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5 – Matrix Video Games

5.1 Enter the Matrix

This is the first video game based on The Matrix series of films that was put on the market. Its story was concurrent with that of The Matrix Reloaded, and featured over an hour of original footage, directed by the  Wachowskis and starring the cast of the film trilogy, produced exclusively for the game. It sold one million copies in its first eighteen days of release, 2.5 million over the first six weeks, and ultimately 5 million copies.

It was first put on sale on 15 May 2003, the same day as “The Matrix Reloaded” was released in North America. “Enter the Matrix” was simultaneously produced with “The Matrix Reloaded” and The “Matrix Revolutions”. It was developed by Shiny Entertainment and published by Atari and WB Interactive for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and PC. It was published in Japan by Bandai.

5.1.1 Gameplay

Enter the Matrix gives players control of two of the supporting characters from “Reloaded and Revolutions”, Ghost and Niobe, members of the same group of rebels as Morpheus, Trinity, and Neo, the protagonists of the series. Niobe is the Captain of the Logos, the fastest ship in the rebel fleet. Ghost is the ship’s first mate, weapons guru, and a deep-thinking, philosophical assassin. The game takes place at roughly the same time as the events in “Reloaded”.

Players play as either Niobe or Ghost, each of whom have slight variations during their story. Most levels involve controlling players in a third-person perspective, using guns and fighting skills to defeat opponents and complete level objectives. At any time, players can activate bullet time (called “Focus” in the game) which slows down time, giving players the ability to perform actions such as shooting in midair and dodging bullets. Some levels involve one on one martial arts fighting against single opponents. In levels involving vehicles, such as driving a car or piloting the Logos, the style of gameplay depends on the selected player, with Niobe manoeuvring the vehicles to avoid obstacles, whilst Ghost takes control of a gun to fight off incoming enemies. A hacking system allows players to enter codes, which can unlock secrets, weapons and skills.

In it, Vigilant crew member Axel has been captured by some Agents.

5.1.2 Plot

The story begins with Niobe, captain of the Logos, and Ghost, her first mate, retrieving a package left in the Matrix by the crew of the recently destroyed rebel ship Osiris. After being pursued by Agents, Ghost and Niobe escape from the Matrix with the package, which turns out to be a message to the human city Zion, warning them that the machines are approaching with an army of Sentinels. Niobe and Ghost are tasked with calling the rest of the ships back to Zion to coordinate a defence.

With this in mind, the captains of the various ships hold a meeting in the Matrix to decide on how best to defend themselves. During the meeting, Agents attack the building they are in, although Niobe and Ghost are able to help their allies escape. They then encounter the Keymaker, a program capable of accessing any area in the Matrix, who leads them to safety through a door he created. The Keymaker gives the two a key that they are supposed to give to Neo. However, the key is stolen by henchmen of the Merovingian, a program created during the early days of the Matrix who now operates an illegal smuggling ring within the program. Ultimately, the Merovingian destroys the key, but Niobe and Ghost are able to escape, when the Keymaker realizes that it is too early for the key to be given to Neo.

Niobe later volunteers to go find the Nebuchadnezzar, the ship captained by Morpheus, upon which Neo serves, and the only ship which has not yet returned to Zion. Upon finding the ship and its crew, and helping them escape from the Matrix, Niobe and Ghost agree to help in Neo’s mission against the machines, agreeing to destroy a power plant. After this mission is completed, the Oracle, a program that often gives the humans advice, requests that the player character come and speak to her. After their conversation, the player is confronted by Agent Smith, a rogue Agent that seeks to destroy both the human and machine worlds. The player character barely escapes from the hundreds of Smith copies and the Matrix. Once out, the Logos is attacked by the machines. They defeat the machines by setting off an EMP, which disables their own ship in the process. The game ends with Niobe and Ghost waiting in the Logos, hoping that they will be rescued.

5.1.3 Characters

Aside from Ghost and Niobe, there are numerous secondary characters in Enter The Matrix.
–    Sparks — the operator on the Logos; he gives players tips and information throughout the game.
–    Smith — a program that can absorb human bodies and humanoid programs to make copies of himself; he chases the player through an abandoned skyscraper, and later, Chinatown.
–    Agent Johnson — an agent who appears frequently during the game; Niobe defeats him by kicking him off a cargo plane, while Ghost defeats him by knocking him into a short-circuited computer server.
–    Agent Jackson — another agent with frequent appearances in the game; Ghost defeats him by blowing up his helicopter. Jackson also tries to kill Niobe and Ghost after the crew of the Caduceus is saved, but the two were unexpectedly saved by The Keymaker.
–    Agent Thompson — the least-featured Agent in the game, who only appears in cinematics; the only opportunity to fight him occurs at the end of Niobe’s missions at the power plant.
–    The Oracle — a program within the Matrix who often helps the humans.
–    Seraph — a martial arts master who protects the Oracle; he fights Niobe or Ghost once during the events of the game.
–    Morpheus — a member of the rebels, Niobe’s ex-boyfriend, and captain of the Nebuchadnezzar.
–    Trinity — another rebel, a good friend of Ghost, to whom she refers as “dear brother”; first mate on the Nebuchadnezzar.
–    Neo — the most important rebel; Morpheus believes he is “The One”.
–    Cmdr. Locke — leader of the Zion defence forces; Niobe’s current boyfriend.
–    Axel, Soren, Ballard, Bane, Vector, Binary, Ice, Corrupt and Malachi — rebels encountered during the game.
–    The Keymaker — an old program who guides players through certain portions of the game.
–    The Trainman — carries multiple wristwatches on his arms; he controls the link between the Matrix and the machine city, and works for the Merovingian.
–    The Merovingian — an old program that has gone rogue in the Matrix; he has a chateau in the mountains wherein he has the Keymaker imprisoned; his henchmen are from early Matrix programs, and are rumoured to be “vampires” and “werewolves”.
–    Persephone — wife of the Merovingian; often betrays him out of spite.
–    Cain and Abel — two henchmen of the Merovingian.
–    Vlad — the black-clad, pale-skinned leader of the Merovingian’s vampires; he is killed by Niobe, who stabs him through the heart with a wooden stake.
–    Cujo — the leader of the Merovingian’s werewolves; he is killed by being impaled on a wooden stake in the dungeons of the chateau.
–    The Twins — employees of the Merovingian, they are encountered as the player leaves the chateau; they chase the players down a long tunnel, before they are finally evaded.

5.1.4 Connections to the films

“Enter the Matrix” was designed, like “The Animatrix”, to be an integral part of the Matrix milieu. The game includes one hour of live action 35 mm film footage written and directed specifically for the game by the Wachowskis. The martial arts moves and game engine cut scenes feature actions motion captured directly from the films’ actors and stunt doubles to recreate their unique fighting style, and were created under the supervision of the series’ fight scene choreographer Yuen Woo-ping.

