Considering the lukewarm critical reception that Enter The Matrix received when it launched back in 2003 you might be surprised how proud David Perry, the founder and president of developer Shiny Entertainment, is of the game.
But it all became pretty clear when we sat down with Perry at E3. In a particularly slick Powerpoint presentation, Perry revealed to us that Enter the Matrix signalled the closest collaboration between Hollywood and a game developer ever - and that the game grossed over $250,000,000 around the world.
That's the kind of number you can't argue with, even if the review scores aren't quite so astronomical. But Perry isn't resting on his laurels. He knows that the fans weren't entirely pleased with Enter the Matrix and he's keen to ensure The Matrix: Path of Neo redresses the balance.
So this time you will actually get to play as The One, and the Wachowski Brothers have once again signed on to offer input and freshly re-edited movie footage. There's an extra ending to discover, and enough Hollywood quality special effects promised to make George Lucas mess his knickers.
We sat down with David Perry to get deeper down the rabbit hole and find out if Path of Neo is the Matrix game we always wanted.
Tell us a little bit about the motivation behind creating Path of Neo.
Dave Perry: When you get to work on a fantastic movie property like The Matrix, the first thing that you assume is the gamer will play as the star of the show. When I made the Terminator game years ago, I wanted to play as the Terminator! But the studio made us play as Kyle, the guy that died in the movie! The Matrix was different, the directors created a parallel storyline and wanted the gamer to be able to affect the movie, so (for example) when Morpheus is fighting on the top of the truck and falls off, he lands on the hood of Niobe's car.
The twist is that the movie audience would just be accepting that Niobe happened to be there, while the gamer was able to feel responsible for getting the car there in time. For the Path of Neo, the directors wanted to try something different, letting you be Neo, but also be the "One" at the same time. What does that mean? Well it means you can (if you are good) outdo Neo, by doing, seeing, and achieving more in the process. So you don't have to give up when he gave up, or you don't have to lose where he loses. It's an interesting way to let you be the hero, but also to make the most of the experience.
Enter The Matrix received mixed reviews, both critically and from gamers. How will Path of Neo ensure fans of the movies will not be disappointed?
Dave Perry: Making games based on movies is tough, if it was easy everybody would be making them. One thing you will find is that we are a lot more critical of our own work than any magazine will ever be. Some of my friends actually REFUSED to play Enter the Matrix because you couldn't be Neo, they thought we were crazy! The twist is that now we are making the Neo game, it's not just Neo from the first movie, we got Neo through the entire trilogy!
So the directors have chosen the most important Neo scenes and included them all: The Dojo with Morpheus, The Lobby Shootout Scene, The Park filled with Agent Smiths etc. Currently we have 48 levels!
Some gamers were confused that they played two new characters in Enter the Matrix. What does playing as Neo bring to the table?
Dave Perry: Neo is the real superhero. He's not just bending rules, he's playing with them. You can fly, dodge bullets, stop bullets in the air, see through walls (code-vision), jump off walls, do all kinds of martial arts (including pole fighting) and then there's the guns! Simply put, I feel Neo is one of the very best action characters that can easily cross the line between games and movies.