Oh my God! They killed Morpheus! You bastards!

He managed to survive all three of the movies, but not the massively multiplayer online RPG based on the trilogy. The folks behind The Matrix Online have killed off Morpheus in an in-game event

At 9 a.m. on Thursday (May 26), members of “The Matrix Online” massive multiplayer game witnessed Keanu’s butt-kicking guru, Morpheus — he of the obscure riddles and gravity-violating kung-fu — meet his bitter end at the hands of a mysterious assassin.

George Lucas didn’t wait to kill Emperor Palpatine in the video game versions of “Star Wars” — he did it in “Return of the Jedi.” But that was 1983. The reclusive but ever-modern “Matrix”-creating Wachowski brothers like to do things a bit differently, a philosophy that now extends beyond their movies to their “Matrix” game, a shared experience that went live in March.

“They wanted to start with something significant and meaningful and shocking, and this was it,” said Paul Chadwick, the writer whose job it is to follow the brothers’ broad outline and script the day-to-day events of the online “Matrix.”

Chadwick has a background in comic books, where the death of the big heroes can be as permanent as a stomachache. But he says Morpheus will be taking the big sleep long-term. “I suppose never say never,” he admitted, though if there are any plans for a resurrection he’s not aware of them. And he’s plotted at least a full year of “Matrix Online” events with the Wachowskis. Still, for what it’s worth, one of the toughest characters Laurence Fishburne ever portrayed is dead. “I did it not in joy but in sorrow,” Chadwick continued. “I’m sorry to see him pass.”

So far TMO has largely been overshadowed by other MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft, but I gotta give them credit for trying to take the genre in a new direction. One of the long-standing problems with MMORPGs compared to traditional pen and paper role playing games is the fact that there’s no real sense that anything you do in the game makes a damned bit of difference. You know that even if you make it to the level cap and get together with a large group of people and manage to take out the highest level end-game boss that he’ll respawn in about 20 minutes or so and nothing has really changed.

Games such as Ashron’s Call have had world-changing events take place on occasion and Star Wars Galaxies has had known characters from its movie license show up and visit players on rare occasions, but The Matrix Online looks to be the first to make both of these things standard parts of the game. The established characters, including Morpheus until just recently, interact with players regularly and are played by real people who can send players on special missions that can only be acquired from the established characters. To kill off one of the major characters so soon after launch points to the possibility that the players may have more impact on the game world than in most other MMORPGs. In this case players can now engage in a who-dunnit search to find Morpheus’ assassin over the course of the next year.

This is particularly interesting for me as Obnoxious Bitch just sent me a free copy of TMO to try out and write a review on. I have literally missed out on a major event in the game already and it’s only been live for a few months. The question is will the storyline and more dynamic nature of the game world make TMO more popular in the future? It’s still largely the same as other games in that most things you fight will be back within the half-hour, but at least it appears you don’t have to wait for a major expansion for significant events to happen.

Found via Wonderland.

2 thoughts on “Oh my God! They killed Morpheus! You bastards!

  1. I wasn’t even aware there WAS an MMRPG of The Matrix. I thought the W brothers had gone and crawled under a rock, or committed ritual seppuku to apologize for the final two movies.

    I can’t believe they are prolonging the agony.

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