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Indiana Jones Game Director Says Over Reliance On Nazis As Villains Is A "Creative Lapse"

One of the key creators behind Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis thinks the franchise has become formulaic.


Indiana Jones and the Great Circle will once again see the titular action hero battling against Nazis while in pursuit of ancient artifacts when it releases later this year, but the writer and director of some of the most beloved Indiana Jones games of all time thinks the franchise's reliance on Hitler's armies is a "mistake" and a "creative lapse."

In an interview with Time Extension about the creation of the classic point-and-click adventure title Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, Hal Barwood, who wrote the game's story and served as game director, had some choice thoughts on how the franchise has progressed since the release of Fate of Atlantis in 1992. Namely, he thinks the franchise has become formulaic. He said he was disappointed with the most recent film, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, for once again featuring Nazis as villains, as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade did before it.

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Now Playing: Indiana Jones and the Great Circle | Official Gameplay Reveal Trailer

"I think as the Jones' universe became formulaic to the people who were involved with it in film especially, but also in games, they just thought Nazis were an inherent part of that world," Barwood said. "I didn't think so at all. I just think it was a tremendous mistake to have Nazis in Dial of Destiny, and I just thought that resurrecting and rehashing that material was not a good idea."

It's worth noting that Fate of Atlantis does feature Nazis, as would have a canceled follow-up that would have seen Indiana Jones battling Nazis who fled to South America after World War II. However, 1999's Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, which Barwood also wrote, designed, and directed, introduced the Soviet Union as villains, something the film series would go on to do in 2008's much-maligned Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Barwood doesn't mention Indiana Jones and the Great Circle by name, but does lament the fact that later Indiana Jones games like The Emperor's Tomb and Staff of Kings once again feature Nazi villains.

"They just couldn't think of something that didn't involve the Nazis and the franchise was lying heavy on their shoulders," Barwood said. "And so, they just thought they should go and do what had already been done. That's a creative lapse, which I'm sorry to have been aware of. I wish it hadn't happened."

The developer behind Indiana Jones and the Great Circle, Machine Games, is no stranger to having its heroes battling Nazis, having in recent years rebooted the Wolfenstein franchise. Indiana Jones and the Great Circle is slated to release on Xbox Series X|S and PC before year's end, and will see players wielding Jones' iconic whip to fight Nazis from a first-person perspective in a story set between Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade. As to what, exactly, the Great Circle is, the game's director has already offered some insight.

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