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Liquid Matrix - Blox © Rodney Matthews Studios

Liquid Matrix – The Game That Never Was

July 28, 2019

Liquid Matrix – The Game That Never Was

In 1999 I received a call from Jeff Remmer, Art Director of Sony’s 989 Studios in San Diego, USA. 989 had plotted a game, provisionally titled 'Liquid Matrix' and wanted me to provide overall concept design. I wasn’t exactly twiddling my thumbs at the time, but the remuneration on offer was considerable, so I snapped Jeff’s hand off and got down to work!

It was easy to see the thinking behind the title; ‘Matrix’ was a popular word at the time, partly due to the success of the film of the same name, but also the metallic villain in Terminator, made of stuff with at least some of the qualities of mercury, that ran back together after impact.  That said, Liquid Matrix was not over-influenced by either of these concepts.

My intention here, is to show a gallery of images selected from the seventy or so pencil and colour drawings I produced for the game.  I remember making verbal suggestions for colour and mood, where only pencil drawings had been requested.

Below are three enemies from the first section of the game.  As with all of the enemies and bosses throughout the gameplay, their matrices are liquid, allowing them to change shape:

Liquid Matrix - Section 1, Secti Stages 1, 2 & 3 © Rodney Matthews Studios

SECTION 1.  SECTI: STAGE 1. 1999, PENCIL (TOP LEFT)

SECTION 1.  SECTI: STAGE 3. 1999, PENCIL (TOP RIGHT)

SECTION 1.  SECTI: STAGE 2.  BOSS ARENA.  1999, PENCIL (BOTTOM)

In the above image, at the left-hand side, is a crashed transport ship, perched upon a clifftop.  The same ship can be seen from a couple of different angles in the images below:

Liquid Matrix - The Transport Ship © Rodney Matthews Studios

THE TRANSPORT SHIP.  1999, PENCIL

Below left is 'The Energy Field', where the heroine, the main player character, must head to re-energise.  Below right is another enemy, 'The Hoverbird':

Liquid Matrix - Section 1, Levels 4 & 5 © Rodney Matthews Studios

SECTION 1, LEVEL 4.  THE ENERGY FIELD.  1999, PENCIL (LEFT)

SECTION 1, LEVEL 5.  HOVERBIRD.  1999, PENCIL (RIGHT)

Another enemy, from 'The G'eless' race:

Liquid Matrix - The G'eless © Rodney Matthews Studios

THE G'ELESS.  1999, INKS

The heroine can be seen below, among the giant flora and fauna of section two, level one:

Liquid Matrix - Section 2, Level 1 © Rodney Matthews Studios

SECTION 2.  LEVEL 1.  1999, PENCIL (TOP)

SECTION 2.  LEVEL 1.  CANOPY.  1999, PENCIL (BOTTOM LEFT)

SECTION 2.  LEVEL 1.  1999, PENCIL (BOTTOM RIGHT)

Scenes from section two, level two:

Liquid Matrix - Section 2, Level 2 © Rodney Matthews Studios

SECTION 2.  LEVEL 2.  1999, PENCIL (LEFT)

SECTION 2.  LEVEL 2.  1999, PENCIL (RIGHT)

Meet the boss, 'Blox', the highest ranking villain:

Liquid Matrix - Section 2, Level 2 - Blox © Rodney Matthews Studios

SECTION 2.  LEVEL 2.  BLOX.  1999, PENCIL

Another enemy, 'The Razor Bug", one of the few pencil drawings, that made it to colour:

Liquid Matrix - Section 2, Level 3 © Rodney Matthews Studios

SECTION 2.  LEVEL 3.  THE RAZOR BUG.  1999, PENCIL

Liquid Matrix - the Razor Bug © Rodney Matthews Studios

SECTION 2.  LEVEL 3.  THE RAZOR BUG.  1999, INKS

The lichen caves of section two, level four:

Liquid Matrix - Section 2, Level 4 © Rodney Matthews Studios

SECTION 2.  LEVEL 4.  LICHEN CAVES.  1999, PENCIL

At last, a member of a peaceful tribe, 'The Volute':

Liquid Matrix - The Volute © Rodney Matthews Studios

THE VOLUTE.  1999, INKS

An interior image of a home belonging to a member of the Volute:

Liquid Matrix - Volute House, Lounge © Rodney Matthews Studios

VOLUTE HOUSE - LOUNGE.  1999, PENCIL

Another couple of landscapes.  Again, the heroine makes an appearance on the left:

Liquid Matrix - Landscapes © Rodney Matthews Studios

UNTITLED.  1999, PENCIL (LEFT AND RIGHT)

One of many milestone markers - the player must collect and place gemstones upon these markers to advance throughout the game:

Liquid Matrix - Milestone Marker © Rodney Matthews Studios

MILESTONE MARKER.  1999, PENCIL

All was going well, and I estimated that I had achieved around half of my work-load, when a call from Jeff Remmer caused me to utter several expletives. A person, who was ultimately in charge of the project, had walked into 989 Studios and announced that the game had become too top heavy – too expensive – and work on it was to terminate forthwith!

Yet another lost opportunity!



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