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Friday, June 17, 2005

Sony signs deal with Warners to run The Matrix Online (NOOOOOOO!!!)

Let's put it this way: Sony Online Entertainment did to Star Wars what Joel Schumacher did to Batman.

Ain't too much of a gamer but the concept of massive-multiplayer online role-playing games is utterly fascinating to me. And being a Star Wars die-hard I had to give Star Wars Galaxies a try. I was with it for a little more than a year before it got too boring. Blame SOE: they saturated what could have been a viable component of the Star Wars experience with too much visual material, not nearly enough content and NO idea what Star Wars is supposed to really be about (hint: it ain't thirty thousand Jedis running loose at the height of the Empire). I cancelled and swore that when a new Star Wars MMORPG comes out someday it better not be SOE at the helm or I ain't buying.

But even without Star Wars Galaxies, I had The Matrix Online: prolly the first videogame to use armchair philosophy as part of the action. It has its faults, but overall it's been a pleasurable enough pastime... 'cept today Warner Brothers announced they're going to hand the game over to Sony! Ooh-boy.

From the press release on Yahoo!:

Sony Online Entertainment and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Collaborate for Online Projects
Friday June 17, 8:00 am ET
SAN DIEGO and BURBANK, Calif., June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Online Entertainment Inc., and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment today announced exclusive long-term licensing agreements allowing SOE to develop a DC Comics massively multiplayer online game for PC and next generation consoles, as well as the acquisition of The Matrix Online game by SOE.

"By working with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment we will fuse the knowledge SOE has in the online space with some of Warner Bros.' phenomenal properties," said John Smedley, president, Sony Online Entertainment. "SOE will work closely with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Comics to maintain the authenticity consumers demand from the DC Comics franchises. We will also take steps to continue the same high level of service that subscribers have come to expect from The Matrix Online game."

"Our goal is to deliver quality content and consistently advance our key properties within the online games space," said Jason Hall, senior vice president of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. "We've done just that with The Matrix Online. Because of our compelling work in developing and launching that game we can now move it over to the leaders in the MMO space, SOE. We look forward to working with SOE to enhance our overall services to massively multiplayer online gamers for The Matrix Online and a new DC Comics game..."

I can see it now: players running all over the Matrix looking for the elusive 8-track tape that will tell them which profession tree they have to master while a player-versus-player battle breaks out nearby involving twenty-seven "the One"s. Acquiring kung-fu will require a couch-crafting ability and those playing as spies will have NOTHING to actually spy on whatsoever, forever! SOE is going to take this game and make it like EverQuest just as they tried with Star Wars Galaxies... and in the end the Wachowski Brothers themselves will come out of seclusion brandishing katanas to pull the plug on what is now an abortion of a videogame, daring Sony to stop them.

Or, maybe they CAN make it a better game after all. But that better be a damned big alligator that they pull out of that hat.