It isn’t uncommon these days for game developers to leave little teases and hints about upcoming releases or announcements within other promotional images and videos. However, while this may have been the case in the past for developers like Cory Barlog with God of War, it doesn’t seem like this was the case with Bethesda’s recent reveal for an Indiana Jones title coming from MachineGames.
This “tease” was quickly tracked down by fans looking to see if there was some hidden symbol that they missed, buried under hours of footage and promotional material. Players have found developers being sneaky with their backdrops and office decorations before, so it didn’t seem so far fetched that some Indiana Jones memorabilia must have had some hidden meaning.
The theory originally came from fans revisiting the Zoom conversations Geoff Keighley hosted with industry icons, including Bethesda’s Todd Howard. In this industry talk, some viewers noticed that Howard had an Indiana Jones related item sitting in the background of his shot, specifically the Ark of the Covenant from the first movie. This led many fans to rush over to pictures and the video from November 2020 to “confirm” that this item set up on the shelf must have been a cheeky way to hint that Bethesda is now publishing an Indiana Jones game.
Unfortunately for the viewers intrigued by the idea of seeing an interconnected series of small decoration decisions leading up to a big reveal, Bethesda Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications Pete Hines revealed it not to be planned. The much simpler answer that Hines offers is that Howard is simply a lifelong fan of Indiana Jones, one of the most popular film series of the last century. So, while players can still be excited about Bethesda’s upcoming Indiana Jones title being made by a developer known for letting players punch and shoot Nazis, there is no interconnected marketing going on.
These community investigations, finding an Ark of the Covenant on Todd Howard’s bookshelf, can be really fun to participate in for fans who are stuck scrambling after being primed by an engaging teaser. However, it isn’t uncommon for viewers to run into red herrings during these searches, similar to how Smash Ultimate fans convinced themselves that two chairs in Masahiro Sakurai’s office was a “tease” for a Waluigi reveal. So, while the hype for this Indiana Jones game is real and warranted, sometimes a prop on a shelf is just that – a prop on a shelf.
An untitled Indiana Jones title is currently in development by MachineGames.