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As with Redfall, MachineGames' incoming Indiana Jones game was meant to be fully multiplatform before Microsoft elected to make it just for Xbox and PC.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 22, 2023

3 Min Read
Image of Indiana Jones' whip in MachineGames' untitled game.

Bethesda confirmed its Indiana Jones game won't have a PlayStation 5 version, though it did exist at one point. According to Bethesda's Pete Hines, that version of the incoming title was killed after Microsoft acquired Bethesda in 2020. 

In today's trial with the FTC to defend its merger with Activision Blizzard, Hines acknowledged that Disney originally conscripted MachineGames to develop a multiplatform game based on the films. However, that deal was amended after the aforementioned acquisition, and it will now release strictly on Xbox, console-wise. 

Hines explained that he was told by Xbox's Phil Spencer that the title was amended as a way of "reducing risk and trying to get a degree of clarity." 

Since Disney is involved in the game's development, that changes how the game is made, which he said would've added "a ton of time" to the project. He noted that when it comes to licensed games, a developer may not have full control as they would with their own property.

"You don't get to take as long as you want," explained Hines. "You have a window of time in which you’re going to release a game, you immediately have a clock that’s ticking on you."

His words echo that of Liquid Swords' Christofer Sundberg. When he was still at Avalanche Software, the studio was approached to make an Iron Man game, and said a short development time would've ultimately ruined the studio had it not been canceled.

Given that the Indiana Jones game was revealed in 2021 and a new movie is set to come out next week, there's some merit given to both Sundberg and Hines' words. 

Why Xbox's exclusive talk matters so much right now

The Indiana Jones game is the second confirmed Bethesda title that had its PlayStation version canceled before release. Earlier in the year, Arkane's Harvey Smith revealed that a PS5 version of Redfall was in the works, and subsequently killed in order to make it an Xbox console exclusive. 

Concerns about what games Microsoft will lock off from acquired studios have existed for some time. The Xbox maker has heavily touted Redfall, along with Bethesda's September game Starfieldas big Xbox exclusives. 

Microsoft has previously said it would figure out what Bethesda titles were exclusive on a game-by-game basis. But there's a notable difference between determining what should be an exclusive and actively killing a version of a game that was already planned to come to another console. 

For the FTC in particular, that kind of handling sends the message that Activision Blizzard titles will be similarly gated in some fashion. 

At time of writing, two other Bethesda games are caught up in the exclusive debate. One of them is The Elder Scrolls VIwhich Microsoft indicated last year may be isolated to Xbox and PC. 

The other game is Obsidian Entertainment's The Outer Worlds 2. During the current trial, Xbox Game Studios' Matt Booty acknowledged that a decision "has not yet been made" regarding that game's exclusivity. He added that Microsoft tends to commit to multiplatform for communities of pre-existing franchises. 

With that said, it could mean anything from a same day release on Xbox and PS5 for The Outer Worlds 2, or a timed exclusivity window, similar to what happened with Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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