Enter the Matrix might have been a very different game without the input of the franchise's creators.
Speaking to our sister publication Retro Gamer in issue 215 (opens in new tab), game director David Perry and art director Robert Nesler outline the influential impact that Lana and Lilly Wachowski had on the 2003 adaptation.
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Perry had previously worked on the 1992 adaptation of The Terminator, and knew first-hand the level of involvement that a rights-holder could have. His experience on Enter the Matrix, however, was very different - "along come the Wachowskis and they want to shoot an hour of Matrix quality movie footage for our game - and write the entire story. It was the most exciting project we'd ever been offered."
The Wachoskis wrote and directed much of the game's narrative, shaping two separate experiences - one for the movie, and one for the game. The latter wasn't just a tie-in, but helped establish parts of The Matrix canon; Perry points out that "in the movie Morpheus falls off a fuel truck, but he's saved by Niobe driving a car. As a gamer you had to get the car there, you saved Morpheus, but that movie viewer is just happy to see Morpheus survive."
Even with the Matrix's creators on board, the game's development wasn't without its issues. A strict two-year development cycle - implemented by Warner Bros to coincide with the release of The Matrix Reloaded - saw the game's original publisher, Interplay, lose the rights, which were then snapped up by Atari.
Asked what advice he might give to a developer making a potential tie-in to The Matrix 4, Perry says that having a Wachowski on board is critical, no matter how it affects the development timeframe; "I'd recommend they launch a year after the movie. For many reasons they really need Lana [Wachowski, Lilly is not working on The Matrix 4] to spend time dedicated to the gameplay after the movie is out. The game could be absolutely incredible given the time, funding, and expertise that she can bring to the table."
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