The newly announced Indiana Jones game coming from MachineGames is gaining a lot of excitement. There have been a ton of Indiana Jones games released in the past, and while some have certainly been good, none of them have quite had the incredible popularity of the movies. There hasn’t been an Indiana Jones game released in quite some time, either, meaning fans of the characters haven’t seen him for a long time. Heck, there hasn’t even been an Indiana Jones movie released since 2008, and even that was incredibly divisive, though Indiana Jones 5 is currently slated to release in 2022, directed by James Mangold.
That’s not to say nobody has played a game that feels like an Indiana Jones game in a long time. Franchises like Tomb Raider and Uncharted have always captured some of the spirit of Indiana Jones without mimicking him entirely. Interestingly, an Indiana Jones game now could possibly feel like it’s mimicking those game, since it’s been so long since fans have seen Indy.
One thing this game is going to have that those games can’t have is the man himself. Indiana Jones has always had a big personality; his charm and wit make the movies impossible to turn away from. The game shouldn’t really have any problem replicating that, and it’s arguably one of the most important things that the game needs to get right. If Indiana Jones just ends up seeming like a discount Nathan Drake, the rest of the game is going to fall flat.
While it’s unlikely that the game is going to be able to snag Harrison Ford to voice act for Indy in the game, if the voice actor is close enough and is saying things that Indy would say, fans are going to be happy.
An Indiana Jones game has to have some classic globe-trotting. And yes, that includes the dotted line tracking across the map to show where Indy’s headed. If the entire game takes place in one setting, the game could be fantastic, but would likely be a disappointment overall. Part of the charm of Indiana Jones is seeing the world through his eyes; not only is it interesting to see the insight that he has as a professor, but it creates opportunities for interesting scenes. As long as the game has at least three or four distinctly different locations, it should give enough variety to give each section of the game its own feel.
Part of the importance of globe-trotting is that it makes it easier to create a few different awesome set-pieces in different locations. Indiana Jones always has some nutty set-pieces that, whether they go too far or not, are unforgettable. Those kinds of set-pieces are crucial to this style of game; Tomb Raider and Uncharted are both masterclasses in creating this kind of set-piece, and the upcoming Indiana Jones game is going to have to at least match those in order to keep its footing.
MachineGames track record with cool set-pieces is pretty strong. The Wolfenstein games have plenty of moments unlike anything else. If it manages to translate that into some unforgettable moments with Indy, fans will be eternally grateful.
Almost everybody who goes into an Indiana Jones movie learns something on the way. That said, Indy doesn’t know everything, and sometimes he’s presented with information that he needs to make sense of in real-time. In a game, that’s easy enough to do; there are billions of puzzle games or escape room games that do this beautifully.
Make the relevant information historical, and create a puzzle with it. Once again, the Uncharted series and the Tomb Raider series are full of these, and they mostly do a great job with it. Actually making players step into the shoes of Indy and having them figure something out themselves would be a really cool step towards immersing players in the fantasy of being Indiana Jones. After all, that’s the point of making an Indiana Jones game instead of making an Indiana Jones movie.
Indiana Jones has always had an interesting cast of characters in the background. Sometimes these characters are on Indy’s side, sometimes they’re not on Indy’s side, and sometimes they’re decidedly somewhere in between. Regardless, all of them add to the world Indiana Jones is in. These aren’t nameless, faceless characters, these are characters that all have a lot of personality, and it’s always a blast seeing that personality bounce off of Indy’s own. In order for this game to land with the right feel, there’s going to need to be a sizeable cast of characters that are fun to have on-screen.
Lastly, the one thing that unifies 90% of video games out there: combat. An Indiana Jones video game is going to include combat, and that combat is, likely, going to have to be a little bit over the top. Looking at the history of MachineGames in the Wolfenstein series, it’s already well-versed in creating some over-the-top combat. (Heck, they might even be able to keep the Nazis. Indy loves punching Nazis.)
Indy’s trusty bullwhip will undoubtedly have to make an appearance, considering how iconic it is. It’s not confirmed whether or not the game will be from a first-person perspective or a third-person one, though considering the developers involved, first-person would make a lot of sense, even if it’s against the norms for a game based on a movie franchise.
While some gun combat is likely, there’s also a lot of fighting in the Indiana Jones movies that doesn’t involve guns at all. There are a lot of fistfights or a lot of times that Indy is engaged with people who have him severely outgunned. Hand-to-hand combat in this game is going to have to be satisfying, and it would be preferable if it was just as relevant as gun combat; it would differentiate this game from others like it, and it would make it feel much more Indiana Jones.
All in all, fans seem incredibly excited to see Indy back in action. MachineGames seem like the perfect developers for an Indiana Jones game, and anticipation is going to be high up until release.
MachineGames’ Indiana Jones game is currently in development.