Indiana Jones and the Great Circle
Image: Bethesda

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle is coming to Xbox this year, and has plenty of people excited about the famous explorer and his adventures – both cinematic and interactive.

However, it's also a game which also relies on the Nazis as enemies, and that's a "creative lapse", according to Hal Barwood, who worked as director, designer and writer on the critically acclaimed 1992 point-and-click adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

Barwood would also work on Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, but feels that the franchise has come to rely far too much on having Nazis as the lead enemy.

In an interview with Time Extension, Barwood reveals that he was working on an Indiana Jones title which would focus on Nazi members sheltering in South America following the end of World War 2. "In our case, we decided that we were going to try to resurrect Hitler himself, and it was a really interesting idea," he says. "Then we realized our adventure games did well in the United States, but they also did very, very well in Germany. Well, if we did a game that involved Hitler, you’re not going to sell one unit in Germany. So, that game was cancelled. Probably wisely."

This commercially-minded revelation may have something to do with Barwood's revised stance on the topic today. He explains that he has now come to realise that the Indiana Jones franchise has been held back creatively by returning to the same baddies time and time again.

"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 that Nazis were an inherent part of that world," he tells us. "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."

Infernal Machine, to its credit, introduces a Soviet threat, as does the much-maligned 2008 movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. However, subsequent video games (2003's Emperor’s Tomb and 2009's Staff of Kings) return to the Nazis, as does 2023's film Dial of Destiny. As we've already discussed, Bethesda's upcoming Indiana Jones and The Great Circle also has Nazis as enemies.

Regarding this, Harwood feels that the creative teams behind these projects have run out of ideas. "They just couldn’t think of something that didn’t involve the Nazis, and the franchise was lying heavy on their shoulders. 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..."