Bethesda recently announced they will be teaming up with MachineGames to create an Indiana Jones game which will be developed under the newly-established banner of Lucasfilm Games. The announcement came with a 30-second teaser that was scattered with little details, but provided no official preview for what the game would look like. The teaser pans across a table riddled with items that Jones most likely uses before seeking out an adventure. Although there are only a few items shown in the short trailer, they were made purposefully cryptic as a way to clue us in on what Indiana Jones might be getting himself into.
The brief teaser initially starts with a clear view of a number of books stacked on top of one another with their titles clearly exposed. It is safe to assume that these books are pseudo-resources here as one of the authors listed is none other than Bethesda CEO Todd Howard. But the book titles may still provide some clues.
The first book is called “Forbidden Stones.” This is most likely a reference to the Sankara Stones which played a huge role in Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom in which Indy is tasked with retrieving the sacred stones in order to save a small village from which they were stolen from. Sankara is another name for Shiva, the soul of the universe in Hindu tradition. The stones are not directly connected to Hindu mythology but are more a part of the lore of the Indiana Jones franchise.
The next book is titled “Myths That Made Us Volume 1: Mesopotamia.” The ancient region known as Mesopotamia resided in Western Asia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It is believed that this area was inhabited by the very first civilizations. The oldest recording of any language is the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem that provides some insight into the lives of ancient Mesopotamia. It is possible Jones is seeking ancient artifacts which come from this region.
The last book we’re able to get a clear view of is titled “Ancient Circles: Jubilee.” Everyone should be familiar with prehistoric circles like Stonehenge and the intrinsic mystery about them. However, the tagline for this book further adds to the mystery. In Jewish tradition, Jubilee is the end of seven cycles of Sabbatical years, which would fall on the 50th year on the Sabbatical calendar. The Jubilee year required biblical regulations which affected the ownership of land in the Land of Israel. Mesopotamia was located along the Fertile Crescent which contains modern day Israel, which means that the books can relate to one another.
To the bottom left of the book collection resides a coffee mug with the crest of Marshall College, where Dr. Jones taught as a professor of archaeology. Right above the mug is a sketch of the Golden Idol from the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Another sketch next to the Golden Idol is that of a temple with the words “Ziggurat clue?” written in the header. This serves as a reference to the game Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine in which the first level takes place in a Babylonian Ziggurat known as Etemenanki. Ziggurats are ancient temples from, you guessed it, Mesopotamia.
There is also a note below the coffee mug mentioning “Pyramids Giza Necropolis.” This is an obvious reference to the Pyramids complex in Cairo, where Jones had traveled to previously to find the Ark of the Covenant in the first installment of the film franchise. These subtle hints take care of the type of artifacts Jones will be on the search for.
The next batch of clues the camera pans over to provides some hints for the setting of the game. The standout detail in this image is the orange plane ticket for Rome dated for October 21, 1937. If this is a current ticket, that means that the timeline for the game lies in between Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade. The Bethesda-stamped passport has Indy’s birth name (Henry Jones), his birthdate (July 1, 1899), and the reasons for traveling (for purposes of Research and Education in the field of Archaeology).
The leather diary next to the passport and the plane ticket bears some slight resemblance to the Grail Diary which Jones’ father possessed which detailed his findings on the Holy Grail. But since this game most likely takes place before The Last Crusade, it’s probably a different diary altogether.
Underneath all of these items lies the map of Vatican City, Rome. The Apostolic palace has a question mark penciled in over it while a big X is marked on the Belvedere Courtyard, which contains the library of the Holy See. The Vatican contains a plentiful amount of artifacts, treasures, and documents which will keep Dr. Jones busy.
Next we get a glimpse of some machinery that namedrops the other companies involved with the project. The typewriter branded with MachineGames has a note with some legible writing on it which states “Father B-. Let me start … thank you for taking your time to help me … with this written request … I will be arriving in Rome … I have been informed that your contact will be waiting.”
It is worth mentioning that MachineGames is the studio responsible for the most recent Wolfenstein games. Considering that a 1930s setting implies a fascist Italy, we should expect some good altercations with Nazi scum.
Above the LucasFilm Games-branded camera is a dossier, most likely from the United States government since they worked with Jones by the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The final shot, before cutting to black, reveals the trademark fedora and whip which turns professor Henry Jones Jr. into the badass adventurer Indiana Jones. And that’s it. No release and no official title. With all of its cryptic messages, the trailer was able to supply sufficient detail in a short amount of time. It is possible that with the announcement of a fifth Indiana Jones movie, the game will be released in conjunction with the film’s premiere.
Our fingers are crossed hoping Harrison Ford will not only reprise his iconic role in the movie, but also in the game. It’s hard to imagine Ford would be willing to wear a skin-tight motion capture suit but I imagine, just like with Star Wars and Bladerunner, if he gets cut the right check he’ll show up.