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Does The Playable Tech Demo, Matrix Awakens, Show The Next-Gen of Gaming?

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Okay. Epic Games’ playable tech demo for the Unreal Engine 5, Matrix Awakens, premiered at this years Game Awards. Matrix Awakens is supposed to be visual proof that the next-gen graphics will be available for Sony and Microsoft’s latest games. The demo is an interactive feature, free to download on a PS5 (PlayStation 5).

Written by Lana Wachowski (co-writer/director of the original The Matrix trilogy and director of The Matrix Resurrections, releasing on December 22), The Matrix Awakens stars Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. Are you excited just to see more of Neo? Well, starting Thursday, Matrix Awakens will be available to play, for free on PS5 (PlayStation 5) and Xbox Series X/S. 

A couple of days ago, Reeves and Moss were generous enough to give The Verge an exclusive interview. Keanu said, “We really believe strongly in big, massive open worlds not just for games. You want to be able to navigate massive, huge spaces just like you can in our world. So we’ve made that a lot easier to do in the engine.”

Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss on making The Matrix Awakens with Epic Games

Here are the stats for the Matrix Awakens: 

  • The city surface is 15.79 km2
  • The city perimeter is 14.519 km long
  • There are 260 km of roads in the city
  • 7000k buildings made of 1000s of assets and each asset could be up to millions of polygons, summing up to be several billions of polygons, to make up just the buildings of the city
  • The city is 4,138 km wide and 4.968 km long, slightly larger than the size of downtown Los Angeles
  • There are 512 km of sidewalk in the city
  • There are 1,248 intersections in the city
  • There are 45,073 parked cars, of which 38,146 are drivable and destructible
  • 12,422 sewer holes
  • Almost 10 million unique and duplicated assets were created to make the city
  • The entire world is lit by only the sun, sky and emissive materials on meshes. No light sources were placed for the tens of thousands of street lights and headlights. In night mode, nearly all lighting comes from the millions of emissive building windows
  • 35,000 simulated MetaHuman pedestrians
  • There are 17,000 simulated traffic vehicles on the road that are destructible
  • 7,000 buildings
  • 27,848 lamp posts on the street side only
The Matrix Awakens Unreal Engine 5 Full Demo on Xbox Series X [4K 60FPS]

Is Matrix Awakens the next-gen of gaming?: 

A short answer to that question is yes, but stay tuned for what is not perfect about the demo. Forget the photo-realistic city. Forget that there are no car chase scenes, that you cannot land on buildings besides the scripted one, and no bullets to dodge (which is literally what you think about when someone mentions The Matrix). 

You get to crash up to 38,146 of the game’s drivable cars. So enjoy the anticipated view of the game from various angles and eagerly crash into another car or a wall. The future of gaming is turning more realistic and you may eventually start feeling like you are playing a real-life character on Google Maps. 

Isaiah Joshua is an author and poet and has a love for video games. In May 2016, he graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a Bachelor's Degree in Cinema Arts and Science. As an avid gamer, some of his favorite games are "WWF No Mercy, Hitman, Manhunt, Sims 3, Mortal Kombat, and Street Fighter. Conscious in gaming culture, he is always researching gaming history, as well as the latest games to write about.