The player learns that Neo is not the only target of Persephone’s predilection for trading kisses for esoteric information; Niobe and Ghost are both put into positions where they must submit to her whims in order to gain critical information. Significant also to the continuity of the Matrix universe is the first appearance of actress Mary Alice in the role of the Oracle. Gloria Foster, the original actress, had died of complications related to diabetes early in the production of “The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions”. She had filmed her scenes for Reloaded, but was yet to complete her work on Revolutions. The game includes a sequence specifically explaining her change of appearance, as a result of an attack on her by the Merovingian. The Merovingian’s attack was facilitated by a sacrificial trade with the compassionate program Rama-Kandra. The Merovingian acquired the deletion codes for the Oracle’s external “shell,” and in exchange, he gave Rama-Kandra’s daughter, Sati, her freedom, despite her lack of purpose in the machine world. The Oracle foreshadows, however, that Sati will play an important role in both the Matrix and the Real world.

5.2 The Matrix Online

“The Matrix Online” (also known as “Matrix Online”) was a massively multiplayer online game developed by Monolith Productions. It was the official continuation of the storyline of the Matrix series of films. The game began closed beta-testing in June 2004 which was then opened for people who pre-ordered the game in November 2004. Warner Bros. and Sega officially released MxO on March 22, 2005 in the United States. It was released in Europe on April 15, 2005. The game ran continuously from then until it was shut down on July 31, 2009 by Sony Online Entertainment.

Ubisoft backed out of an agreement to co-publish the game, not long after cancelling plans for another MMORPG. Ubisoft and Warner Bros. stated that this did not have a negative impact on their relationship. At the time, doubts about the game circled within the industry, based on the lackluster reception of the later two Matrix films and an overcrowded MMORPG market.

In the MMORPG The Matrix Online it is mentioned that:
–    The Brahma was destroyed so utterly in the sentinel attack that nothing salvageable or identifiable remained
–    The wreckage of the Novalis was in fairly good shape, and the ship was quickly rebuilt using spare parts available in Zion, and renamed the Novalis II.

A message to players of “The Matrix Online” was broadcast from the hovercraft Prometheus.

Neo’s Hope is Kid’s designated ship in “The Matrix Online” and the flagship for the E Pluribus Neo splinter organization

5.2.1 Gameplay

The player assumes the role of a redpill, a human who was formerly trapped inside the Matrix and exposed to the concept of reality. When creating a new character, the player is given the choice of taking a blue pill that will return them to their former life (quit the game) or a red pill, which will free their minds from the Matrix and allow them to take the body of a physical human and experience reality. Characters that are unaware of the fact that they are in the simulation are often referred to as “bluepills” because they have either taken the blue pill or have not been given the choice yet. People who are aware of the simulation (players) are referred to as “redpills” because they have taken the red pill (or, in very rare cases, when a character has self-substantiated out of the Matrix on their own). Following the choice between the two pills, the player is then taken through a basic tutorial of the game’s mechanics, including mission interaction and the combat system. After the tutorial, they are then free to roam the Mega City (the large metropolis that the entire Matrix story is set in).

5.2.2 Combat

Combat is divided into two separate parts: Free-fire and Interlock. Free-fire mode allows for large gun battles to take place, while Interlock is often broken down into bullet-time-affected martial arts moves and close-quarters gunfire.

There are three main classes in the Matrix Online:
–    Coders who create a special “simulacrum” that fights for them.
–    Hackers who manipulate the code of the Matrix to affect friends and enemies from a distance, damaging them, downgrading their combat abilities, or healing them and upgrading their powers.
–    Operatives are the common soldiers seen from the movies – Martial Artists, Gunmen, and the new Spy class, which revolves around stealth fighting and knife throwing. Magazines never seem to run out of bullets and knife throwers also have an unlimited supply.

In free-fire mode, operatives exchange damage with each other. Gunmen and Hackers are well-equipped for this, with their ranged attacks and abilities. Martial Artists must get close to their targets to be effective, and although a Spy’s most dangerous abilities are initiated out of Interlock, they also pull their opponents into Interlock. Each attack or ability is used at timed intervals, based on the system of damage per second (D.P.S.). For example, the strongest rifle in the Matrix does 15 damage points per second, and has a fire rate of 3.5 seconds, which, in free-fire, causes the rifle to have a base damage of 52.5, to be altered by the player’s own stats. Opposed to such, a Hacker’s stronger attack ability such as Logic Barrage 4.0 does 63 D.P.S., but with a short casting timer, does a base damage of only 120-180 damage.

In Interlock, or Close Combat, two players exchange damage in rounds. Each round lasts exactly four seconds. For each round, the two players’ accuracies are pitted against each other’s defences, which are slightly affected by a random “luck” roll. There are three different outcomes to a round:
–    Hit-hit. In hit-hit, one player will damage the other, only to be damaged themselves in a counterattack. When special abilities are used, however, there can be no hit-hit round, although the miss-miss round can still apply.
–    Hit-miss. In hit-miss, one of the players will hit the other while dodging or blocking their attack.
–    Miss-miss. In miss-miss, both players will parry each other without doing damage.

When taking or dealing damage, one player’s damage influences are pitted against another player’s resistance influences of the same damage type (i.e. a gunman’s ballistic damage versus an opponent’s ballistic resistance). Higher resistance versus lower damage means that the defending player will not take as much damage.

When attacking or defending against attacks, one player’s accuracy influences are pitted against another’s defence influences of the same attack type.

There is no turn-based combat in the Matrix Online. All combat takes place in “real time”, and large scale battles are often decided by the sheer numbers of forces of one side versus others. Amassing a large number of players to control the battlefield is affectionately dubbed “zerging”.

Currently, there is no way to effectively use player versus player combat scores as content, although content designed for PvP has been recently added, such as items that drop in the game world and can be picked up that grant powers to the player that lugs them around, hence they are called “luggables”.

5.2.3 Classes

The “Matrix Online” has a unique class system. Players can load abilities they have either purchased or produced (by the Coder class, known ingame as coding) at Hardlines, provided they have enough memory and the abilities that precede the loading one. These abilities can then be switched out at a Hardline at a moment’s notice. This leads to a very flexible class system, without players being stuck in one class.

The three main archetypes are Hacker, Coder, and Operative. They are similar to the classes Mage, Crafter, and Fighter in other MMORPG’s. These classes then each branch out into sub-classes, with Coder, for example being divided into Programmer (out of battle item and ability maker) and Code Shaper (creates simulacrums to fight with, similarities to a necromancer/summoner in other MMOG’s).

To elaborate, the game currently has a total of 21 end-game classes with an additional two stubs.

