Last week it was revealed that MachineGames will be working on an Indiana Jones game. Let’s take a look at why this team-up should make you excited.
Why Indiana Jones
This past week, LucasArts renamed its gaming division LucasFilm Games. This name change was compared to the change that Marvel Games went through less than a decade ago.
LucasFilm Games will be taking the same route on which Marvel Games has found success. Instead of giving one developer access to the IP, it will instead hand out properties to certain developers they know can do a great job.
LucasFilm Games has set itself on a new path that will bring a new point of view to the franchises we know and love.
Indiana Jones is a popular franchise that hasn’t seen new films or games in a long time. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was the last film to be released in 2008. The last game was Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues, which was released in 2009.
Nathan Drake is based off of Indiana Jones. Travelling the globe, discovering legendary treasures, and taking down bad guys are some of the reasons why these two characters are similar.
We all know how successful the Uncharted franchise has been, so it is exciting to see Indiana Jones in a similar style adventure like the ones we’ve played through as Nathan Drake.
Playing as Indiana, we will have a full view of what makes him great: his wit, his whip, and his knowledge. Those three attributes already make up for an interesting adventure.
One main thing that sets them apart is the time period. Uncharted takes place in a modern setting, while Indiana Jones was in his prime during the 1930s and beyond. Setting alone will transport us to a world we have not seen before in an action/adventure game of this caliber.
Taking the gameplay of Uncharted while mixing in the 1930s setting is going to give us a fascinating adventure where we would only want to play as Indiana Jones.
MachineGames has only worked on the Wolfenstein series since its creation in 2009.
The Wolfenstein reboot series has been praised for its combat, character development, and narrative. Giving MachineGames the opportunity to take on the world of Indiana Jones will not only let it take what it already knows and put it in the game, but push it to create an original story for a beloved character and gameplay that will match.
MachineGames brought Wolfenstein back into the mainstream, and with each installment of the reboot, it proves why it is the only developer that can make this game amazing.
The first thing that stands out is the gunplay. Wolfenstein is a fantastic first-person shooter and the gun mechanics stand out. Each weapon you wield feels amazing and authentic. It will be a big challenge for this team to work on Indiana Jones since he mostly uses his whip for combat.
If you look at Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, you will see a master class in storytelling. The story picks up with BJ at his lowest. He has no strength, he is in a wheelchair, no special abilities, and he definitely isn’t the BJ we are used to playing. Over the course of the game, he slowly gets stronger, and we eventually build BJ back up to where he is supposed to be.
If you pair that story in Wolfenstein II with Indiana Jones, MachineGames will be able to really dig deep on Indiana Jones as a person, instead of the treasure hunter we know.
One last thing I feel MachineGames is fantastic at but will have to step their game up on is world building. Games like the Wolfenstein franchise have explorable environments but that is never prioritized in the story.
When it comes to Indiana Jones, the environment you are walking through needs to feel amazing. There should be little notes and artifacts like there are in Wolfenstein, but to create a whole new world where exploring is one of the biggest aspects of this character; it has to really step up and create something that can be compared to the areas we discover in the Uncharted games.
With the announcement that Todd Howard is going to executive produce this title, we know it will get the same care and attention Bethesda Game Studios titles receive, such as The Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises.
Potential Console Exclusive
Since MachineGames is under the Bethesda umbrella of developers, which Microsoft now owns, it isn’t clear whether this game will be exclusive to Xbox or not.
When the Bethesda deal was announced last year, head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, came out and said that platform exclusivity could vary based on the game. While this does mean bigger titles from Bethesda could potentially release on other consoles, Indiana Jones would be the perfect title to keep in the Xbox ecosystem.
With all the excitement around Indiana Jones, it makes sense for this game to be an exclusive compared to other titles. MachineGames isn’t the biggest star under the Bethesda umbrella. If you take a look at id Software or Bethesda Game Studios, they both have titles that have made a name for themselves in video game history. MachineGames hasn’t reached that atmosphere yet.
If the Wolfenstein franchise sold better and was amazingly received by players, MachineGames could be seen as an elite developer of games. It is possible for Indiana Jones to get them to that threshold of developer status.
If MachineGames was working on Starfield or The Elder Scrolls VI, those games have tremendous hype surrounding them, and could possibly sell and review well, that would bring MachineGames to that next-level status. Even with those exciting games on the way, Microsoft is still a business and would want to make as much money as possible so I don’t think bigger titles like those will only see the light of day on the Xbox consoles.
Last week, I took a look at the future of the Bethesda studios and what they could be working on in the future. Each studio under that umbrella has a project coming out soon, or created a new IP. The only studios that don’t have a confirmed major project going on at the moment are id Software and MachineGames.
id Software launched Doom Eternal in March 2020 and is most likely working on the next installment in that franchise. We aren’t sure if Doom is a trilogy or will just continue to add to the story created with Doom in 2016.
If the next Doom game is the end of the Doom reboot, id Software still has the Quake franchise that Microsoft could bring back in the near future.
Since it’s confirmed that Wolfenstein will conclude with its next game, MachineGames currently doesn’t have any other franchises it could reboot or to which it can add another entry. Microsoft assigning Indiana Jones to MachineGames will give it another franchise it could work on and possibly grow into a series down the road.
Even if it was another franchise besides Indiana Jones that Microsoft wanted to create a game about, given the future slate of projects for MachineGames, it is time the studio was given something to look forward to once the Wolfenstein trilogy concludes.
Indiana Jones could have been in development before Xbox purchased Bethesda in September of last year. Usually for AAA video games, publishers sign a contract with major platforms (Xbox or PlayStation) to give that platform an exclusive launch window, early access to DLC, and much more.
I don’t think that’s the case for this game, however.
The best part of Indiana Jones is that people will compare it to Uncharted, and it would make sense that it would only release on Xbox since Uncharted is a PlayStation exclusive franchise.
Xbox already had the exclusive partnership, for a year, with Square Enix for the second Tomb Raider game, Rise of the Tomb Raider. While there was some success with the new Tomb Raider reboot, it didn’t soar as high as the Uncharted series did with PlayStation.
I don’t think we will see this game on other platforms. Since we don’t know the future of the Uncharted or Tomb Raider franchises, Indiana Jones will be the go-to game for your treasure hunting and puzzle solving fix, and, if it were up to me, it would only be available on Xbox Series X/S, PC, and of course, GamePass.
That is an enticing scenario for players who do not currently own one of the new Xbox systems. Whether they purchase the Series X or the Series S, Indiana Jones will bring the players into the Xbox ecosystem and most likely get them subscribed to GamePass.
Since MachineGames is working on the final installment of the Wolfenstein series, we aren’t sure when that game is coming out, and when Indiana Jones could possibly be released.
Wolfenstein: The New Order released in 2014, with its sequel, The New Colossus, releasing in 2017. It would be easy to believe we could see Wolfenstein III release in the Fall of 2021 or 2022.
With Indiana Jones being announced last week, it isn’t clear how far into development MachineGames actually is or if the studio has a completely separate team working on it. If we receive Wolfenstein III this year, 2026 would be my best guess. That would give Indiana Jones a five-to-six-year development cycle.