Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, a new whip-cracking adventure coming from Wolfenstein studio MachineGames and avowed Indy fanboy Todd Howard, was revealed on Thursday to be a first-person game. Well, mostly. Players will see through the eyes of Indiana Jones on a globe-trotting story where they’ll explore ancient temples, recover mysterious artifacts, and punch, shoot, and whip Nazis.
“You aren’t just playing as Indy — you are Indiana Jones,” promised MachineGames’ Jerk Gustafsson, game director on Indiana Jones and the Great Circle. “You will see through his eyes and experience a journey that we hope lives up to the proud legacy of Indiana Jones.”
There are moments when you’ll see Indy from third person, including cinematic cutscenes and while climbing up castle walls or onto German zeppelins. But The Great Circle is primarily a first-person game.
MachineGames’ choice to present Indiana Jones’ next video game adventure in first person has been a turnoff for some fans. On forums and subreddits, gamers are debating the merits of a first-person Indy game — with some dismissing it out of hand, saying they’ll skip Indiana Jones and the Great Circle.
For some players, first-person play is a real concern; many people suffer from headaches or nausea when playing games from that perspective. For others, first-person play is simply a matter of taste. Players have become accustomed to seeing their playable heroes in the third-person in cinematic AAA franchises like God of War, Metal Gear Solid, and The Last of Us. Indiana Jones’ closest video game equivalents, Uncharted’s Nathan Drake and Tomb Raider’s Lara Croft, are played almost exclusively in third person — so why not Indy?
If any developer deserves the benefit of the doubt for Indiana Jones and the Great Circle’s choice of perspective, it’s MachineGames. At the most reductive level, the Swedish studio has proved it can deliver great action games where you kill Nazis in first person with Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus. Gustafsson himself served as game designer and executive producer on both of those games.
Gustafsson has further proved himself as a game designer more than capable of making compelling, cinematic first-person games for two decades. 2004’s The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, developed by Starbreeze with Gustafsson on game design, successfully adapted the Vin Diesel-led franchise into one of the best games of that year. The Riddick games are outstanding examples of stealth-action games played in first person.
Starbreeze’s The Darkness, another first-person Starbreeze adaptation, also featured game design from Gustafsson. The 2007 video game based on the comic book of the same name was a great shooter that differentiated itself by giving protagonist Jackie Estacado a pair of demonic tentacles that could interact with the environment. They might as well have been Indiana Jones’ trademark whip, multiplied.
Of course, Gustafsson isn’t the only MachineGames and Starbreeze vet working on Indiana Jones and the Great Circle. Jens Andersson and Axel Torvenius are also confirmed to be behind Indy’s new game, as design director and creative director, respectively. They also have credits on The Darkness and Riddick games.
Bethesda Game Studios’ Todd Howard, executive producer on Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, said he believed the best studio in the world to make Indy’s next adventure was MachineGames. Play the developers’ back catalog, and you might just agree with him.
In the case of the Wolfenstein games, that’s easy: The New Order, The New Colossus, The Old Blood, and Youngblood are all available to play through Game Pass. The Darkness is playable on Xbox One and Xbox Series X through backward compatibility, and it only costs $3.99 right now. Those older Chronicles of Riddick games are a different story; you’ll either need to purchase an old Xbox copy of the game or decide if a download from an abandonware website is worth the risk.
And if you really need your Indiana Jones adventures in third person, you can always go back to Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb on PC. That one’s dirt-cheap, too.
With Indiana Jones and the Great Circle still far out, you have plenty of time to revisit the first-person adventures of MachineGames and Starbreeze to decide how you really feel about stepping into the clothes of Dr. Henry Jones. Just don’t try to wear them in real life; no one but Harrison Ford can pull that off.