5.2.4 Missions and organizations

After an initial set of introductory missions, players can join one of three organizations working in the Matrix, each with a different set of goals, beliefs and methods: Zion, the Machines, and the Merovingian. In order to receive increasingly critical and sensitive missions, players are expected to run missions for their chosen organization, which will increase their standing with their chosen organization but will also lower it with the other two.
–    Zion: Zion is the last remaining human city on Earth, hidden deep underground and is concerned chiefly with protecting its citizens from the Machines who see those who have “awakened” as a threat to those still connected to the Matrix. Those who choose to work for Zion usually enlist in the Zion Military and see this as the best way to protect the ideals of freedom.
–    Machines: The main motivation for choosing to side with the Machines is that this organization is seen as the most conducive towards maintaining the status-quo of the Matrix and protecting the lives of those still connected to it, i.e., bluepills. However, there are also those who feel that the only way to improve relations between man and machine is to work with them as closely as possible and see joining this organization as the best way to do so.
–    Merovingian: Those who work for the Merovingian are in a unique position in that they need not concern themselves with the traditional hostilities between Zion and the Machines, preferring instead to act only when the situation would prove advantageous for themselves or the organization as a whole. However, this organization has also been chosen by some players as it is the only one out of the three that fights to protect the Exiles who reside within the Matrix.

–    Sub-organizations: Players cannot run missions for these organizations although in storyline terms they are now quite separate from their original “parent” organization, even receiving their own Live Events:
–    EPN – E Pluribus Neo (Zion as parent organization): Members of EPN are devoted to what they deem “Neo’s legacy”. This mostly involves giving all human beings the opportunity to question the true nature of their “reality”, the Matrix and to have the choice of the red or blue pill. Very much against the Machines, and Cypherites in particular, there are some more fundamentalist schools of thought within this organization who believe that the only solution to humanity’s problems is to free the entire human population from the Matrix. They are led by The Kid with his old friend, Shimada – who also acts as their mission controller.
–    Cypherites (Machines as parent organization): Usually seen as the more extreme element of the Machine organization, Cypherites follow in the footsteps of Cypher, wanting to be reinserted into the Matrix as bluepills so that they may be blissfully unaware of the true nature of the Matrix as a computer program. The name of their hovercraft, Blue Dreamer, reflects this philosophy. They are currently led by Cryptos and his second-in-command, the Zion traitor, Veil. During the time that Cryptos was revealed to be a Machine Program inhabiting a redpill’s body, Veil assumed control of the organization.

It should be noted that as at one point the Cypherites and EPN have effectively been withdrawn as a playable organization within the game. Existing factions that have been granted their respective “EPN/CYPH” tags in their faction name will continue to hold said tags, unless they disband or reform, but no new splinter org tags will be granted. In addition, no Live Events will occur for these organizations in the future.

5.2.5 The continuing story

Another of “The Matrix Online”’s defining and differentiating aspects was its inclusion and emphasis on what was called “The Continuing Story”. This is to say the game itself is the official continuation of the universe, story and characters established in The Matrix series of fictional works including the “Movie Trilogy”, “The Animatrix” short films, the “Enter The Matrix” video game and a series of officially written and produced Matrix comic books.

This continuation was written by the award winning comic book writer Paul Chadwick and later collaboratively with MxO lead game designer, Ben “Rarebit” Chamberlain. It was also confirmed as having seen verification and input from “Matrix” creators The Wachowskis.

5.2.6 Progression of the storyline

The story progressed in real time, with a planned schedule in effect that included the following:
–    Nine new critical missions (three for each of the game’s three main organizations) every six weeks, released weekly as part of the game’s patch cycle.
–    A new hand-drawn cinematic every six weeks to coincide with the start of a new sub-chapter.
–    Daily live events.
–    Large-scale organizational meetings (one each month).

5.2.7 Chapter organization

The “Matrix Online” used a system of organization akin to that of software versioning to keep track of its chronological progression. Each “Critical” mission and development is given its own unique tag within this system. For example: Chapter 1, sub-chapter 2, week 3 would be represented as 1.2.3

It has been stated by MxO developer Rarebit, that this numbering system was meant purely for chronological measuring and game design (for the various rewards associated with completing past critical missions in a system called The Mission Archive). The chapters and sub-chapters are not intended as self-contained units. Rather, they are each equally relevant to the unfolding of the story as a whole.

5.2.8 LESIG program

The LESIG (Live Event Special Interest Group) was originally devised under Monolith’s operation of the game and was intended to function as nothing more than a feedback group, giving the developers a clearer understanding of how players were reacting to the large scale Live Events the team were producing.

However, when The Matrix Online transitioned to Sony Online Entertainment the program underwent a radical change in direction as part of similar changes to the other story telling devices, most importantly, the scale and frequency of live events following the departure of a dedicated Live Events Team.

The group was given the new task of playing minor supporting roles (known as organization liaison officers) during future live events or even more permanent characters to enhance interaction between players, essentially replacing the paid staff of the LET with volunteer players.

This decision resulted in scandal both in game and on the game’s official forums DataNode 1, when it was revealed that the LET volunteer players were granting favouritism to the factions they belonged to. This favouritism took the form of advanced information regarding live events content, win conditions, and other factors that granted an unfair advantage to the LET volunteer’s friends and fellow faction mates. This allowed a number of high profile factions such as The Collective, and Fallen Horizon to effectively exploit Live Event content by having members of their faction in position to solve the challenges while other non-exploiting factions were still in the first stages of the event challenges.

This was exposed when a grandstanding LET volunteer gave a friend access to a section of the official forums dubbed “The Champagne Room” who then blew the whistle on the corrupt practices of the LET volunteer’s actions by making the existence of this ‘hidden’ or secret forum known in a posting on the DataNode 1’s General Discussion section of the forums.

This combined with the Matrix Online community’s already low opinion of how Sony Online Entertainment was managing the game led to even more dissatisfaction in a community already dissatisfied with how the game was progressing. Many players felt that this favouritism coupled with the elitist attitudes of factions that had alternate characters on the LET staff contributed heavily to the decision to shut down the game.

5.2.9 The story so far

Given the fact the storyline of the game continued in real time and the continuation had been in operation for a number of years, there was a vast amount of happenings for new players and fans of the franchise alike to catch up on. Despite there being an active gameplay mechanic for experiencing past story arcs (The Mission Archive System), a desire to read condensed written summaries was requested by multiple players. In response to this, Ben Chamberlain, then lead designer of The Matrix Online, made a post in August 2008 on the official forums quickly outlining and summarizing the game’s storyline to date, both by chapter and sub-chapter.

5.2.10 Server list

During the transition of the game from Monolith Productions to Sony Online Entertainment, on August 9, 2005, the existing servers were merged into 3.
–    Syntax was a non hostile server, composed of players from the original Linenoise, Proxy, and Output servers. It was an unofficial RP server.
–    Recursion was a non hostile server, composed of players from the original Method, Regression, and Iterator servers.
–    Vector was the only Hostile server. Unlike the other servers where PVP is optional, players were permanently flagged for PVP (player vs player) from the level of 16 and upwards. Vector was composed of players from the original Enumerator, Heuristic, and Input servers.

5.2.11 Closing

Sony Online Entertainment unexpectedly decided to discontinue service to the “Matrix Online” due to low subscription numbers in June 2009. Sony Online Entertainment shut down the service at 00:00 August 1, 2009. The days leading up to the closing, as well as the end of the servers themselves, were chronicled on the gaming website Giant Bomb in a video series titled “Not Like This”, a reference to a line in The Matrix’s first movie.

