Matrix: Path of Neo Interview

Matrix: Path of Neo Interview

with Benjamin "BJ" Cholewinski, Designer (Shiny Entertainment)

What sets Path of Neo apart from Enter the Matrix?

(Benjamin "BJ" Cholewinski)

For one, the gamer is Neo, and all of the superhuman fighting he did in the films is in Path of Neo for players to experience first hand. Dare I say, "The first interactive Neo?"

Second, the tech, level design, art, sound, effects and animation behind PoN have matured delivering more interactivity, richer visuals and audio for deeper immersion.

Multi-opponent/directional strikes, blocks and Link-Up attacks, combo linkers, finishers, new melee (staff, sword, etc.) and ranged weapons (submachine guns, shotguns, grenade launcher, etc.), new bullet time skills, evasions, and telekinesis are all new combat features crafted to offer fighting alternatives for various play styles.

The driving and hovercraft portions found in ETM have been replaced by super jumping, major destruction, Havok physics, flight, a level up/customization system, and a helicopter gatling-gun mini-game.

Also, the camera has detached itself from the ETM butt-cam and is much more dynamic. The right stick can be used to look around while the target lock button allows for new 360 targeting on the ground and in the air. During target lock the right stick is used to quickly cycle enemies and bullet time allows for interactive / destructible object targeting.

Would you tell us about the enhanced Bullet Time and other special effects that have gone into the game?

(Benjamin "BJ" Cholewinski)

Bullet Time has many functions, the primary serving to amplify Neo's skill sets such as fighting, evasion, shooting, and traversal abilities. Bullet Time, or Focus it's called in the game, can be applied with the press of a button to perform overhead flips, bullet dodges, wall runs, and flight. Using Focus when shooting firearms enhances accuracy, modifies fire rate, and produces cool bullet trails making it easier to see where your bullets (and the enemies) are going.

Could you elaborate on the fighting styles, moves, and weaponry?

(Benjamin "BJ" Cholewinski)

The melee combat in Path of Neo features Focus, fast-paced hand-to-hand combat, combos, linkers, finishers, blocks, grapples, charge ups, aerial and wall jumping specials, multi-opponent fighting, special choreographed link-up attacks, and wicked evasion tactics.

There are lots of guns such as Pistols, Submachine Guns, fully-automatic Rifles, and Shotguns. For the demolitionists out there we have a Grenade Launcher (lots of fun airborne), Frag Grenades, Det Packs, and status effect inducing Flash Bangs, and Tear Gas.

Melee weapons include the Staff, One and Two-handed Swords. Each weapon type changes Neo's animation sets for all of his fighting moves and has a unique strength and weakness. But let's be honest, what kind of weakness could a Katana or Steel Pole expose in the hands of the One?

Will the music be from the bands that were featured in the films?

(Benjamin "BJ" Cholewinski)

Yes, the soundtrack contains musicians that were instrumental (ugh, the pun from hell) in orchestrating (do'h) the killer tracks for all three films. And for Path of Neo the greats such as Junkie XL, Juno Reactor, Photek, Crystal Method, and Meat Beat Manifesto (to name a few) have all returned to write original pieces. The soundtrack is truly amazing.

How was it working with the Wachowski Brothers this time?

(Benjamin "BJ" Cholewinski)

Working with the bros. Wachowski was great. It was like being there from the start of the Matrix and being part of the experience from both creative and learning standpoints. The brothers communicate their vision through voice and text in a way that when a pause between sentences is (finally) reached, you're left breathless, high, and hungry for more. In the beginning they hit us like a freight train with some far-out ideas that really had our heads spinning in Matrix goodness.

From the start we were like, "are they serious," "I think they are," "this is going to be huge!" From the day we received their first outline of the game, our brains and fingers ran with the concepts as if Agents were pursuing us to hard line exits. The Wachowski's lets us know from the start that they were not going to leave us in the cold with no umbrella and a rain-soaked black and white pamphlet on the Matrix Trilogy. This was an opportunity seized by the bros. and Shiny to go the extra mile, bridge gaps, and deliver as Smith would say, "More, more, and more!"

Are there any secrets that you could tell us about?

(Benjamin "BJ" Cholewinski)

Learn the Code Breaker Combo by finding and collecting the Briefcase power up in the firearms training program. This is the fifth training program that features guns only. To collect the power up simply explore the darkened 'closet space' area (go through one of the open doors) located in the long hall as you return to the main dining area on the upper level. The doors are not open your first time through the hall. They only open after you get to the bottom level and return for the final Boss fight. Enjoy!

Could you tell us about the next project you will be working on?

(Benjamin "BJ" Cholewinski)

It will be next gen and it will be big, huge, mega, colossal, epic! Did I say that out loud? Thanks for your time and we hope you enjoy the game!