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The subject of this article was cancelled.
This article covers an Indiana Jones medium that was cancelled or replaced by another product. Cancelled material is not usually canon; however, aspects of such material sometimes find their way into later products and thus become canon.
This article is about the shelved video game. You may be looking for the comic book series.

Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix was a shelved video game follow-up to Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

Plot summary[]

Set in 1947, the aftermath of World War II, the story saw a group of ex-Nazis hiding in Bolivia led by German Doctor Matthias Jäger attempting to resurrect former Nazi leader Adolf Hitler from his ashes with the Philosopher's Stone. Indiana Jones and Soviet Major Nadia Kirov are forced to pair up in order to defeat them.[1]



Behind the scenes[]

The Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis end credits had a teaser for the players assuring them that they could "look for Indy's return in an all-new adventure perhaps as a much younger man". This advertisement was for a planned video game tie-in to The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television series that was abandoned. Former LucasArts personnel have referred to both an IBM video game and Young Indiana Jones at the World's Fair by Brian Moriarty for Lucas Learning, neither of which saw a release but it's unclear if the projects were one and the same. Afterwards, LucasArts decided to follow up their most recent Indy title with another based around their SCUMM engine.[1]

Development for the game started as early in 1993. Its original title was Indiana Jones and the Philosopher's Stone, but Mike Stemmle suggested a change to reference the Nazis' Iron Cross. The character design was reminiscent of the Art Deco-influenced animation style of Batman: The Animated Series but the show was not a direct influence.[1] As had been the case with Fate of Atlantis, a comic book adaptation of Iron Phoenix was commissioned through Dark Horse Comics which LucasArts had intended as a tie-in to the video game. Lee Marrs was hired to write the adaptation's script, though her efforts were often frustrated by the need to reflect the ever-changing game story such as moving a setting in Germany to take place in Ireland instead; alterations that were irritating to the point that she demanded and received a 10% contingency fee.[2]

The Iron Phoenix production team was formed by project leader Joe Pinney, background artist Bill Stoneham and lead animator Anson Jew. Fate of Atlantis project leader/writer Hal Barwood opted to focus on other projects, but nevertheless supported the game as a story consultant. Barwood and Pinney were the ones who conceived of the 1947 post-war setting with an older Indy, the Soviet presence, the Philosopher's Stone as the MacGuffin, and a finale taking place in South America. However, problems started with Pinney's sudden departure from the project, which placed veteran employee Aric Wilmunder behind the leadership reins as several of the company's other experienced employees were unavailable either because they had similarly left LucasArts or were busy leading projects of their own.[1]

Wilmunder's participation was then threatened after the reassigned Moriarty left the development of The Dig, as company management insisted on his availability for that project. When the company's relationship with the Canadian video game developer which had been outsourced the game collapsed, Wilmunder was forced to join The Dig, but hearing about the animation issues of Iron Phoenix, amidst the rumors Jew heard that rotoscoping could be used for the animations as had been done with Fate of Atlantis, Wilmunder suggested the use of live-action performances for cutscenes. This led Tamlynn Niglio to hold a casting session and shot some scenes with live actors that Stoneham and Wilmunder thought could be inserted into the Stoneham-designed backgrounds. Wilmunder believes his idea was partly the reason LucasArts employed this technique in the Star Wars video game Rebel Assault II: The Hidden Empire, which was released one year later.[1]

It was hoped that a successful demonstration of the FMV sequences would enable Indiana Jones creator George Lucas to coax Harrison Ford into reprising Indiana Jones for the game but Lucas found the end result to be too crude to be worth approaching the actor.[3]

The production team was fifteen months into production when they found out at ECTS, the European Computer Trade Show, that depictions of post-war revivals of Nazis were illegal in Germany.[4] After the war, the country had enacted strict laws that banned all displays of Nazi imagery, such as the swastika, both in merchandise or in public unless they were depictions with historical contexts or sufficient artistic expression. The first three Indy films hadn't been affected due to being "art", but as video games were seen as toys, they were treated as merchandise that fell within the ban. Unlike Fate of Atlantis, where LucasArts just swapped the swastikas for iron crosses, the Iron Phoenix story dealt so heavily with the Third Reich's attempted return that it was impossible to simply censor it as a plot point.[1] As LucasArts wouldn't be able to recuperate the loss from not selling the game there due to Germany being one of their biggest markets, the game was shelved.[4]

Its plot did, however, form the basis for the Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix comic produced by Dark Horse just as originally intended. Even Marrs herself, due to her experiences with video games, had devised that the game wasn't gonna be made.[2] As a result, LucasArts was thanked in the comic's credits. However, according to Aric Wilmunder, only the first three issues of the comic book were based on his designs for the game, while the fourth and final issue involving the failed Nazi resurrection was completely altered, hence why he wasn't a fond fan of the adaptation.[4] Similarly, Barwood dismissed the Iron Phoenix comic as "incoherent and toned down".[1]

Notes and references[]

External links[]

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