5.2.12 Final event

A grand finale was planned where all online players were to be crushed; however, due to a server glitch, most players were disconnected before the final blow came. What had been envisioned as a last hurrah transpired as a gruesome slide show. High pings and low frame rates caused by the developers giving out advanced powers (with graphically demanding effects) and abilities to all players, coupled with the flooded chat interface, meant many players were unable to experience the final event as intended. Because developer level powers had been given to all remaining players, the situation on PvP servers (Vector in particular) meant that players could kill each other with a single hit.

5.3    The Matrix: Path of Neo

This is the third video game based on the Matrix series and the second developed by Shiny Entertainment. The game was written and directed by The Wachowski Brothers, who wrote and directed the three Matrix films. Players control the character Neo, participating in scenes from the films.

In Shiny Entertainment’s first licensed Matrix game, “Enter the Matrix”, only sideline characters were playable. It did not feature the series’ main protagonist Neo, and due to its nature as an extension of the films’ storyline, had few recreations of scenes in the film trilogy. David Perry, president of Shiny Entertainment Inc, has stated that Path of Neo is “basically the game that gamers wanted first time around… The Neo Game!”

5.3.1 Story

This game allows the player to participate in many of the major action scenes in the films. Most of these sequences, picked by the movie directors themselves, are taken from the first film in the series.

At the start of the game, the player is hacker Thomas Anderson, and does not possess any of the powers that the character will later discover as Neo. As the game continues, players learn new skills and techniques, equipping Neo for the final showdown with Agent Smith. These additional skills may be learned both in training levels and in the main game. Many of these skills are used by Neo in the trilogy, including the bullet dodge, bullet stop, and flight. A number of weapons are available in the game, consisting of both melee weapons (including various types of swords, staves, and escrimas) and firearms (assault rifle, submachine gun, pistol etc.).

The game also allows the player to meet many of the characters in the films, including Trinity, Morpheus and the Merovingian, amongst others.

The game uses film excerpts as cut scenes throughout the game at certain milestones. This footage includes clips from the original Matrix theatrical films, and from other sources, including the short film series, The Animatrix and Shiny Entertainment’s first Matrix game, Enter the Matrix.

5.3.2 Cast and characters

–    Neo: The One. The game’s protagonist and the character the player controls throughout the game. Voiced by Andrew Bowen.
–    Trinity: Neo’s love interest and First Mate on the Nebuchadnezzar. Voiced by Jennifer Hale.
–    Morpheus: Captain of the Nebuchadnezzar, he aids Neo at various points throughout the game (Laurence Fishburne is the only actor from the film series to reprise his character’s voice in the game).
–    Agent Smith (later referred to as merely “Smith”): A program (later Exile) within the Matrix. He is the main antagonist of the game and Neo’s arch nemesis. Voiced by Christopher Corey Smith.
–    Apoc and Switch: Red pills. Apoc and Switch are helpful fighters who always try to kill.
–    Merovingian: Rules over a personal empire of exiles like himself. Voiced by Robin Atkin Downes.
–    Head Bouncer/Doberman Leader: Exile and Head Bouncer at Club Hel, a nightclub owned by the Merovingian. Leads the Doberman, a wolf-like group of henchmen.
–    Head of Security: Exile and the head of security at the Merovingian’s Chateau. First encountered walking upside down on the ceiling in the gun-room of Club Hel, before disappearing (he is also encountered in the dream at the beginning of the game).
–    Rogue Witch: Exile, first encountered being tortured in the dungeons beneath the Merovingian’s chateau. Frequently aids Neo throughout the distorted dimensions within the chateau.
–    Vamp Prime: Exile, leader of the vamp and Doberman exiles found in Downside Up within the Merovingian’s chateau.
–    Witch leader: Exile, the Merovingian’s “champion”, who fights Neo in the final sequence before Neo can escape the Merovingian’s chateau maze.
–    Agents: These are programs within the Matrix just like Smith. The original Agents are later replaced by upgraded versions.
–    . Original Agents – Agent Smith (leader), Agent Brown, Agent Jones. Agent White appears in “The Security Guard” level, and he replaces Smith as leader of the Agents.
–    . Upgraded Agents – Agent Johnson (leader), Agent Jackson, Agent Thompson.

5.3.3 Continuity changes

The game includes additional missions that extend the storyline of the theatrical film releases. While some of these are obviously solely for the benefit of game play, others seem to be based on scenes the Wachowskis planned to implement in the films (some of which can be found in The Art of The Matrix). These include:
–    An extension of the escape by Neo from the Metacortex building when he is first contacted by Morpheus. As in the film, though, the player is not required to escape and may be captured by the agents.
–    A series of training simulations taking place in the “construct”, the Resistance’s virtual reality; these instruct the player in hand-to-hand combat, firearms, and melee weapons.
–    An extended escape by the Nebuchadnezzar crew (sans Morpheus) through city sewers, ending with the temporary dispatching of Agent Brown by Neo in a fight while he is placing explosives. This event was not in the film, where the characters merely are seen leaving a manhole before heading to a TV repair shop.
–    An extended escape to the second hardline, detouring Neo into a damaged portion of the Matrix.
–    An extended fight with all three Agents after Neo is endowed with his powers as the One.
–    A series of five missions that fill in Neo’s adventures in retrieving other “Potentials” (red-pills similar to Neo in ability to affect the Matrix) in the six-month period between Neo’s retrieval from the Matrix power plant and the events of The Matrix Reloaded. The six-month period and the red-pill retrieval are noted in dialog between Morpheus and Commander Lock in their first meeting in The Matrix Reloaded (In the past six months…).
–    An extension of the fight between Neo and the three upgraded Agents, where Neo must also dispatch several SWAT team fighters.
–    A series of rescues that Neo must complete to see the various Zion ship captains to safety after their meeting (as shown at the start of The Matrix Reloaded).
–    An extension of the fight between Neo and Seraph, the Oracle’s bodyguard.
–    An extension of the fight in the Merovingian’s chateau, where Neo must solve a series of puzzles in the house (reminiscent of M. C. Escher surrealism) as well as battle in several fights.
–    An extended series of fights against the Smith clones in a church, a building closely resembling the Architect’s quarters, and a version of the US Congress House of Representatives as the Keymaker attempts to get Neo and Morpheus to the final door to the Architect (a character seen only in film-derived cut scenes in the game).
–    A brand-new final battle, because the Wachowski brothers felt the ending of The Matrix Revolutions would be a “lame” ending for a video game. It is an alternate ending, without the martyr approach, where Neo kills Smith and then takes on the Mega-Smith, a gargantuan likeness of Smith composed of buildings, cars, Smith clones, and other debris from the city where the battle takes place. The player fights the Smith construct in a series of dodging thrown debris and plunging into the construct to severely damage sections of the Smith construct. Immediately before the final boss, the game is interrupted by the Wachowski Brothers (represented with single-colour sprites similar to what might be found in a pre-8-bit video game) who congratulate the player, then explain their reasoning behind deviating from the movie’s ending (calling it “a little Hulk Vs. Galactus action”).
–    Following the battle, the game ends with the final cinematics from the conclusion of The Matrix Revolutions. Rather than the use of the film’s next-to-final track, “Bridge of Immortality”, from composer Don Davis’s official score, the game’s cut scenes use Queen’s “We Are the Champions”.

