Deus Machina studios to develop a sequel to the Matrix video game trilogy. In 1999, in the diegesis of Matrix Resurrections, and therefore of the Matrix imagined by the Analyst, Neo is the designer of a series of video games that forever changed the face of the virtual world in which he “lives”. Matrix the cinematographic saga thus becomes Matrix the video game saga in the world of films.
Warner Bros. a few years later pushes the Deus Machina studios to embark on a sequel to the famous trilogy. This sequel echoes the one planned for the end of December 2023 in the dark rooms of our own reality. Matrix 4 therefore exists in several forms depending on the standard. The situation becomes more complex when The Matrix Awakens muddies the waters, and creates a bridge between reality and simulation. The interactive experience born from the collaboration between Epic Games and The Coalition could be the technical demo demanded by Warner Bros., or even said video game. The Matrix Awakens would be Matrix 4 … or at least a version of Matrix 4.
The film Matrix Resurrections is a meta work that points to the commercial exploitation of nostalgia and therefore of the sagas of the past. The Matrix Awakens would be the fruit of the union between a short-term vision of entertainment and the trans-media themes that run through this cyberpunk universe. Indeed, the preventive discourse of Neo and Trinity is swept away by a sequence of “sexy” action and this famous Bullet Time supposed to sum up by itself the work of the Wachowski. By their very existence, the Resurrections and Awakens experiences thus sound the alarm bells.