Bethesda's upcoming Indiana Jones game will only be available on Xbox and PC

Indiana Jones
(Image credit: Bethesda Softworks)

Back at the start of 2021, Bethesda and MachineGames announced that they're working on an all-new Indiana Jones game. We haven't heard much about it since, but during the ongoing hearing into the FTC's objection to Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it came to light that the game will be exclusive to Xbox and PC.

What makes the situation especially interesting is that Bethesda had originally planned the Indiana Jones game as a multiplatform release. But that changed several months after the announcement, when Microsoft acquired Bethesda, at which point it was made an Xbox console exclusive. As reported by IGN, Bethesda head of publishing Pete Hines said the decision was made to reduce risk and get a "degree of clarity" from Disney, which licensed the rights to make the game to Bethesda.

"You’re dealing with a licensor who is giving a ton of feedback on what you’re making, is going to add a ton of time to your scheduling, these agreements, you don’t get to take as long as you want, 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," Hines said.

In other words, Bethesda doesn't have total control over the Indiana Jones games—it's beholden to Disney—and simplifying and streamlining the development process by dropping a platform makes it much easier to accommodate those external demands. 

The Indiana Jones game isn't the only one to switch from multiplatform to console exclusive following Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda. The same fate befell Redfall: Arkane Austin studio head Harvey Smith told IGN France (via Google Translate) in March that dropping the planned PlayStation 5 version of the game was "a good decision," because it meant "one less platform to worry about, one less complexity."

Of course, making console-exclusive games is ultimately more about making your platform look good than making development easier, but it's probably in Microsoft's better interest to steer clear of that distinction during this hearing. Cutting off the development of PlayStation games probably isn't the sort of thing that Microsoft wants regulators to be hearing too much about, but Xbox boss Phil Spencer noted that exclusives work both ways: As reported on Twitter by Stephen Totilo of Axios, Spencer noted that the hit Spider-Man games—a property also owned by Disney—are exclusive to PlayStation consoles.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.