The Matrix Online (2005)

by Ji-yeong
6 minutes read


The Matrix Online (2005) was an MMORPG that allowed players to continue the story of the Matrix franchise. Featuring unique gameplay mechanics and a dynamic, player-driven narrative, it remains a notable, though ephemeral, chapter in the history of online gaming.


In 2005, The Matrix Online invited players to enter the virtual world of the Matrix, embarking on a journey that continued the saga of the iconic film series. Developed with input from the Wachowskis, it aimed to merge the realms of cinema and gaming into one cohesive narrative experience.


“The Matrix Online” (MxO) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that was initially developed by Monolith Productions and later by Sony Online Entertainment. The game was released in the United States on March 22, 2005, and in Europe on April 15, 2005.

MxO was advertised as a continuation of the storyline of The Matrix films, with the franchise’s creators, The Wachowskis, giving their blessing to the notion of gamers “inheriting the storyline”. The game’s development and operation were transferred to Sony Online Entertainment on August 15, 2005. However, Sony Online Entertainment shut down the operation of the game on July 31, 2009.

In MxO, the player assumes the role of a redpill, a human who was formerly trapped inside the Matrix and has since been freed and shown the truth of humanity’s imprisonment. When creating a new character, the player is given the choice of taking a blue pill that will return them to their former life (quit the game) or a red pill, which will free their mind from the Matrix and allow them to take the body of a physical human and experience reality.

Characters who are unaware of the fact that they are in the simulation are often referred to as “bluepills” because they have either taken the blue pill or have not been given the choice yet. People who are aware of the simulation (players) are referred to as “redpills” because they have taken the red pill.

Following the choice between the two pills, the player is then taken through a basic tutorial of the game’s mechanics, including mission interaction and the combat system. After the tutorial, they are then free to roam the Mega City (the large metropolis that the entire Matrix story is set in).

Combat in the game is divided into two separate parts: Free-fire and Interlock. Free-fire mode allows for large gun battles to take place, while Interlock is often broken down into bullet-time-affected martial arts moves and close-quarters gunfire.

The game is set after ‘The Matrix Revolutions’ where the Humans and Machines have peace. However, the Humans can jack into the Matrix and do missions and form factions/crews. This provides an immersive experience for the players, allowing them to delve deeper into the world of The Matrix and interact with other players in a dynamic, evolving storyline.

“The Matrix Online” offered a unique gaming experience that extended the narrative of the Matrix universe. Despite its eventual shutdown, it remains a notable example of an MMORPG that successfully integrated elements of a popular film franchise into an interactive, multiplayer gaming environment.


While the game featured new characters unique to its storyline, players could also encounter iconic figures from the films such as Morpheus, Neo, and Trinity in various capacities, often guiding them on missions or as part of major story arcs.


The Matrix Online introduced the ‘Interlock’ combat system, a distinctive feature that allowed players to engage in more strategic, turn-based combat within an MMORPG setting. This system, combined with a flexible skill allocation that let players tailor their abilities, offered a fresh take on online gaming.


The Matrix Online was a bold experiment in transmedia storytelling, offering an unprecedented opportunity to live within the Matrix universe. Despite its eventual closure, the game’s legacy continues to inspire discussions about the potential for interactive narratives within the gaming industry.

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