I remember seeing the trailers for The Matrix in advance of release; coming just a few years after Johnny Mnemonic, another Keanu Reeves-starring cyberpunk movie didn’t seem like the best idea in the world – but the mysterious trailers promised some absolutely mind-blowing visuals and an intriguing story, which was kept under wraps until release. Of course, it became an absolute phenomenon – and deservedly so – spawning two sequels too. Though these failed to continue the story in a satisfying way in my opinion – opting to double down on philosophical technobabble and dialling the action scenes up to eleven, often at the expense of any storytelling clarity, on both counts – they did complete the story arc of Neo, Reeves’s character, and even bring the Matrix itself to a sort of reset, thus ending the story.

Or so we thought. One half of the directing siblings behind the original trilogy, Lana Wachowski, has completed a fourth film in the franchise – with several returning cast members, including Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. Story-wise, at least from the newest trailer (released yesterday), it would seem that the previous story is something that has occurred within the world of The Matrix as a story itself. Layers upon layers of reality, consciousness and identity…it’s a very Matrix-esque construct as a story itself, on face value. Of course, this is all guesswork – nothing is set in stone and I’m ready to be blown away and surprised by Wachowski’s film when it releases in a few weeks.

Also releasing yesterday was The Matrix Awakens on Xbox Series X/S and PS5. Billed as ‘An Unreal Engine 5 Experience’, it would appear to be some sort of interactive tech demo. There’s little information on each console’s store and no screenshots or trailer, however. Load the ‘experience’ right now and there’s the familiar Matrix code, running down the screen in its iconic green waterfall pattern. Accompanying this is a countdown timer; the experience itself is set to launch at the Game Awards on December 9th, which is the point at which the counter will reach zero, making the experience available. The only other interactive element right now is an options menu, which allows you to invert controls, turn subtitles on or off and set controller rumble, which are intriguing controls in terms of offering clues as to what the experience will offer.

It’s all very in-character for the forward-thinking, groundbreaking franchise – which may have outstayed its welcome by the third installment of the original trilogy, but it seems that audiences are welcoming it back with open arms, 18 years later. The Matrix Awakens is likely to be a very interesting taster of what’s in store for us in the new movie – and perhaps beyond too.

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