Indiana Jones is the Xbox exclusive Microsoft desperately needed
After many missteps, Indiana Jones could be the smash hit Xbox fans have been waiting for
Indiana Jones and the Great Circle marked a triumphant end to Microsoft's jam-packed Xbox Developer_Direct for 2024, which included a long-awaited release date for Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 and a closer look at the combat in Avowed.
And while it was fantastic to see a healthy release slate for upcoming Xbox exclusives (something which has been noticeably absent in recent years), the new Indiana Jones game was comfortably the star of the show.
From the impressive reveal that showed Harrison Ford's rugged likeness to the rousing orchestral score that captures the essence of the movies, developer MachineGames has nailed the basics – something that’s easier said than done when handling a beloved IP.
The Shortcut is an ad-free, reader-supported publication. To receive exclusive content and our weekly newsletter, please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber to support our work. ❤️
Indiana Jones and the Great Circle looks like the type of top-tier, cinematic experience that Xbox gamers have been longing for. And with Indiana Jones, Microsoft finally has a cultural phenomenon with global appeal at its disposal instead of just Halo’s Master Chief or Gears of War’s Marcus Fenix for the umpteenth time.
Indiana Jones isn't a new IP that needs to be explained to a newcomer or another drawn-out sequel that struggles to convince players it’s better than the original. Indy is an IP that not only provides the perfect source material for a great video game to be built upon, but it markets itself. Just look at the success of Hogwart’s Legacy as a recent example.
Obviously, the Indiana Jones brand isn't the powerhouse it once was – the recent films have been terrible, to put it nicely. But judging from what we’ve seen so far, it appears the team at MachineGames understood the brief of what Indy is supposed to be unlike the recent, disastrous Hollywood outings.
Fortune and glory, kid
Indiana and the Great Circle looks the part, then, and has wide-ranging appeal. But what excites me most about the game is how things will play out from a first-person perspective. It's a bold choice and one that was always going to split opinion.
A third-person perspective seems like a better fit for an Indy game, admittedly. But it would have inevitably drawn unfavorable comparisons to the Uncharted series. And that's a fight that Indiana Jones would have been unlikely to win.
A first-person perspective offers something different. Puzzle-solving, combat, and exploring the game's detailed environments should feel more impactful and fresh when experienced through Indy’s eyes.
As MachineGames design director Jens Andersson puts it: “Since we are doing this mostly in first-person, you have the chance to truly become Indy. First-person makes you part of this world – allowing you to explore and experience things more intimately.” Sign me up.
Microsoft has been crying out for a blockbuster video game adaption to rival the likes of Sony's imperious Spider-Man partnership. And I think they may have finally found it in the whip-swinging, wise-cracking Indy.