Key TakeawaysBethesda Softworks makes a big splash to start 2021 with everyone's favorite adventurer. Gamers trust that Bethesda is the right home for Indiana Jones. The new game has a lot to live up to. Sunset Boulevard / Getty Images
Indiana Jones' return to gaming is not just for nostalgic fans; with developers who know what they are doing, the new game could bring a whole bunch of new fans to the franchise.
Bethesda Softworks announced last week that a new original story with the fictional archaeologist and famed explorer, Indiana Jones, is in the works. It's news that came as a surprise to many, and leaves fans hoping the studio that brought them Wolfenstein and Fallout will be the perfect home for Indy.
While details on the game are scarce, longtime gamers expect it to have the same kind of high-quality and expansive open world that Bethesda is known for. Except this time, you'll be playing with a whip and fedora.
"When I saw the announcement a little smile formed on my face," Jeff Brady, founder of gaming news site Set Ready Game, said in an email to Ach5.
"It was one of those moments where you didn't really know that you wanted something until you actually hear it. Bethesda has made some of my favorite open world games of all time, and to hear they will be making a series of games based on movies I grew up with was a very pleasant surprise."
Indiana Jones, Bethesda Style
Some of Bethesda's franchises over the years have included The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, DOOM, Quake, Wolfenstein, and Dishonored. And soon you'll be able to add Indiana Jones to the list.
"Bethesda will inevitably place its own creative stamp on the franchise."
"It will be interesting to see how they define the game from other action-adventure titles such as Uncharted, as they share very similar themes," Brady said. "I think everyone should be excited... Bethesda has essentially defined the genre of open world RPG with the Fallout series and of course The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, constantly referred to as the greatest RPG of all-time."
Brady wasn't sure whether Bethesda would stick with their RPG formula or dip into a more linear story-telling adventure, but was excited to see it either way.
"Indiana Jones, like Star Wars, is one of those franchises that is deep-seated in a lot of people's hearts which makes them kind of timeless," Brady said.
MachineGames, a Bethesda sister studio, will be developing the game, and after the success of Wolfenstein, a first-person shooter game set in World War II, it could be the perfect home for the new Indiana Jones tale. The new game will tell a completely original standalone story set at the height of the famed adventurer's career, Lucas Film Games reports.
After the success of the Uncharted series, developed by Naughty Dog and produced by Sony for PlayStation, Indiana Jones may already have a hungry fanbase for adventure games.
Uncharted follows treasure hunter Nathan Drake through four games, one of which was named one of the best 10 games of the decade. "It will be interesting to see how they define the game from other action-adventure titles such as Uncharted, as they share very similar themes," Brady admitted.
Uncharted, quite conversely to Indiana Jones, started as a video game and will be heading to the movie theaters after its successful run. Indiana Jones, on the other hand, was first seen in the film Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1982, before making his video game debut. Jones will be heading back to theaters after a long hiatus in Indiana Jones 5, expected to be released in 2022.
Expectations High for Indy
University of Connecticut professor Robert Bird has been a lifelong gamer and always expects a strong storyline and good graphics from Bethesda.
"Bethesda Games is known for their quality products, games like Fallout show what they can produce. Bethesda is also known, unfortunately, for publishing games that need some patching in the days and weeks afterward," he said in an email to Ach5.
Despite some concerns about bugs and other issues when the game is first released, Bird thinks Indiana Jones has found a great new home. "The Indiana Jones franchise offers a vibrant and exciting world with plenty of opportunities for new stories," he explained. "This is the kind of environment where Bethesda thrives."
It's been theorized that the game will be taking place in the 1930s, due to clues in the trailer. And fans have been working overtime to decipher more possible details about the game. Freelance journalist Jordan Oloman wrote on twitter that it looks like the Indiana Jones project is "set in Vatican City in October 1937, at least for some part of it."
Indiana Jones entered the video game world in 1982 with the Atari game Raiders of the Lost Ark, long before Xboxes or PlayStations. But gamers couldn't play as Indiana Jones on the computer until Indiana Jones and the Revenge of the Ancients came out in 1987.
In total, over 20 Indiana Jones games have come out since 1982, most recently, LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues, in 2009.
Considered an all-time classic among the point-and-click adventure games of the '90s, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is atop most lists for the best Indiana Jones game ever. Adventure Gamers named it the 11th best adventure game of all-time.
Where the new game will fit in with this all-time classic remains to be seen. "What Bethesda makes may not necessarily satisfy the demands of a franchise purist," Bird added.
"Bethesda will inevitably place its own creative stamp on the franchise. However, we can be reasonably confident that whatever Bethesda produces will be a high-quality game for a mass market."