5.3.4 Link to Martial Arts movies

–    During the first combat training level, Neo must takedown the guards while avoiding to raise the alarm. The location in this scene is similar to one used in the film, “Enter the Dragon” starring Hong Kong film star, Bruce Lee.
–    During the survival level, Neo must fight waves of fighters using axes in a time limit. This scene is copied from the 1994, Jackie Chan film, “Drunken Master 2”.
–    During the gun training level, Neo must use various guns to defeat waves of enemies at a restaurant. This level is inspired by the opening scene in “Hard Boiled”
–    In the second part of Neo’s battle with Seraph, they battle on flaming standing posts, inspired by the final fight in the Donnie Yen film, “Iron Monkey”.

5.4 The Matrix Comic books

The Matrix Comics is a collection of short comic books and short stories set in the fictional universe of the Matrix series, originally released for free as webcomics on the series’ official website from 1999 to 2004. They were later re-published in two volumes (printed in 2003 and 2004 respectively) by the Wachowski Brothers’ company Burlyman Entertainment, along with three never released online. The comics’ editor was Spencer Lamm. The Wachowski Brothers, the creators of the Matrix series, contributed one script to the project, “Bits and Pieces of Information”, aspects of which were later included in the Animatrix short animated film “The Second Renaissance”.


In addition, a pin-up of the Woman in the Red Dress by Stuart Immonen was made for the website, and three comics which did not appear online were only available in The Matrix Comics: Volume 2:


The Calappidae, called the Grey Ghost, is featured in the comic “Broadcast Depth”.

The Mariner is featured in the comic, “There are no Flowers in the Real World”.

The Pequod was mentioned in both “There are no Flowers in the Real World” and “Hunters and Collectors”. In the former story, the ship is on a rescue mission to save Rocket, a crew member jacked in aboard the Mariner after all of the other crew members had died. In the latter story, this ship has been destroyed in a Sentinel attack and the only surviving member is its captain Flint, who spends much of his time collecting artefacts from the surface to learn about human history before the Matrix.

The Polaris is mentioned in the comic “Hunters and Collectors”.

There are five unnamed ships included in The Matrix Comics

5.5 DVD releases

Over a year after the cinematic release of the final film, “Revolutions”, Warner Home Video released “The Ultimate Matrix Collection”, a 10-Disc DVD set of the films. It included the three films, The Animatrix, and six discs of additional material. A Limited Edition of the collection encases the ten discs, as well as a resin bust of Neo, inside a Lucite box.

5.6 Reception

5.6.1 Box office performance


5.6.2 Critical reaction

While “The Matrix and The Matrix Reloaded” generally received favourable reviews, the critical response to “The Matrix Revolutions” was generally negative. One major complaint was that it did not give any answers to the questions raised in “Reloaded”.


“The Matrix” received positive reviews from most critics, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest science fiction films of all time. Entertainment Weekly called “The Matrix” “the most influential action movie of the generation”. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a consensus forming that it presented an “ingenious” blend of Hong Kong action cinema, innovative visual effects and an imaginative vision. The site reported that 87% of critics gave the film positive reviews, with an average score of 7.4/10, based upon a sample of 129 reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns an average rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 73 upon its DVD release, based on 35 reviews.

Philip Strick commented in Sight & Sound, “if the Wachowskis claim no originality of message, they are startling innovators of method,” praising the film’s details and its “broadside of astonishing images”. Roger Ebert praised the film’s visuals and premise, but disliked the third act’s focus on action. Similarly, Time Out praised the “entertainingly ingenious” switches between different realities, Hugo Weaving’s “engagingly odd” performance, and the film’s cinematography and production design, but concluded, “the promising premise is steadily wasted as the film turns into a fairly routine action pic … yet another slice of overlong, high concept hokum.”

Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader also reviewed the film negatively, criticising it as “simpleminded fun for roughly the first hour, until the movie becomes overwhelmed by its many sources … There’s not much humour to keep it all life-size, and by the final stretch it’s become bloated, mechanical, and tiresome.” Film critic Nick Davis strongly disliked The Matrix, criticising aspects such as its unoriginality and its attitudes toward race and gender (“Whatever credit the Wachowskis get for casting a woman and a black man as Neo’s superiors they summarily lose by turning them into the same old pigeonholes”) and concluding, “The Wachowski Brothers have dreamed up brand-new special effects, have raised the bar of technical accomplishment in filmmaking, only to put a pathetically hackneyed, depressingly impersonal, and politically thoughtless bit of tripe onto the screen.”

Ian Nathan of Empire described Carrie-Anne Moss as “a major find”, praised the “surreal visual highs” enabled by the bullet time (or “flo-mo”) effect, and described the film as “technically mind-blowing, style merged perfectly with content and just so damn cool”. Nathan remarked that although the film’s “looney plot” would not stand up to scrutiny that was not a big flaw because “The Matrix is about pure experience”. Maitland McDonagh said in her review for TV Guide, “The Wachowskis’ through-the-looking-glass plot… manages to work surprisingly well on a number of levels: as a dystopian sci-fi thriller, as a brilliant excuse for the film’s lavish and hyperkinetic fight scenes, and as a pretty compelling call to the dead-above-the-eyeballs masses to unite and cast off their chains. … This dazzling pop allegory is steeped in a dark, pulpy sensibility that transcends nostalgic pastiche and stands firmly on its own merits.” Salon’s reviewer Andrew O’Hehir acknowledged that The Matrix is a fundamentally immature and unoriginal film (“It lacks anything like adult emotion… all this pseudo-spiritual hokum, along with the overamped onslaught of special effects — some of them quite amazing — will hold 14-year-old boys in rapture, not to mention those of us of all ages and genders who still harbour a 14-year-old boy somewhere inside”), but concluded, “as in Bound, there’s an appealing scope and daring to the Wachowskis’ work, and their eagerness for more plot twists and more crazy images becomes increasingly infectious. In a limited and profoundly geeky sense, this might be an important and generous film. The Wachowskis have little feeling for character or human interaction, but their passion for movies — for making them, watching them, inhabiting their world — is pure and deep.

Several science fiction creators commented on the film. Author William Gibson, a key figure in cyberpunk fiction, called the film “an innocent delight I hadn’t felt in a long time,” and stated, “Neo is my favourite-ever science fiction hero, absolutely.” Joss Whedon called the film “my number one” and praised its storytelling, structure and depth, concluding, “It works on whatever level you want to bring to it.” Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky commented, “I walked out of The Matrix … and I was thinking, ‘What kind of science fiction movie can people make now?’ The Wachowskis basically took all the great sci-fi ideas of the 20th century and rolled them into a delicious pop culture sandwich that everyone on the planet devoured.” Director M. Night Shyamalan praised the Wachowskis’ passion for the film, saying, “Whatever you think of The Matrix, every shot is there because of the passion they have! You can see they argued it out!”

