The folks over at Monolith Productions released a Newsletter today with lots of information on their upcoming game The Matrix Online.
First up is a bit about the storyline of the game itself:
THE STATE OF THE MATRIX
Neo is dead.
However, in his sacrifice, he insured peace between the humans of Zion and the Machine civilization.
The Matrix Online takes place immediately following Revolutions. It is a tense time, and while the truce has held, no one is certain how long it will last. It is very much a cold-war scenario with all sides preparing for the worst, but most praying for peace.
In the Matrix itself, three powerful organizations vie for control.
The Merovingian continues to solidify his powerbase in the face of record numbers of immigrating Exiles (machine programs that have fled into the Matrix to avoid deletion). For the Merovingian and his ilk, the continuation of the Matrix is essential. Their very existence is now housed within the code of the Matrix. And while many Exiles exhibit incredible powers, each one has a Killcode; a specific vulnerability that can instantly destroy them.
The Machines reluctantly allow the recruitment of new redpills, but the sheer number of redpills leaving the body pods is of great concern to them. Without energy from the pods, a power crisis will occur; something that the Machines want to avoid at all costs. In addition, redpills performing rule-breaking feats may be having an effect on the population at large. People rejecting the Matrix en masse may very well be a breaking point for the truce.
Zion continues its efforts to free those who see past the Matrix, but with more and more people leaving the pods, their organization is becoming fractured. Some believe that the peace Neo secured must be protected at all costs. Others believe that the machines cannot be trusted, and are quietly preparing for the eventual outbreak of hostilities. There are also those who believe that Neo is still alive...
As a newly awakened redpill, you are thrust into this maelstrom of subterfuge and mistrust. Choose your loyalties but trust no one. The ultimate fate of the Matrix is in your hands.
Next we have a statement on the State of the Beta:
And next is a short interview with Lead Designer Toby Ragaini:
THE STATE OF THE BETA
The Matrix Online Team recently launched version 6.0 of the Beta Client! This highly anticipated update contained many fantastic content additions. This version added the Downtown and International Districts to the world, including special Exile hideouts. The Matrix Online Team also added hundreds of new abilities and items, including some very special code-enhanced items!
The Matrix Online Beta Test will be inviting tens of thousands of players over the next two months. If you would like to participate in the ongoing Beta Test of The Matrix Online, you can receive a guaranteed entry to the beta on November 18, 2004 by preordering The Matrix Online. You can also register for the beta test at The Matrix Online Website sign-up page, located here.
FilePlanet is also offering 20,000 authentication keys for The Matrix Online Beta. Only FilePlanet subscribers will get the chance to play in this special FilePlanet exclusive, sponsored by Warner Bros. Interactive and Sega. Last Tuesday on October 12, FilePlanet admitted 5,000 people into The Matrix Online beta test in what they described as one of the fastest grabs in recent memory. "Whew! That was fast! In one thunderous frenzy 5,000 lucky Matrix fans left our site clutching their beta key greedily in their digital hands." wrote FilePlanet.
The Matrix Online Vault added to the excitement in a recent editorial about the beta test on their site. MxO Vault wrote that "people are talking about this game as "The One" we've been waiting for that finally gets it right".
FilePlanet will be giving away another 15,000 beta slots to their subscribers in the next few weeks! For more information about this program, please head to FilePlanet!
Last, but not least is a bit about the Preorder Package:
EXCLUSIVE: TOBY RAGAINI ANSWERS TOP QUESTIONS!
After compiling a list of top community questions from The Matrix Online forums, Lead Designer Toby Ragaini answers several major questions from our community. This question and answer session is a Matrix Online Newsletter exclusive!
We will have a Matrix Online exclusive with every newsletter publication, so tell your friends to sign up!
Will there be sniper rifles in The Matrix Online?
Toby Ragaini: Yes. The sniper rifle will be a high-level item that can only be used by characters with the Sniper Discipline. Basically, a sniper rifle is a weapon with much longer range, higher damage, and slower rate of fire than other weapons. You won't be doing 'headshots' like you would in an FPS game, but your enemies will definitely feel it.
How many characters can I have?
Toby Ragaini: Each account may only have one character per game world. There will be multiple servers, so you can have several characters, but not in the same world.
Because of the Ability/Discipline structure of The Matrix Online, this isn't as much a restriction as it would be in your typical MMO. If you want to play a support role one day, you simply load up all your Patcher Abilities. On the other hand, if you feel like taking down some programs, you load up your Gunman Abilities and go to town.
How can thousands of people suddenly jack into the Matrix all at once? In the movies, only a small group of people from a crew could do it?
Toby Ragaini: In Reloaded, Morpheus describes how more and more red pills were being successfully recruited. And at the end of Revolutions, the Oracle makes sure the Architect will let those who seek the red pill do so without harassment. It becomes clear that thousands of individuals are now willing to give up their comforting reality in order to gain the power of the truth.
Do you have to choose an Organization to work for?
Toby Ragaini: As with everything in the Matrix, it's all about choice. By doing missions for an Organization, your reputation with that Organization will change. The more you work for a single Organization, the higher your reputation gets. Once you have a high enough reputation, you earn the right to captain your own crew.
You don't have to work for a single Organization; you can take missions from any that you want. However, you'll never be trusted enough by one to become a captain. Also, once you join a crew, you're automatically associated with the Captain's organization.
It's possible, but very difficult to not choose sides in the Matrix!
For more information on The Matrix Online newsletter please click here. You will find the sign-up on the bottom left of the homepage.
THE MATRIX ONLINE PREORDER RELEASED!
After announcing that The Matrix Online would officially launch on January 18, 2005, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Sega, and Monolith Productions announced the details of the preorder program that will offer participants exclusive access to the closed beta beginning on November 18, 2004.
In addition to the beta test, the preorder program will allow participants to start the Live game three days before the official launch. These preorder users will also gain an advanced-level Hyper-Jump ability with a special graphical effect.
This will be an opportunity for members of the Matrix community to establish allegiances, join guilds, and plan strategies for the full game. During the preorder beta, players will experience full mechanics and abilities of The Matrix Online, however the game's storyline will not commence until the official launch in January.