Thanks to trials kicking off between Xbox and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), we’re rapidly learning a lot more about the inner workings of some of Microsoft’s deals and plans for the future when it comes to its studios and console exclusives.
One such revelation comes by way of MachineGames’ upcoming Indiana Jones game, which was initially revealed over two years ago – before Microsoft’s acquisition of MachineGames’ parent company/publisher in ZeniMax/Bethesda had officially been finalised. During the trial, Bethesda’s Senior VP of Global Marketing & Communications, Pete Hines, revealed that Disney and LucasFilm originally had an agreement with Bethesda for a multiplatform release, which would have included a PS5 release, but that the agreement was altered when the Bethesda acquisition happened to move the Indiana Jones game to be an Xbox and PC exclusive, including a day one release on Game Pass.
“While it is not in our messaging, I think it is important to highlight that Lucasfilm brought up the issue of platforms because we have a signed agreement with them to develop the game for multiple consoles,” reads an email between Hines, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer, Xbox Studios head Matt Booty, and several other executives, shared by IGN.
While internally the messaging was seemingly to keep looking at platform exclusivity for Bethesda titles on a case-by-case basis, working with Disney and LucasFilm would have made things trickier. When Hines was reportedly asked why the agreement was amended, he claimed it was about seeking clarity and reducing potential risk.
“You’re dealing with a licensor who is giving a ton of feedback on what you’re making, is going to add a ton of time to your scheduling, these agreements, you don’t get to take as long as you want, you have a window of time in which you’re going to release a game, you immediately have a clock that’s ticking on you,” Hines said. “Truthfully, we also kind of liked the idea of embracing, bringing it to Game Pass and how many players we could get there.”