Game On: Adventure Games Are Out Of Date And “Indiana Jones” Can Save Them


Once a bastion of inspiration and imagination, the action / adventure genre in video games has grown to be complacent over the years. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that the annual releases of “Assassin’s Creed” are bad or that the dramatic sets of the “Uncharted” series are not impressive. But even avid fans of the genre will admit that games have become increasingly stereotypical, relying more on initial shock value than engaging gameplay.

“Assassin’s Creed” rocked the genre – and arguably the entire video game industry – at its core in 2007, and it cemented its lasting impact with an even more refined and elegant sequel in 2009. It encompassed all of them. the usual tropes such as historical fiction, treasure hunts, conspiracies, ancient artifacts and exploration while adding stealth and postmodernism to the mix.

It was unique until he died: There are 12 main titles in the franchise today, not to mention a handful of spinoffs. And while almost all of “Assassin’s Creed” is incredibly polished and visually stunning, it feels terribly predictable as Ubisoft stopped innovating after the fourth installment. “Uncharted” and the rebooted “Tomb Raider” are fun, but their linear storytelling and gameplay ironically leaves little room to explore.

The answer to the complacency of the action / adventure genre may have just taken hold: Tuesday, publisher Bethesda Softworks teased the development of an “Indiana Jones” game, the first video game adaptation of the iconic adventurer since 2009. It is being developed by Machine Games in collaboration with Lucasfilm Games, the former of which is best known for its work with the “Wolfenstein” series.

It’s an interesting fit: Canonically speaking, Indiana Jones is no stranger to filming Nazis, but he barely does so on the scale featured in the “Wolfenstein” first-person shooter saga. . The teaser leaves a lot of room for speculation: it depicts the cluttered desk of the world’s favorite fictional archaeologist whose hand reaches his felt and whip before going black.

But while the teasers never show real gameplay, they often set a clear tone, and that one sets the stage for something grand and epic. From there, of course, the gaming community is left to speculate and channel much of the hype. The prevailing theory is that we should expect an explosive adventure in the same vein as the “Uncharted” series, and while that is a reasonable guess, I hope for something more groundbreaking.

You see, “Tomb Raider” Lara Croft and “Uncharted” Nathan Drake premiered in 1996 and 2007, respectively, as a tribute to Indiana Jones – all three are confident and educated treasure hunters who also prove themselves to be good at a game. fist fight. Nathan Drake got off to a good start with the aptly named “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End,” and while Lara Croft’s overhaul has been mostly for the better, it doesn’t exude the same confidence and charm as it did before.

Thus, the stage is set for Indiana Jones to make a triumphant return and innovate in the action / adventure genre, resuming his place as the true king of the mischievous archaeologist archetype. There are only a limited number of ways to revamp a linear timeline with gripping QuickTime event handles. These games can be fun in the first game, but immediately lose much of their charm once you notice how much your button inputs actually affect the narrative.

It’s hard to feel like you’re embarking on a great adventure when you can’t stray very far from the beaten path, and for that reason, I hope Indiana Jones’ impending game plays out in something which is more like an open world. As the publisher of “Fallout” and “The Elder Scrolls”, Bethesda is well known for releasing many open world games, and with Todd Howard at the helm as executive producer, maybe that’s exactly it. what we get.

It’s rather poetic that Bethesda publishes an Indiana Jones game after knowingly placing a reference to its businesses in “Fallout: New Vegas”. In this title, players can find the archaeologist’s skeletal remains, fedora and all, inside a lead refrigerator just outside a nuclear test site in the blink of an eye. to a rather memorable scene in the otherwise mediocre “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

At the very least, Bethesda is no stranger to the iconic and legendary Indiana Jones. Countless questions remain: will Harrison Ford express his character? What can you do with his whip? Anyway, I am optimistic.

The product is in the safe hands of knowledgeable developers and publishers, with Lucasfilm Games assisting in development which may ensure a degree of loyalty to the source material.

Now’s the perfect time for a new action / adventure title, and Indie is just the archaeologist for the job.

Riordan Zentler can be contacted at [email protected]

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