Saturday, 1 October 2011

Taking the Red Pill

I am the Warden!!

Checking out stats for the blog this week led to a rather startling development. All of a sudden, out of the blue, there was a huge swell of people checking out the Matrix: Revolutions posts from last month. There are no coincidences online, so I started digging around. Luckily, there's a very good reason and it's causing me to believe I should fall of the grid more often.

Keanu Reeves spoke with fans at the London School of Performing Arts and it wasn't long before someone asked him about the Matrix. Drop quote from Ain't It Cool News:
Says he met the Wachowski's (no emphasis on the word brothers), for lunch over Christmas and stated that they had completed work on a two picture script treatment that would see him return to the world of the matrix as Neo. Says the brothers have met with Jim Cameron to discuss the pro's and con's of 3D and are looking to deliver something which has never been seen again. keanu stated that he still has an obligation to the fans to deliver a movie worthy of the title "The Matrix" and he swears this time that the treatment will truly revolutionise the action genre like the first movie. Wachowski's are working on a movie called "Cloud Atlas" at the moment, once that concludes they will talk again. 

Oh, fate, thou art so kind. Any other week, I probably would have caught this right away as AICN is part of my morning read but I've been caught up with revisions on Optional: Playtest, doctor's appointments, and a little snafu with the bank. It's like construction. You drive past a site every day and it looks like they're never getting any work done. Then you take a vacation and when you drive past it again, there's a new foundation, concrete has been poured, and you can finally tell they're assembling a new office building.

Working on Matrix: Revolutions as a one-shot playtest was a lot of fun. The events of that weekend did not go as planned and cut into the amount of time we were able to play, but the couple of hours where two monitors took on the Twins and an Agent were a geeky dream. As I pounded the keyboard working on the monitor creed and finalizing rules for lethal weapons and the Matrix stat, my mind wandered beyond this single event and considered material for an entire Matrix campaign.

Perhaps it's time to start taking that idea seriously.

Another Unofficial Matrix Roleplaying Game?
Since The Matrix hit theaters in 1999, gamers have turned to their dice and made up their own homebrew Matrix RPGs, relying on existing systems to get the job done. There's even one in development using Don't Rest Your Head by Evil Hat Productions as a source for a Matrix RPG. So the idea is nothing new, but no one's taken it to the professional level. There is no officially licensed Matrix roleplaying game.

As the Optional System gets closer and closer to open playtesting, I've considered numerous ideas for promoting the game. As a very broke gamer, I'm a big fan of anything free and free products always worked well for me during my Emerald Press days. Releasing a free Matrix RPG using the Optional System sat at the top of my list, though I have to admit it seemed like a good idea at a bad time. It's been eight years since any Matrix was in theaters and attempts to keep the thrill alive flickered and died (like the MMORPG). I was uncertain as to whether or not the effort would stand out or just fizzle, particularly since there are at least a dozen other free downloads for a Matrix RPG.

This latest news changes things. It could end up being nothing, a wild rumour, or just another one of those projects the studio is excited to get behind but remains logistically impossible. They're talking about it as a 3D bonanza even though the results of 3D films are a bit of a mixed bag. Every time people start writing it off, something like The Lion King comes out and challenges that conception. For now, let's consider the idea of a continuing story of Neo a viable possibility. Like the Star Wars prequels hinted at in the VHS Special Editions - it could happen but might take years to get there and then you discover Jar Jar Binks and wish you had a time machine.

Legal issues now jump to the top of the inbox. I'll be honest, my goal with the Optional System is to start up a new publishing company and make this my banner system. If I were just an aspiring designer looking to make a name for himself, I'd call it "The Matrix Roleplaying Game," slap on some copyrighted images, give thanks to the Wachowski Brothers and Warner Brothers, and post a link ASAP. But I'm not. I have to consider legal issues. There's no need to put the kind of work I'd want into a free product only to have it cost me my dreams. And money too, that would also suck. So the kid in me wants to go for it, but the grown-up wants to consult his attorney.

We all know how this is going to turn out. A title will pop into my head and there'll be no turning back. Seeing as I didn't get a wink of sleep last night, it's only a matter of time before that eureka moment occurs and I start seeing everything in funky green letters scrolling down the wall.

It's going to happen. It's just a matter of time.