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Xbox’s Indiana Jones game isn’t as linear as it first seems

With “open-area maps” to explore, Xbox’s Indiana Jones and the Great Circle is much less linear than the Developer Direct made it look.

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle maps open areas: Indiana Jones looking over his left shoulder towards the camera. To the left is an Xbox logo and on the right is an old map with three gold stars of varying sizes.

The newly-named Indiana Jones and the Great Circle stole the show at the Xbox Developer Direct, revealing its surprising blend of first and third-person perspective, plenty of action, and finally revealing who was portraying the iconic whip-wielding archaeologist. However, there were some exciting details that were left out of the presentation, most importantly that the Indiana Jones game will feature “open-area maps” alongside more linear gameplay.

Xbox has undoubtedly bagged one of the most anticipated games with Indiana Jones and the Great Circle being an Xbox exclusive. Although it is missing this one core element of the franchise, the masterminds at MachineGames have one of the most promising new Xbox games on the way, and these hidden details only make it more exciting.

Revealed on the official Indiana Jones and the Great Circle website, players will be able to explore “a dynamic mix of linear, narrative-driven gameplay and open-area maps”. That’s right, while the gameplay trailer largely focused on the more linear and explosive set-piece moments like leaping between planes mid-air, there will also be much larger environments to explore.

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle maps open areas: Indiana Jones riding a zipline above a city at night.

With this knowledge in mind, it looks as though we get a brief glimpse of one of these areas midway through the gameplay trailer, seeing Indy riding a zipline over a city. While we don’t expect the whole city to be accessible, these open-area maps allude to small zones that you can explore before moving on to the next section.

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle maps open areas: Indiana Jones sailing a small boat into a lake with a large overgrown temple at its center.

The trailer also showcases a more wild environment with Indy sailing a boat towards a temple in the distance. Ironically, this echoes a moment in the PS5 exclusive God of War when Kratos first finds the elven kingdom, where you can leave the boat to explore small nearby beaches. We may be able to do a similar thing in Indy, hopping out of the boat to take a look around and hunt for treasure as any archaeologist would.

The page goes on to explain that you will be able to “unearth a world of fascinating secrets” while avoiding traps and solving puzzles, likely pointing towards optional treasure, collectibles, and secrets to find for going off the beaten path. In many ways, this seems reflective of the approach used in Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4, which featured a handful of much larger explorable areas in between the linear and cinematic moments the series is known for.

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While the site doesn’t expand any further upon the open-area concept, it does tease some of the many exciting locations Indy will be traveling to in his next globe-trotting adventure. From the homely Marshall College in Connecticut, he’ll be exploring the Vatican City, the pyramids of Egypt, the sunken temples of Sukhothai, and even the ice-cold Himalayas. Evidently, there’s no shortage of thrilling adventures in store – it is Indiana Jones, after all.

For more Xbox news following the Developer Direct, take a look at how Obsidian Entertainment’s Avowed solves one of Skyrim’s biggest flaws before falling in love with this stunning Avowed Xbox Series X wrap. If you’re looking for new ways to play, it’s worth checking out the new Microsoft Rewards upgrade for Xbox. Play it smart and you could even get some Xbox Store credit to put towards Indy.