Keanu Reeves in Games, Ranked
Today, Unreal Engine released a teaser trailer for its new tech demo The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience. Unreal is promising the new game engine is “the future of interactive storytelling and entertainment” — but the thing that stood out in the 15-second trailer is an incredibly realistic CGI render of Keanu Reeves. Uncanny valley-Keanu asks us: “How do we know what is real?” and, in fact, he looks so real that people were genuinely wondering whether the trailer was CGI or a video.
Of course, the Unreal Engine is one of the most popular game engines that’s been used to make games like Fortnite, It Takes Two, Minecraft: Dungeons and Sherlock Holmes Chapter One. The point of the teaser is to show off the incredible graphical capabilities of the new version of the engine, so it obviously did its job. There are a few telltale signs that Keanu is an in-engine render, like the way his lips move and how the light reflects off him, but it’s an impressive feat.
It got me thinking: Keanu’s appeared in a handful of games over the years, either as his movie characters in their video game adaptations or as new characters, and each time he looks better than the last thanks to advancements in game graphics. I want to honour these graphical leaps and bounds by asking: “Which in-game version of Keanu Reeves is the best?” So I looked back on his work, and a lot of pictures of him for “research”, to provide you with this ranking of Keanu Reeves in games, based on how much he makes us love him.
#6 The Matrix: Path of Neo
Who does Keanu play in this game? This is a loaded question because this game uses Keanu’s likeness but he doesn’t voice the character of Neo.
What does Keanu do in this game? A poorly-rendered model of Keanu lets players relive major action scenes from the films.
How much do we love Keanu in this game? This game is reaching, but we love Keanu no matter how large or small his role is.
#5 Enter the Matrix
Who does Keanu play in this game? Neo
What does Keanu do in this game? Not much. He’s mentioned quite a bit and gives your character — either Niobe or Ghost, depending on who you choose at the start — a mission towards the end of the game. The game’s saving grace is that Keanu appears in some full-motion video cutscenes, but overall, Enter the Matrix is sadly lacking in Keanu screentime.
How much do we love Keanu in this game? Despite all of that, we still love him.
#4 John Wick Hex
Who does Keanu play in this game? John Wick
What does Keanu do in this game? The actual gameplay in John Wick Hex is a top-down strategy game that, sadly, doesn’t give us much opportunity to see Keanu’s face. However, animated cutscenes do give us a better look, and we’ll take what we can get.
How much do we love Keanu in this game? This game feels like another missed opportunity to give Keanu a proper voice acting role, but John Wick Hex lets us live out the character’s methodical chaos from the movies. We love him.
Who does Keanu play in this game? John Wick, again
What does Keanu do in this game? John Wick is a legendary outfit in Fortnite, letting players customise their character to look like Keanu’s hitman character. The outfit was part of the John Wick Set, which also included a limited-time game mode about collecting bounties, a wrap called Boogeyman, an umbrella styled after the one John Wick used at his wife’s funeral and a Back Bling based on the underworld’s gold token currency in the movies.
How much do we love Keanu in this game? The John Wick outfit doesn’t feature any voice acting by Keanu, which is disappointing, but we love Fortnite skins, so: a lot.
#2 Unreal Engine 5 teaser trailer
Who does Keanu play in this game? Himself? Maybe Neo. It’s unclear.
What does Keanu do in this game? He asks us: “How do we know what is real? and plunges us into an existential terror.
How much do we love Keanu in this game? We can only hope The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience will feature more of the startlingly realistic Keanu when it releases in full. We would love that.
#1 Cyberpunk 2077
Who does Keanu play in this game? Johnny Silverhand
What does Keanu do in this game? After being killed by an evil tech megacorp, Johnny Silverhand’s digital consciousness was uploaded into a chip that ends up in your brain. He then spends the rest of the game giving you grief for wanting to get him out of your head, and occasionally takes over your body to party and leave you with the hangover. Eventually, you bond with Johnny and he helps you solve cyber crimes, introduces you to his friends and gives you his Porsche 911 Turbo.
How much do we love Keanu in this game? When Johnny is first uploaded into your head, he tries to kill you to take control of your body. By the end of the game, depending on the choices you make, Johnny can become your character’s best friend. It helps that Cyberpunk 2077 uses Keanu’s face and voice for Johnny, basically making it a leading role for our favourite actor, which we love.