The nature of the apparent band-gap shift in polycrystalline indium nitride thin-films, grown by remote-plasma-enhanced chemical vapour deposition at 535 ± 10 °C, has been investigated separately in relation to growth temperature dependent crystallinity and chemical variation. Substrates of sapphire and gallium nitride on sapphire were used to study the effect of a stress-reduced template on indium nitride crystallite quality and apparent band-gap. To mimic surface growth temperature variations two glass substrates of differing thickness and thermal conductivity were intentionally used for the same growth conditions. The samples were characterised using optical transmission, scanning electron microscope, X-ray diffraction, and high-resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The results indicate that the apparent band-gap shift in polycrystalline narrow band-gap indium nitride thin-films is not primarily determined by the quality of indium nitride crystallites but rather it is associated with growth temperature dependent chemical variations in the films.