10 Things We’ve Learned About Indiana Jones and the Great Circle

Three years ago, Bethesda announced that Wolfenstein studio MachineGames was working on a new Indiana Jones game, based on a story concocted by Todd Howard of Elder Scrolls and Fallout fame, who was also set to act as executive producer on the game. Recently, at Microsoft’s second annual Xbox Developer_Direct, the game was officially unveiled as Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, and along with a fair amount of in-game and gameplay footage, substantial details on the game have also been revealed. Here, we’re going to go over a few of those key tidbits.


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Indiana Jones and the Great Circle is set in the year 1937, smack dab in the middle of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade, the first and third Indiana Jones films respectively. The game kicks off with Indy working his regular job as a professor at Marshall College, when the peace and quiet of the night is shattered by a thief breaking into the college’s museum. The mysterious, hulking brute of a thief takes off with a stolen artefact that seemingly has no mysterious value, but ends up connecting to the mystery of the Great Circle. The globe-trotting adventure that follows takes the famous archaeologist all over the world, from the Vatican and the Himalayas to Egypt and Thailand.


One question that’s perhaps been asked more often than most others ever since it was confirmed that MachineGames was working on an Indiana Jones game is whether it would be first-person or third-person. The former is what MachineGames has always been known for, but the latter is what many would expect from an action-adventure game based on an IP such as Indiana Jones. As it turns out, MachineGames is sticking to its guns. Indiana Jones and the Great Circle will be a primarily first-person experience, though third-person elements will be sprinkled in here and there. Cutscenes, for instance, will not be first-person, while certain gameplay sections – like environmental traversal – will also see the camera being pulled back.


indiana jones and the great circle

Combat is something MachineGames has always excelled at in its games, but what can we expect from The Great Circle? Well, this being an Indiana Jones game, the combat is going to be less focused on gunplay (though it won’t be totally absent) than what you’d ordinarily expect from a MachineGames joint. In an interview published on the official LucasArts website, game director Jerk Gustafsson describes combat in The Great Circle as “grounded and heavy”, with emphasis being placed on hand-to-hand combat and improvising on the fly- like picking up a clay jar and smashing it into an enemy’s face. And, of course, Indy’s iconic whip is also going to be a major factor.


Indy’s whip has ever been the greatest and most useful tool at his disposal, and it seems that will continue to be the case in Indiana Jones and the Great Circle. According to MachineGames, the whip will be highly multifunctional and, as such, is going to be integrated into all parts of the gameplay experience, from combat to traversal to even stealth, where it can be used to distract enemies. Interestingly enough, game director Jerk Gustafsson has also confirmed that the whip is going to be “fully simulated”, which, according to him, “made it challenging from a technical perspective”, but ends up giving it a more “gritty and realistic feel”.


indiana jones and the great circle

Indiana Jones has never been the sort of action hero who goes into firefights all-guns blazing, Rambo style, and often makes use of stealthier strategies. As you’d expect, that will work its way into The Great Circle’s gameplay as well. When faced with potential combat encounters, players will have the option to find ways to distract enemies, sneak past them, dispatch them quietly, and what have you. How heavily stealth will be emphasized as compared to other aspects of the experience remains to be seen, but based on what MachineGames has said so far, it looks like it’ll be one of three core pillars for the gameplay experience, alongside combat and puzzles. Speaking of which…


Indiana Jones has been unraveling clues and solving puzzles on archaeological romps since before the Lara Crofts and Nathan Drakes of the world even existed, so naturally, puzzles are going to be an important part of Indiana Jones and the Great Circle. According to MachineGames, in fact, puzzles will be a “key” part of the experience, and will be central to how the game builds a sense of discovery, something that’s crucial in any Indy story. Meanwhile, you can also expect plenty of optional puzzles in the game. MachineGames describes these as “epic traps, small secrets, and hidden puzzles that blend right in with their surroundings.” During the Developer_Direct presentation, Rebecca Elfström Hidén also added, “One thing I love about our game is the level of interactivity that we have. We have this world of mystery where anything could potentially hide a secret. The more you look, the more you’ll discover.”


indiana jones and the great circle

Something in particular that MachineGames has revealed about Indiana Jones and the Great Circle that’s piqued our curiosity is the fact that it’s going to be much less scripted than many may have expected (though it does look like there will still be plenty of explosive, scripted set piece moments as well). Player choice during gameplay is being emphasized quite a bit, with the game making use of immersive sim elements in allowing players to deal with situations in a variety of ways.

Audio director Pete Ward said during the Developer_Direct, “Sure, there will be some obstacles that will be more easily overcome with the revolver or a gun taken from a disarmed guard, but I think most of the time you’ll have more fun – and, to be honest, a more genuine Indy experience – by finding more clever ways to solve a problem.”

Senior lighting artist Juli Haraldsdottir added, “We always want to be offering, whether it’s trying a different path through the environment to get around enemies, observing enemy patrols and using them to your advantage, or using the tools at your disposal, like the whip.”


Indiana Jones himself is obviously going to be at the center of everything in Indiana Jones and the Great Circle (shocker, right?), but MachineGames has also revealed a couple of other characters who will have an important role to play in the series. There’s Gina Lombardi, an investigative reporter who is described as the secondary protagonist of the game. With a personal stake in getting to the bottom of the story’s central mystery, Gina will serve as Indy’s main companion. Then there’s Emmerich Voss, the game’s primary antagonist, who, according to MachineGames, is “an intensely psychological man” who’s “obsessed with the human mind and manipulating it”.


indiana jones and the great circle

Who will play Indiana Jones? That’s a question that we’ve all asked more than a few times these last couple of years, and now we finally have an answer. It’s no surprise that Harrison Ford’s likeness is being used in the game, and at the same time, it’s also no surprise that Ford himself isn’t playing the titular role, with Troy Baker instead stepping into the professor’s shoes. Meanwhile, Alessandra Mastronardi (known for To Rome with Love and Master of None) will play Gina Lombardi, while Emmerich Voss will be played by Marios Gavrilis. Tony Todd – who also voiced Venom in last year’s Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 – is playing Locus, the giant of a thief who crosses paths with Indy early on in the game.


When MachineGames’ Indiana Jones title was confirmed to be in development three years ago, Bethesda said at the time that the game was in the very early stages of production. Given that, many understandably assumed that it was still a ways off from launch, but as it turns out, true to recent leaks, Indiana Jones and the Great Circle is set to launch later this year. An exact release date has yet to be confirmed, but as expected, it will release exclusively for Xbox Series X/S and PC, and will also be available on Game Pass at launch, as all first party Microsoft games always are.

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