At the time, our German sales revenues were higher than our domestic revenue, so this market was very important. I remember that with the Indy games, we would have the artists go through the German version and remove the swastikas and replace them with iron crosses, which were OK. Technically the games could be sold, but effectively under the counter. They couldn’t do displays or advertise the products. After months of trying to get anything resembling decent artwork out of the development team in Montreal, this was just the last nail in the project’s coffin."
- Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix project lead Aric Wilmunder, explaining what would finally doom the struggled game.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is often regarded as one of LucasArts' strongest adventure games from the 1990s. One of the many creations born of the legendary SCUMM engine, the game itself promised that Indiana Jones would return in a sequel that never materialized, but LucasArts fansite The International House of Mojo (also known as Mixnmojo) has dug up details on what that sequel might have been.
Speaking with multiple members of the development team for Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix, Mixnmojo’s Jason tells the story of how and why the Fate of Atlantis sequel didn’t make it out of development. It's worth a read if you're interested in a historical look at the LucasArts production process, and how animation struggles can hinder a project just as much as code or engine trouble.
As a bonus, Mixnmojo has uploaded the design document for Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix to their site, which gives a peek into the design process for both the story and puzzles of LucasArts' '90s adventure games.
Despite LucasArts’ success with Fate of Atlantis, Iron Phoenix was plagued by production struggles and a need to save the struggling sister game The Dig before being felled by an inability to properly localize a game about Nazis for the German market.
The country’s longstanding ban on the depiction of Nazi memorabilia (especially among ‘toys,’ which video games fall under in the guidelines) ultimately clashed with the economic fact that LucasArts’ adventure games were doing gangbusters in Germany.
Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix was eventually reworked into a comic from publisher Dark Horse, but developer Aric Wilmunder says its ending differed from what was planned for the game.