Matrix Online slips to next year

Simultaneous US/European release set for Jan 18th.

The massively multiplayer Matrix Online (the MMMORPG?) has been pushed back from the crowded confines of its November release slot to the relative wasteland of early next year it was announced yesterday, with a simultaneous Europe and US release now planned for January 18th, 2005.

The move is to allow "a much larger release", with the firm keen to get the game out across both territories at the same time.

Warner Interactive's Jason Hall told Gamespot "If we do a simultaneous launch, everybody can experience the story on a going-forward basis at the same time, as opposed to having a six-month lag between what’s going on in Europe and what’s going on in the United States." Amen to that - if only other MMO publisher thought along the same lines, we wouldn’t be in this mess would we?

The game will allow users to join the Humans, the Machines, or the Exiles and get straight into the game, although the story will be absent for the Beta. According to Hall "During beta there are physical game mechanics that are newer to the genre than [what] the Matrix Online brings to the table. People will be able to experience the combat system, which is different- much more tactile than any other MMO. They’ll also be able to see how our mission system works, how they’re going to be able to have varying degrees of exploration in the game. The game is designed to accommodate people who want to spend 20 hours on the game at a time, or 10 minutes, and there’s a whole design system supporting that, and it relates to how the mission system functions. "

Hall added "[Players] get to check out how the graphics look, how the game runs, how it performs on their systems, and they can learn how relationships form within the game. So when the story goes live they have a pretty good idea and sense of direction that they want to take."

Sega and Warner Bros. is also planning to allow users in the US join a closed Beta programme (for a finite amount of users) as part of its pre-order campaign. It's not known at press time whether Sega Europe has any plans to adopt the same plan over here in Europe, nor has the pricing structure been revealed as yet.

In addition, those pre-ordering the game will be granted early access to the game, three days ahead of its high street launch, as well as "an advanced-level 'Hyper Jump' ability with a special effect." Best get those pre-orders in, MMO-nkeys.

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Kristan Reed

Kristan Reed

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Kristan is a former editor of Eurogamer, dad, Stone Roses bore and Norwich City supporter who sometimes mutters optimistically about Team Silent getting back together.

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