5.6.3 Awards

The Matrix received Oscars for film editing, sound effects editing, visual effects, and sound. The filmmakers were competing against other films with established franchises, like Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, yet they managed to sweep all four of their nominations. The Matrix also received BAFTA awards for Best Sound and Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects, in addition to nominations in the cinematography, production design and editing categories. In 1999, it won Saturn Awards for Best Science Fiction Film and Best Direction.


5.6.4 Influences and interpretations

“What we were trying to achieve with the story overall was a shift, the same kind of shift that happens for Neo, that Neo goes from being in this sort of cocooned and programmed world, to having to participate in the construction of meaning to his life. And we were like, ‘Well, can the audience go through the three movies and experience something similar to what the main character experiences?’ So the first movie is sort of classical in its approach. The second movie is deconstructionist, and it assaults all of the things that you thought to be true in the first movie, and so people get very upset, and they’re like ‘Stop attacking me!’ in the same way that people get upset with deconstructionist philosophy. I mean, Derrida and Foucault, these people upset us. And then the third movie is the most ambiguous, because it asks you to actually participate in the construction of meaning.”
Lana Wachowski (formerly Larry), Movie City News, October 13, 2012

“The Matrix” makes numerous references to recent films and literature, and to historical myths and philosophy including Buddhism, Vedanta, Advaita Hinduism, Christianity, Messianism, Judaism, Gnosticism, Existentialism, Nihilism. The film’s premise resembles Plato’s Allegory of the cave, René Descartes’s evil demon, Kant’s reflections on the Phenomenon versus the Ding an sich, Zhuangzi’s “Zhuangzi dreamed he was a butterfly”, Marx’s social theory and the brain in a vat thought experiment. Many references to Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation appear in the film, although Baudrillard himself considered this a misrepresentation. There are similarities to cyberpunk works such as Neuromancer by William Gibson, who has described The Matrix as “arguably the ultimate ‘cyberpunk’ artefact”.

Japanese director Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell was a strong influence. Producer Joel Silver has stated that the Wachowski brothers first described their intentions for The Matrix by showing him that anime and saying, “We wanna do that for real”. Mitsuhisa Ishikawa of Production I.G, which produced Ghost in the Shell, noted that the anime’s high-quality visuals were a strong source of inspiration for the Wachowski brothers. He also commented, “… cyberpunk films are very difficult to describe to a third person. I’d imagine that The Matrix is the kind of film that was very difficult to draw up a written proposal for to take to film studios.” He stated that since Ghost in the Shell had gained recognition in America, the Wachowski brothers used it as a “promotional tool”. Besides Ghost in the Shell, another Japanese anime which influenced The Matrix was the 1985 film Megazone 23, directed by Noboru Ishiguro and Shinji Aramaki. An American adaptation of Megazone 23 was released in 1986 as Robotech: The Movie. There are also several more Japanese anime and manga that can be found as sources of influence.

Reviewers have commented on similarities between The Matrix and other late-1990s films such as Strange Days, Dark City, and The Truman Show. Comparisons have also been made to Grant Morrison’s comic series The Invisibles; Morrison believes that the Wachowski brothers essentially plagiarized his work to create the film. In addition, the similarity of the film’s central concept to a device in the long-running series Doctor Who has also been noted. As in the film, the Matrix of that series (introduced in the 1976 serial The Deadly Assassin) is a massive computer system which one enters using a device connecting to the head, allowing users to see representations of the real world and change its laws of physics; but if killed there, they will die in reality. There is also a similar “Matrix” used by the Travellers in Paul Cornell’s 1992 Doctor Who spin-off novel Love and War, in which a socket at the top of the spine is used to plug into the Matrix.

The first Matrix film features numerous references to the “White Rabbit”, the “Rabbit Hole” and mirrors, referencing Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

Biblical and historical references are found in the names of places and vehicles in the trilogy, such as the “hovercraft” Nebuchadnezzar (pronounced ne-bah-cahn-ez-zer, /nɛbəkənɛzəɹ/). Another notable name is the City of Zion, often used as a synecdoche for the City of Jerusalem or the land of Israel in Abrahamic religious texts and in the Latter Day Saint movement, or to refer to a “promised land” or utopia. There are significant overtones from Hinduism and Vedanta text. The final screen credits to the final of the three matrix movies include chants directly picked up from the Vedas. The concept of balance needed in the universe is also a core component on Hindu philosophy.

There are still numerous other influences from diverse sources such as Harlan Ellison (I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream), Thomas Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49), and William Gibson (Neuromancer).

Matrixism is a new religious movement inspired by the trilogy. The sociologist of religion Adam Possamai describes these types of religions/spiritualities as hyper-real religions due to their eclectic mix of religion/spirituality with elements of popular culture and their connection to the fluid social structures of late capitalism. There is some debate about whether followers of Matrixism are indeed serious about their practice; however, the religion (real or otherwise) has received attention in the media.

In 2003 has suggested that “the Matrix films could be read with a whole new subtext with the news of the [female] dominatrix [companion seen with Larry at film premieres]”: Temet Nosce.

5.6.5 Books Official

–    The Art of the Matrix by Spencer Lamm (Newmarket Press, 2000) ISBN 1-55704-405-8
–    The Matrix Comics by various (Titan Books, 2003) ISBN 1-84023-806-2
–    The Matrix Comics Volume 2 by various (Titan Books, 2005) ISBN 1-84576-021-2
–    The Matrix Shooting Script by Larry and Andy Wachowski (with introduction by William Gibson) (Newmarket Press, 2002) ISBN 1-55704-490-2
–    Enter The Matrix: Official Strategy Guide by Doug Walsh (Brady Games, 2003) ISBN 0-7440-0271-0
–    The Matrix Online: Prima Official Game Guide (Prima Games, 2005) ISBN 0-7615-4943-9
–    The Matrix: Path of Neo Official Strategy Guide (Brady Games, 2005) ISBN 0-7440-0658-9 Unofficial

