We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

I want Bethesda to use the best Indiana Jones movie as a blueprint

With Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny hitting theatres soon, I need Bethesda to use the best Indy movie as a foundation for its Xbox Indiana Jones game.

Bethesda Indiana Jones Game Machine Games

When I sat down in an old seaside theatre for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008, my 12-year-old self never expected that Indiana Jones would get another decent gaming outing. Yet, here we are with the upcoming Indiana Jones game from Wolfenstein developer Machine Games, which is now reportedly an Xbox exclusive. As Harrison Ford prepares to hang up the whip and fedora in the Dial of Destiny, I want Bethesda takes inspiration from the best Indiana Jones movie for its narrative.

Of course, that movie is 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Darker, scarier, and more aggressive than its predecessor, Temple of Doom has conjured up a divisive place within the Indy pantheon – sometimes rivaling Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, depending on who you speak to in the fandom. The same magical prowess that only Steven Spielberg can wield is still present, but Temple of Doom’s story champions a concept that was yet to evolve as it has in modern cinema: the idea of a prequel.

Temple of Doom isn’t the first prequel ever, but it is one of the first to emerge decades after the actual first prequel ever made, 1920’s The Golem: How He Came Into The World. Machine Games is in an interesting position because excluding a wealth of novels, Indy’s gaming adventures only span back canonically to 1917/1918 with the 1994 Sega Genesis title Instrument of Chaos starring Young Indiana Jones. Rolls off the tongue that one. Following that we have the excellent The Emperor’s Tomb, which then brings us back to Temple of Doom.

YouTube Thumbnail

The first trailer for Machine Games’ Indy adventure places it in 1937, according to a plane ticket to Rome, but there is a chance to interact with the character like never before. Shows like The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles allowed us to watch a youthful Indy discover himself and his knack for globetrotting, but Machine Games should take a page from the Uncharted book and let us play through Indy’s younger years. Indy might not be much younger in Temple of Doom, but there’s a quality to the character that feels more rugged compared to the iconic entrance he makes in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Indy’s relationships are so vast over the character’s life, stacking up a captivating gallery of friends and foes in every corner of the globe. I’m not looking for the Indiana Jones origin story, but I am looking to explore the character’s past. The beauty of Uncharted 4’s flashback sequences was in the reinforcement of Nathan’s bond with his brother Samuel ‘Sam’ Drake. Just like Indy and his father, Henry Jones Sr., there’s a nuanced complexity that ultimately gives way to a poignant exploration of love, trust, and maturity.

The forthcoming Indiana Jones game is set a year before the events of The Last Crusade, lending it another advantage emotionally. Indy and Henry had been estranged for the better part of 19 years in Indiana Jones lore until this point, so to see how Indy remissness about his before reconnecting with him for one more adventure is an easy way to respect the franchise’s past without blatant fan service.

YouTube Thumbnail

It isn’t just narrative beats that Machine Games needs to tap into, though. As long as we steer away from swinging on vines or surviving nuclear blasts, It’d be a delight to see the developer extract Spielberg’s horror-laden touch that Temple of Doom deploys. Coming off the back of Poltergeist, in which he collaborated with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre director Tobe Hooper, a meaner streak can be observed in Temple of Doom’s direction.

Voodoo, hearts ripped out of chests, and harder violence make it a tougher experience than any other Indy movie – so let us see that in gameplay too.

With a license to meld action, horror, and fantasy together, the creative license of Indiana Jones is vast. Machine Games’ past with the Wolfenstein franchise makes them a superb candidate to execute these aforementioned elements well. The studio has explored alternative timelines and bizarre villains before. One thing has to be made clear though – make it third-person. If I can’t see (what I presume to be) Harrison Ford’s face after shooting an idiotic henchman with a revolver, I’m not interested.

An Indiana Jones game utilizing current hardware has the potential to be one of the best Xbox Series X games around, and in lieu of the canceled title using GTA 4‘s physics engine, I’m more than ready to put on the fedora for another round of fortune and glory.

In the meantime, if you want to know how the latest Indiana Jones movie shapes up, our friends at The Digital Fix have all you need to know with this Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny review.