Well, that was a surprise!
Out of nowhere, Bethesda announced a new Indiana Jones games under development by the talented team at Machine Games. While just a teaser, there’s a few clues in here to dissect. In addition, there’s the elephant in the room – exclusivity and the looming Zenimax acquisition.
Arguably the grandfather and main inspiration behind games like Tomb Raider and Uncharted, Indiana Jones was a collaboration between George Lucas, who created the franchise and Steven Spielberg who directed all of the films thus far. A childhood favourite for many, the announcement of a new game in development is bound to cause some excitement for us “older” gamers in particular.
The IP has spawned 4 feature films, a TV series, books, comics, and of course – video games.
And for the record, yes, Raiders of the Lost Ark is the better film, but The Last Crusade has my heart, warts and all.
Earlier this week, Lucasfilm announced a new division – Lucasfilm Games, and now it has become clear as to why. Disney sit on a wealth of fantastic IP ripe for video game conversion, so it’s nice to see things moving quickly.
So an original Indiana Jones story, from Machine Games, developers of the modern Wolfenstein series, themselves well known for being creative and technically excellent games. A good fit then, but what can we expect from a modern Indiana Jones title?
The Archaeology of Games
Indiana Jones has had an interesting history in video games – we’ve had everything from point and click adventure games to 3rd person brawlers and kid focused Lego games. The latter, while fun, isn’t really what an old fart like me is looking for.
Traditionally, Machine Games are known for first person shooters, and whilst Indy does indeed carry a trusty revolver, we’re pretty sure they’ll go the expected 3rd person adventure game route here. After all, if we can navigate ancient ruins or disarm enemies with a bullwhip, what’s the point?
Judging from the teaser trailer, the game looks to be set in 1937, and possibly linked to the Vatican City in Rome, heart of Catholicism and home of the Pope himself. What ancient artefact will we be hunting for? That remains to be seen – it certainly can’t be the Holy Grail, we’ve already found that one.
There’s also a book (written by Todd Howard no less!) on the Ancient Circle. Perhaps this is a cult or the mystery we’re trying to unravel. For now, it will have to remain a mystery.
That speaks to the other element of Indiana Jones – he’s not just out there killing Nazis, he’s also finding and securing ancient antiquities, so we’d expect plenty of climbing, puzzling and adventuring to boot. The films also have a habit of some serious globetrotting as we follow Dr. Jones on his adventures (The red line showing our journey across the world in cutscenes is awaited with eager anticipation) so we reckon it’s fair to hope for varied locations in this new adventure.
Will it be Exclusive to Xbox?
As of this moment, the official Playstation accounts have yet to retweet or acknowledge this announcement. Whilst that’s not a concrete confirmation, and nothing has yet been confirmed, it’s fair perhaps to surmise that this may be the first of many exclusives born out of the yet to be finalised Zenimax acquisition by Microsoft.
It has already been teased by Todd Howard, and we didn’t even know it at the time.
Of course, it may also be that the folks at Playstation simply don’t know, and are erring on the side of caution for now. The IP of course, is owned by Disney, and it may that they stipulate the title release on all relevant and capable platforms.
Equally of course, Disney allowed Spiderman to remain exclusive to Playstation. So, in short, it remains to be seen. (We wouldn’t bet on it)
What we would bet on is that, along with everything else from Xbox, this new Indy game will arrive on Game Pass Day One across PC and console. It’s a big name, with a lot of nostalgia attached to it, and is bound to drive a lot of interest in Xbox going forward. It’s been mentioned previously that Machine Games is hard at work on the finale to their Wolfenstein series, so we’ll be waiting a while before we see any gameplay.
For now though, we’re glad to have ‘top men’ working on it. (And women too of course, but we’re sure you’ll forgive us for this little joke).