–    Jacking In to the Matrix Franchise: Cultural Reception and Interpretation by Matthew Kapell and William G. Doty (Continuum International, 2004) ISBN 0-8264-1587-3
–    Taking the Red Pill: Science, Philosophy and Religion in “The Matrix” by Glenn Yeffeth (Summersdale, 2003) ISBN 1-84024-377-5
–    Matrix Warrior: Being the One by Jake Horsley (Gollancz, 2003) ISBN 0-575-07527-9
–    The “Matrix” and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real by William Irwin (Open Court, 2002) ISBN 0-8126-9502-X
–    More Matrix and Philosophy by William Irwin (Open Court, 2005) ISBN 0-8126-9572-0
–    Like a Splinter in Your Mind: The Philosophy Behind the “Matrix” Trilogy by Matt Lawrence (Blackwell, 2004) ISBN 1-4051-2524-1
–    The Matrix (British Film Institute, 2004) ISBN 1-84457-045-2
–    Matrix Revelations: A Thinking Fan’s Guide to the Matrix Trilogy by Steve Couch (Damaris, 2003) ISBN 1-904753-01-9
–    Beyond the Matrix: Revolutions and Revelations by Stephen Faller (Chalice Press, 2004) ISBN 0-8272-0235-0
–    The “Matrix” Trilogy: Cyberpunk Reloaded by Stacy Gillis (Wallflower Press, 2005) ISBN 1-904764-32-0
–    Exegesis of the Matrix by Peter B. Lloyd (Whole-Being Books, 2003) ISBN 1-902987-09-8
–    The Gospel Reloaded by Chris Seay and Greg Garrett (Pinon Press, 2003) ISBN 1-57683-478-6
–    The “Matrix”: What Does the Bible Say About… by D. Archer (Scripture Union, 2001) ISBN 1-85999-579-9
–    Journey to the Source: Decoding Matrix Trilogy] by Pradheep Challiyil (Sakthi Books 2004) ISBN 0-9752586-0-5
–    Exploring the Matrix: Visions of the Cyber Present by Karen Haber (St. Martin’s Press, 2003) ISBN 0-312-31358-6
–    Philosophers Explore The Matrix by Christopher Gray (Oxford University Press, 2005) ISBN 0-19-518107-7
–    The Matrix Cultural Revolution by Michel Marriot (Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2003) ISBN 1-56025-574-9
–    The Matrix Reflections: Choosing between reality and illusion by Eddie Zacapa (Authorhouse, 2005) ISBN 1-4208-0782-X
–    The One by A.J. Yager & Dean Vescera (Lifeforce Publishing, 2003) ISBN 0-9709796-1-4
–    Matrix og ulydighedens evangelium (Danish for: “Matrix and the Evangelium of disobedients”) by Rune Engelbreth Larsen (Bindslev, 2004) ISBN 87-91229-12-8 Books of interest

–    Jean Baudrillard and Sheila Glaser,  Simulacra and Simulation (The Body in Theory: Histories of Cultural Materialism)  (31 Dec 1994)
–    The Matrix by Joshua Clover – BFI Modern Classics – 2004 – ISBN 1-84457-045-2

5.7 The Zion Archive

The Zion Archive is a DVD provided with The Ultimate Matrix Collection that contains several forms of media such as pictures and video that all relate to the creation of The Matrix Trilogy. There are several resources such as concept artwork, storyboards, drawings, music videos, TV spots and trailers, and it includes a special preview of The Matrix Online and its history.

There are several sections within this interactive area of the DVD. There are several menus that the user can navigate around including concept artwork, character drawings, machines and sets.

The Shiva appears in the Zion Archives.

5.7.1 Machines

–    APU – Armoured Personnel Unit
–    Armada – the large machine ships used to shoot the Tow Bombs towards Neo and Trinity in the Logos
–    Digger – the drilling machines that breach Zion’s cave walls and start digging into the city
–    Docbot – the human pod maintenance machines first seen in The Matrix, which removed the main head plug from Neo
–    Garbage Truck – the ship that carries Neo’s dead body away from his encounter with Deus Ex Machina so that he can “return to the source,” as described by the philosopher’s commentary
–    Harvester – the large machines that remove humans from their pods as seen in The Matrix, of which are found over “the fields”
–    Machine City Bugs – the small creatures surrounding the pathway to Deus Ex Machina, similar to many crustaceans
–    Sentinels – the many-armed flying machines found in all three Matrix films that tear away the hull covers of ships and kill humans with their claws
–    The Keep – the large tower that Neo and Trinity crash into with the Logos near the end of The Matrix Revolutions
–    Tow Bomb – the small machines that explode upon touching another surface. They are deployed by Sentinels and the Armada

5.7.2 Sets

–    Abandoned Apartment
–    Architect’s Office – features samples of the loading screen graphics
–    Chinatown (Phonebooth Alley)
–    Chinatown Teahouse – location of Neo and Seraph’s fight before meeting The Oracle
–    Freeway – the large set built to stage the Agents and the Twins chasing after the rebels
–    Hel Night Club – shown at the start of The Matrix Revolutions as the rebels are negotiating with the Merovingian
–    Hel Coat Check – storage for the weapons at the end of the lift, with several columns and the fight between the rebels and the exiles
–    Industrial Hallway – the never-ending corridor of green doors (reference to Alice In Wonderland)
–    Industrial Loft
–    Logos Cockpit
–    Logos Engineering – shown when Trinity is captured by Bane
–    Machine City Tower – the general shape for the towers similar to Mega City
–    Mobil Avenue – place between Zion and The Matrix. Ruled by the Trainman
–    Mjolnir Bedroom
–    Mjolnir Cockpit
–    Mjolnir Infirmary – similar to the hospital deck in Star Trek
–    Mjolnir Main Deck – location of the Matrix connection chairs
–    Mjolnir Gunnery
–    Merovingian Basement Keymaker – the Keymaker’s room full of keys
–    Merovingian Garage – fight with the rebels and the twins before the Freeway scene
–    Merovingian Library – where Persephone kills the vampires and enters a secret room via a moving bookcase
–    Merovingian Lower Hall – where the rebels encounter The Twins rising from the ground and staircase
–    Neb Cockpit
–    Neb Main Deck
–    Neb Mess Hall – the kitchen seen in The Matrix
–    Neb Neo’s Room
–    Power Station – shots of the halls
–    Rerouting Facility – where Trinity hacks the Power Station during The Matrix Reloaded
–    Stock Exchange – walls near the Le Vrai restaurant at the meeting of the Merovingian
–    Sub Metro Access – the alleyway where Neo escapes from the Upgraded Agents
–    Sub Metro – where all the rebels meet to discuss the machines digging in The Matrix Reloaded
–    Sub Station One – train nets and plans for advertisement posters on the underground train service
–    Sub Station Two – shots of the train and graffiti on the walls of the underground station
–    Tenement Park – location of Neo and Smith’s Burly Brawl
–    Trinity’s Room – Trinity’s room shown in The Matrix Reloaded during the Zion dance
–    Vigilant Cockpit
–    Vigilant Main Deck
–    Virtual Control – virtual room where Zion controllers maintain access to the gates
–    Zion Command Center – the central building in Zion’s dock area
–    Zion Council Chamber – the gathering room for the council of Zion
–    Zion Dock Area – the large cave where the ships are kept
–    Zion Dock Bunker – storage for ammo for the APU’s
–    Zion Dock Destruction – images and videos of the drilling, APUs, Niobe breaking Gate Three and the Sentinel attack
–    Zion Defence Duct – tunnels found at the top of the Zion city
–    Zion Engineering Level – where Neo and Councillor Hamman talk about the relationship between humans and machines
–    Zion Gate Control – room where the gates are controlled and maintained
–    Zion Gate Three – the gate that Kid breaks and Niobe crashes through
–    Zion Hamman’s Office
–    Zion Link’s Home – a simple graphic of loading screens
–    Zion Lock’s Office
–    Zion Map – a map of all the events found down the Zion lift chamber

The Avatar appears in the Zion Archives.

5.8 Matrix Media

A collection of TV spots, theatrical trailers and music videos for all three Matrix movies. This includes the full-length music videos of P.O.D.’s “Sleeping Awake”, and Marilyn Manson’s “Rock is Dead”, which both feature many concepts and theatrical footage from the first two Matrix films.

