The Matrix Online was a MMORPG based on The Matrix franchise that was made by Warner Bros. Entertainment and Monolith Productions and was later bought out by Sony Online Entertainment. It began beta testing in June 2004 and went live in March 2005 for North American users, and April 2005 for European users. It was eventually shut down in July of 2009, due to low sales.
The Matrix was unique in the MMO market for two major reasons: First was the leveling and skill system. Unlike standard MMOs, where you pick a class and then delve into specializations within that class, The Matrix had a modular system that gave every player access to all of the skills, but only allowed them to pick a certain number of skills in a certain progression at a time. This allowed characters to make unique classes by mixing and matching abilities and weapons and was fairly intuitive despite sounding incredibly complex.
Second was the Live Events. Unlike other MMO events, this one had a specific team designed to act out the roles of the minor characters and contacts during a event.
The story of MxO was as such: After the death of Neo, the Machines and Zion have stopped engaging in open warfare and now fight a cold war in the Matrix proper. The Exiles, led by the Merovingian, also joined in the fray, recruiting redpills (the players) to do their dirty work. The major arcs in the story included the death of Morpheus, illegal codes that turned some redpills into Super Soldiers, a conspiracy to kill everyone by holding a free concert, and finally giving everyone GM level powers.
As stated above, the game is now defunct. A slideshow is available at the community website, Data Node One. There is however a community-led project which aims to revive the game through the use of private, fan-run servers. It was the last official piece of Matrix media until 2021's The Matrix Resurrections.
This game series provides examples of:
- Aborted Arc: The story of Neurophyte, a Zion operative who inherited mysterious powers after a run-in with a "killcode." The arc took a few branching paths and set the stage for a new Neo-like character... until Sony took over, laid off the event team, merged servers, and never mentioned the story again.
- False Flag Operation: The Red-Eyed Agents were created to impersonate actual agents and sabotage the peace treaty.
- Fantastic Terrorists: Morpheus is branded a terrorist when he starts to fight the Machines with code bombs, which disrupt the simulation of the Matrix and reveal its raw code to everyone around. To the "bluepill" bystanders who weren't aware they're Inside a Computer System, the sight is extremely traumatic.
- Gameplay and Story Integration: The real agents are extremely strong enemies with whom is not advisable to fight directly, this is according to the story in which Neo was one of the few who could defeat them.
- Never Found the Body: It is noted that Neo's body was never found, which leads to some In-Universe Epileptic Trees about his status. Notably, some NPCs discussed rumors about Neo somehow still being alive deep inside in the Machine City.
- Prefers the Illusion: There's a group of people called "Cypherites" who argue that Cypher was right and that Neo and the people of Zion had no right to decide for the rest of humanity. After all, who would want to live in a dead, post-apocalyptic world that humans themselves were largely responsible for?
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The General at one point employed an army of Black Helicopter pilots who resemble the Agents, but with glowing red eyes, probably so that everyone knew they were bad. This was eventually revealed to be because the General and his Commandos were in fact exiled sentinel programs. Which makes sense since the sentinels were mass-produced to destroy Zion and had no purpose once the truce was forged.
- Restricted Expanded Universe: The game features in its first chapter as Morpheus eventually commits terrorist acts against the Machines, demanding that they return Neo's body. That character goes so far as to create "code bombs" to reveal the Matrix code even to people still jacked in and not ready for such a revelation. Then he is Killed Off for Real by a program known as the Assassin.
- Useless Useful Non-Combat Abilities: Cryptography — and by extension, the Crypto Tool item — were never used once and eventually silently vanished.