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Bethesda’s Indiana Jones game is an Xbox console exclusive

Deal with Disney was initially for multiple platforms, but changed after Microsoft acquisition

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones removing an artifact from a pedestal in Raiders of the Lost Ark Image: Paramount Home Entertainment
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Bethesda Softworks’ upcoming Indiana Jones game is exclusive to Xbox consoles and PC, head of publishing Pete Hines said during the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard Federal Trade Commission hearing on Thursday. The game is also expected to be available at release on Xbox Game Pass.

Bethesda announced the project’s development in 2021, just months after Microsoft announced its acquisition of ZeniMax Media (of which Bethesda is under) in a $7.5 billion deal. That deal with was finalized in March 2021. Machinegames, responsible for the most recent Wolfenstein games, is developing the game under Disney’s Lucasfilm Games label. No release timing or platform information were given at that time. The new details on Indiana Jones’ platform exclusivity were revealed during Hines’ testimony in San Francisco court.

Hines revealed that ZeniMax’s original agreement with Disney would have put the Indiana Jones game on multiple consoles. After Microsoft’s acquisition of ZeniMax was announced, Disney had “questions” regarding console exclusivity, despite the signed agreement, the FTC lawyer added. The contract was later amended to make Indiana Jones an Xbox exclusive, Hines confirmed.

Hines later added that Bethesda signed the agreement with Disney before the Microsoft acquisition. He said that Bethesda was an independent publisher that “couldn’t afford to miss” while it “fighting publishers that are multiple times larger.” He confirmed that Disney wanted the reach to be “as large as possible,” and that Bethesda felt it had to meet that need.

After the Microsoft acquisition, that changed. Hines said there were several different reasons for that change — including the idea of how many players it would bring to Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft and Bethesda are also looking to “reduce risk” around meeting the demands of the licensor. Hines related this back to a topic he discussed earlier regarding the “irresponsibly large game” where Bethesda was benefited by being able to support the game on fewer platforms.

Last year, Todd Howard, who will executive produce the game, called the Indiana Jones game a “bucket list” project. The film franchise’s popularity is undeniable, but there’s been little as of late in the way of Indiana Jones video games, save the Lego adaptations, the last of which was released in 2009. That same year, Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings was released on Wii and PlayStation 2.

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