5.9 The Wachowskis


Andy (left) and Lana Wachowski in September 2012, at the Fantastic Fest screening of Cloud Atlas.


Lana Wachowski (born Laurence Wachowski; June 21, 1965) and Andrew Paul “Andy” Wachowski (born December 29, 1967), known together professionally as The Wachowskis, and formerly as the Wachowski Brothers, are Polish-American film directors, screenwriters, and producers.

They made their directing debut in 1996 with Bound, and reached fame with their second film The Matrix (1999), for which they won the Saturn Award for Best Director. They wrote and directed its two sequels The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions (both in 2003), and were heavily involved in the writing and production of other works in the franchise.

Following the commercial success of the Matrix series, they wrote and produced the 2006 film V for Vendetta (an adaptation of the comic of the same name by Alan Moore), and in 2008 released the film Speed Racer. Their last film to date, Cloud Atlas, based on the novel of the same name by David Mitchell and co-written and co-directed by Tom Tykwer, was released on October 26, 2012.

5.9.1 Early life

Lana Wachowski was born Laurence Wachowski (known as “Larry”) in Chicago in 1965; Andy Wachowski was born in 1967. Their mother, Lynne (née Luckinbill), was a nurse and painter whose brother is actor Laurence Luckinbill. Their father, Ron Wachowski, was a businessman of Polish descent. Raised by a hardcore atheist father and an ex-Catholic turned Shamanist mother, the duo once described their religious beliefs as non-denominational. According to actor Bernard White, Lana once told him that while they were raised Catholic, she was influenced heavily by the sacred Hindu texts like the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana. Lana and Andy have two sisters, named Julie and Laura. They went to Kellogg Elementary School in Chicago’s Beverly area, and graduated from Whitney Young High School, known for its performing arts and science curriculum, in 1983 and 1986, respectively. Growing up in what Andy has described as a middle to upper-middle white Southside Irish neighbourhood, the other kids were being hard on them, due to their Polish descent, lower income bracket, public school attendance and being raised by an atheist father and artist mother. According to Lana they were “the family that no one liked” and she was beaten up everyday she came home from school. This made the family members bond together and Lana and Andy grew up by playing together. Lana found an escape route from the real world in books. Former students recall them playing Dungeons & Dragons and working in the school’s theatre and TV program. Andy then attended Emerson College in Boston, while Lana went to Bard College in New York. Both dropped out before graduating and ran a carpentry business in Chicago while creating comic books.

5.9.2 Style

The siblings admit to a love for telling multipart stories. “Because we grew up on comic books and the Tolkien trilogy, one of the things we’re interested in is bringing serial fiction to cinema,” Lana has said. Andy puts his desire to shake up viewers a bit more bluntly: “We think movies are fairly boring and predictable. We want to screw with audiences’ expectations.” In terms of themes that run through their body of work, Lana has cited “the inexplicable nature of the universe [being] in constant dialogue with our own consciousness and our consciousness actually affect[ing] the inexplicable nature of the universe.” The Wachowskis cited the art of comic book artist Geoff Darrow as an influence on the look of The Matrix. Also, they stated that Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll, and Akira as anime that inspired them. “in anime, one thing that they do that we tried to bring to our film was a juxtaposition of time and space in action beats.”

5.9.3 Comic books

Prior to working in the film industry, the Wachowskis wrote comic books for Marvel Comics’ Razorline imprint, namely Ectokid (created by horror novelist Clive Barker) in 1993 as well as writing for Epic Comics’ Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and Clive Barker’s Nightbreed comic series.
In 2003, they created Burlyman Entertainment and have released comic books based on The Matrix as well as two original bi-monthly series:
–    Shaolin Cowboy – created, written, and art by Geof Darrow (the Wachowskis contributed the opening dialogue to each issue)
–    Doc Frankenstein – created by Geof Darrow and Steve Skroce, written by the Wachowskis, with art by Skroce.

5.9.4 Personal life

Rumours that Lana Wachowski, then still identifying as Larry, was transitioning gender from male to female spread in the early 2000s, though neither sibling had spoken directly on the subject. In 2003 suggested that “the Matrix films could be read with a whole new subtext with the news of the dominatrix [companion seen with Larry at film premieres].” According to Rovi, Lana completed her transition after Speed Racer (2008). The Hollywood Reporter and the New York Times have referred to the Wachowskis as “Andy and Lana (formerly Larry) Wachowski”, and has referred to the duo as “Andy and Lana Wachowski.” On some documents she appears as Laurenca Wachowski. In July 2012, Lana made her first public appearance after transitioning, in a video discussing the creative process behind Cloud Atlas.

In October 2012 Lana received the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award. In her acceptance speech she revealed that she had considered committing suicide once in her youth. Lana’s acceptance speech was one of the longest public appearances that either of the notoriously reclusive siblings has ever given. She began by explaining that while she and her brother had not publicly commented on her transitioning during the past decade of rumours about it, this was not because she was ashamed of it, nor had she kept it a secret from her family and friends. Rather, Lana had not commented about her transitioning due to a general shyness about the news media that both she and her brother Andy possess. Comparing it to losing one’s virginity as an event which only happens once and is irreversible, the Wachowskis had tried to stay out of the public eye and avoided giving interviews due to fear of losing their personal privacy, fearing that they would never be able to go to a public restaurant again without being noticed and harassed as celebrities.
Lana is a vegetarian.  Andy has been married to Alisa Blasingame since 1991.  At Fantastic Fest 2012’s screening of Cloud Atlas, Andy Wachowski joked that the duo was now called Wachowski Starship; news outlets mistakenly reported it as a serious statement.

5.9.5 Works Films

<table> Videos

<table> Comic books

<table> Future films

Warner Bros. has expressed interest in Hood, a modern adaptation of the Robin Hood legend, which the Wachowskis wrote and plan to direct. They also wrote an Iraq war-set gay romance conspiracy thriller titled CN-9 (or Cobalt Neural 9); however, the project failed to find financing. However the siblings are still keen to make it, even if it has to be made in a different form than film.

Jupiter Ascending, an original science fiction screenplay by the Wachowskis, is set to be made into a film by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film will be directed and produced by the Wachowskis. It will star Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis, while John Gaeta will work on visual effects again after The Matrix and Speed Racer. It is scheduled to start shooting in early 2013, with an anticipated release date sometime in 2014. It is scheduled to be released in 3-D and IMAX 3D.

The siblings are also shopping around a concept for a TV series dubbed Sense8 that they have developed with Ninja Assassin collaborator J. Michael Straczynski. In their pursuit of the concept the Wachowskis have penned three spec scripts which are said to resemble their unique storytelling style seen in The Matrix films, and they plan to direct at least a few episodes of the series, should it be made. Producer Marc Rosen of Georgeville Television (GTTV), describes the project as “an idea so big in size and scale that it doesn’t make sense to try it as a pilot. The only way to let the filmmakers realize their vision on something like this is to do multiple episodes.”