Indiana Jones & The Iron Phoenix
Image: Tech Talk With Daniel Albu / Lucasfilm Games

Some never-before-seen test footage of a lost Indiana Jones FMV project has been recently shared online.

The footage was shown during a four-hour video conversation between the Tech Talk host Daniel Albu and former LucasArts employee Mike Levine on YouTube (the footage starts at 1:38:06) and was filmed for the cancelled Fate of Atlantis project: Indiana Jones & The Iron Phoenix.

In case you're not up to date on your Lucasfilm Games' history or are in need of a quick refresher, this project was meant as the follow-up to Fate of Atlantis and was set to take place in 1947. It would have followed Indiana Jones on a quest to stop a group of former Nazis from using the Philosopher's Stone to resurrect Adolf Hitler and saw the world-famous archaeologist/professor travelling to Ireland, Kiev, and Tibet.

According to the history of the project posted on the LucasArts fansite The International House Of Mojo, as well as our own conversations in the past with former staff members, the game was being developed around 1993 and was originally going to feature tall sprites, similar to the ones that eventually appeared in Full Throttle. The development, however, ran into issues with the company being spread too thin at the time, so the decision was made to outsource the project to a Canadian studio.

From everything we've seen and heard, progress with this developer didn't quite go according to plan, and eventually, LucasArts cut its ties with the company. Then, in a desperate bid to still make something of the project, Lucasfilm Games eventually put together some live-action tests to experiment with full-motion video technology.

Mike Levine told Tech Talk's Daniel Albu about the test footage:

"Games like 7th Guest had come out, if you remember that? And Wing Commander — the one with Mark Hamill. We’re LucasArts. We’ve got George. We should be into this. There was definitely a corporate top-down interest in this stuff. So when we finished this test, it was like George wanted to see it. It was like holy shit! And if he liked it the idea was that he was going to bring in Harrison Ford and this was going to turn into live-action.

But he saw it and he was right. He took one look at it and he’s like ‘This ain’t ready for Harrison Ford.’

Following these tests, the project faded into the background at LucasArts and was eventually cancelled outright, with the LucasArts' veteran Hal Barwood crediting the inability to market in Germany, due to the country's ban on Nazi imagery, as a major reason for it finally being abandoned. The story, however, did later become the basis of a comic book from Dark Horse Comics (also called Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix).

Iron Phoenix Comic
Image: Dark Horse Comics

The scene shown in the test footage seems to be from the Ireland section, where a druidic cult who possess a piece of the Philosopher's Stone capture Indy and are about to execute him. Indy manages to escape and quickly ducks into a nearby cave.

Iron Phoenix Design Doc
Image: Aric Wilmunder/Lucasfilm Games

According to Albu, he will be publishing an additional 5-hour conversation with one of Iron Phoenix's project leaders Aric Wilmunder in July going over some of the history of the cancelled project.

You can subscribe to his channel here, to ensure you don't miss out.