The other day a big announcement from the newly formed Lucasfilm Games: Indiana Jones is getting a video game from anti-Nazi pundits at Machine Games. We basically don’t know anything other than the fact that it’s about Indiana Jones and Machine Games, but we’re already ready to speculate on the most important question about it, at least for PlayStation users: this will the game be Xbox exclusive?
Microsoft has announced plans to buy parent company Bethesda Softworks Zenimax Media in the fall, and Machine Games is part of that family. The deal isn’t expected to be finalized until the second in fiscal 2021 (according to NPR), which is probably why you didn’t see an Xbox brand in the ad. Nevertheless, since it is still undated, it will almost certainly come out once the ink dries on this case.
If it was a regular game, a Wolfenstein or whatever, I would say: absolutely it will be exclusive. Microsoft isn’t going to spend $ 7.5 billion on a company just to release games on PlayStation, and it’s not even a big name on the lines of an Elder Scrolls, even if it is. ‘an obviously well-known IP.
But it’s not a regular game, because of this IP. Indiana Jones means Disney is involved, and that distorts the image a bit. That’s the best argument I can find as to why the game wouldn’t be exclusive: that Disney isn’t interested in licensing a game like this just to end up missing out on the PlayStation family altogether. This is a deal that could have been made before the Microsoft acquisition took effect and might have had its own terms at the time.
I should note that Spider Man was clearly a large IP address licensed exclusively to PlayStation, but Sony’s involvement with that license makes it a unique situation.
Again, this is just speculation. Microsoft has said in the past that it will handle exclusivity on a “case-by-case” basis, which it does with all of its games: Halo is strictly a PC and Xbox business, while Minecraft is on virtually everything. I tend to think that this will rely on exclusivity most often, but it will not be in all situations.
I would be remiss if I did not write this article without taking a real guess, so here is: I don’t expect this to be exclusive. I think Disney’s involvement will point to a cross-platform release. Just a hunch.