Bethesda Softworks announced an Indiana Jones game earlier today, but it might not have been the first announcement. In fact, it looks like Todd Howard might have quietly teased the name game three and a half months ago.
The official announcement of a new Indiana Jones game was made earlier today with Todd Howard serving as the executive producer. However, that was far from the first reference to Indiana Jones in recent months — there was a subtle teaser included in the September 23, 2020, interview where Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda Softworks was announced.
Check out the video for yourself and pay special attention to the golden items on Todd Howard's shelf:
A model of the Ark of the Covenant from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark sits on the shelf directly above Todd Howard's head. Additionally, a model of the Chachapoyan Fertility Idol from the beginning of the same film sits on a shelf to Howard's left.
Three and a half months later, Bethesda Softworks would announce that that Machine Games is developing a brand-new Indiana Jones game with an original story. This upcoming property is being produced by Todd Howard; considering the lead time, it's very likely that the inclusion of these items on his shelf was a deliberate move.
Sneakily teasing an upcoming product in the background of your room is surely a product of 2020's video call culture. Howard wasn't the first to do it, though — Xbox's Phil Spencer slipped an Xbox Series S into the background of one of his videos before the existence of the console was officially confirmed.
Fun fact: Xbox Series S is so small @XboxP3 had it sitting on his bookshelf back on July 1 and nobody noticed. 😏— Xbox (@Xbox) September 11, 2020
Did you spot it @SethSchiesel? pic.twitter.com/6Z83TLCW1F
The sneaky inclusion of these mythological artifacts isn't the only association Bethesda Softworks has with Indiana Jones, either with creators enjoying doing shout outs to the film franchise. Longtime fans of Fallout: New Vegas are surely familiar with the "That Fridge Was a Death Trap!" encounter where they can acquire the unique Suave Gambler hat. Some may have missed this item, though — it's only available by taking the "Wild Wasteland" trait that adds or changes dozens of encounters throughout the game.
Similarly, Fallout 4 has the side quest "Kid in a Fridge" where a child escapes nuclear devastation by hiding in a refrigerator. (Unfortunately, poor Billy ended up stuck in the fridge for two hundred years rather than just a few moments.) Both of these Fallout easter eggs are references to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a film that arrived after the original trilogy (and wasn't quite as well-received as its predecessors).
Game references aside, Bethesda Softworks and Todd Howard seem to have a bit of an affinity for Indiana Jones. Game Informer toured Bethesda Softwork's studios back in 2011 and Howard revealed that the studio has a piece of Indiana Jones memorabilia prominently displayed in the office in this video (starting at 4:39).
"So these were used for some marketing things for Fallout 3," Todd Howard said in the video. "And I believe our marketing group got them from this Hollywood prop studio. And they said, 'Well, they've been used before.' And then I was watching [Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull] — which I don't plan on watching again — but, this is in the movie where they blow the town up! [I was watching the movie] and I said, 'That's our Fallout lady!' So now I have an Indiana Jones actual prop."
Clearly, Todd Howard is a fan of Indiana Jones given his enthusiasm for the franchise and his somewhat understated criticism of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In any case, we'll see if that enthusiasm can translate to a great game when Bethesda's Indiana Jones game comes out sometime in the next few years.
Disclosure: Amazon works with TechRaptor for affiliate partnership, and TechRaptor earns a small commission off purchases made from some links in this article.
Do you think Bethesda Softworks can do a good job with the Indiana Jones game? What's your favorite film in the Indiana Jones franchise? Let us know in the comments below!