If ever there were a movie franchise that should definitely not be rebooted less than 20 years after it debuted, it would be The Matrix. To call the original film, which released in 1999, simply genre defining would be an understatement. It’s just as much a part of collective pop culture today as Star Wars, James Bond, and Batman. When people bend over to dodge things, everyone shouts, “Matrix!” The movie made black shades, trench coats, and Keanu Reeves cool again.
To top it all off, it was one of the first modern, dystopian interpretations of the concept of virtual reality (VR) that wasn’t relegated to niche, nerd status and was devoured by the mainstream public. Everyone knows about The Matrix and it kicked up a massive conversation about whether or not this life is real, asking if we are actually in a simulation right now. It’s a revolutionary film that still holds up incredibly well and apparently Warner Bros. are in the process of remaking it for some reason.
I don’t think that’s a very good idea, but remakes and re-interpretations are about as sure of a thing as Jason Statham playing the same character in every film he’s in. Since we here at UploadVR have no ability to prevent this remake from happening, we can at least put forth reasons why the new film should also receive an immersive and detailed VR experience (or full game!) to go along with it.
The Matrix Was A Major Influence on VR Itself
The first and most obvious reason why any Matrix reboot should absolutely have an officially licensed VR experience created alongside it is because the entire concept of The Matrix is predicated off of an ideal that is similar to the modern concepts of VR. Humans live out their lives inside this virtual, digital, imaginary world called The Matrix when in reality they are actually being harvested for fuel by robots.
It’s a more bleak and grotesque way of displaying VR than simply sliding a head-mounted display over your face like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but it’s funneling towards a similar idea of a digital landscape where anything is possible. Many studios we’ve spoken with cite works such as The Matrix right alongside Star Trek and the Holodeck as their main inspirations for working in the VR space.
The Format Lends Itself to Short Experiences
During an early scene in The Matrix, Neo is sent through a laundry list of training programs. It’s like he’s having different skills installed and uploaded into the hard drive of his brain, which he can then utilize while inside The Matrix. It’s what results in one of the greatest lines in the history of the universe.
For a VR experience, it would be very easy to load players into a handful of small scenarios. Let us jump across buildings, fight Morpheus, walk around The Construct, meet The Architectwatch, and more. Just don’t get distracted by the Woman in the Red Dress.
They Can Let Users Do Anything
Most VR experiences fall into either one of two camps: they focus on ultra-realism, immersing players in something that is meant to mirror reality, or they go over the top with something so outlandish and fantastic it’s just silly fun. The Matrix however has the chance to do both.
Since players will have the understanding that their minds are simply experiencing a fictional world around them, the creators could make it seem ultra realistic and immersive while still letting users do things like fly, slow down time, and run on walls. It could be even more fast-paced and intense than the John Wick Chronicles VR game.
Everyone Wants to be Neo
Ever since I first watched The Matrix, I wanted to be Neo. He’s right up there alongside Goku as one of the coolest and most badass fictional characters ever. The Matrix: Path of Neo was a criminally underrated game that did a great job of capturing the feeling of controlling The One, but it’s a bit dated by today’s standards.
Let me instead step inside the body of Neo using a VR headset. I want to see the world through his eyes, analyze the possibilities, and prove that I’m ready to be unplugged. You can see what that ultimate power feels like when Neo finally breaks through at the end of the original Matrix, embedded above.
It’s a Story About Questioning Reality
What is real? One of my favorite scenes from the series is when Cypher is eating a steak (shown above) while inside The Matrix. He knows it isn’t real, but the taste and experience in and of itself is enough to just pretend. So does something become reality for a person if they experience it and enjoy it enough? Is sensory immersion adequate, or does it require something more?
Literally speaking, nothing in the world of the digitized Matrix is actually real, but what does reality even mean? How do we know there isn’t another simulation running on top of The Matrix? What if the robot world is the simulation? All of those questions (some touched upon in the VR adventure title, Technolust) are asked in this franchise and it’s the perfect conversation to make even more poignant through the use of modern VR technology.
If someone at Warner Bros. reads this, maybe it will be enough to spur interest. There is an old DK2 premise made by a fan you can check out if you have one of those lying around still, but it’s far below modern quality standards (obviously) and is just a little downloadable example project.
What would you want in an official Matrix VR experience? The ability to see bullets whizzing by like in Bullet Train, Superhot VR, or Robo Recall is an absolute must. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!