Publishing monolith Epic Games has just released a pre-download for a tech demo called The Matrix Awakens today, just in time for the 2021 Game Awards later this week. Matrix franchise fans can now download the 29GB demo in advance of the release, but it won’t be viewable until December 9. In the meantime, there’s an official teaser you can watch where Keanu Reeves questions the nature of reality.
What is it, really? — Epic Games might be known for its third-person titles like Fortnite, Spellbreak and Dauntless, but they’re also a developer software powerhouse. Epic owns Unreal Engine, an application that touts itself as “the most powerful real-time 3D creation tool.”
This upcoming tech demo is basically a Matrix-themed advertisement for Epic’s new software, Unreal Engine 5, which is in limited early access and is set to launch sometime in 2022. The new engine, successor to Unreal Engine 4, was announced last year and a number of games like Fortnite’s Chapter 3 are already using it.
Two birds, one stone — But truth be told, the tech demo will be more than just a demonstration of tech. According to the Xbox website, The Matrix Awakens was co-created by Lana Wachowski, who directed The Matrix film trilogy from 1999 and 2003 with her sibling Lilly Wachowski. Lana is also the director of the upcoming fourth film in the Matrix universe, The Matrix Resurrections, which is set to hit theaters December 22.
Considering the proximity to the highly-anticipated fourth film’s release date, the Awakens demo could possibly feature some kind of nod to the upcoming film. Either way, it’s a big promotion for the Matrix franchise, and despite the stumbling release of Keanu Reeves’ Cyberpunk 2077, the actor remains a beloved figure in the gaming space.