As soon as Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero” kicked off during the reveal trailer for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, we knew we were in for a treat.
Revealed today during the Square Enix Presents E3 2021 livestream, we got our first look at the newest adventure for Star-Lord, Groot, Gamora, Rocket, and Drax in an all-new and original take on the Guardians of the Galaxy from developer Eidos-Montréal.
Mixing both the look of the comics, in particular Dan Abnett’s run on “Guardians of the Galaxy (2008),” with some influences from the films themselves, there’s an air of familiar that runs through everything we’ve seen so far in this upcoming Marvel video game.
In this single-player, narrative driven action-adventure game, you’ll play as Star-Lord, “leader” of a rag-tag group of aliens, as you embark on an epic adventure through the cosmos. In this telling of the Guardians, it has been 12 years since a massive galactic war has rocked the universe. Now, through a series of unfortunate and ill-advised events, the Guardians will have to stop a new threat to the galaxy, one of their own creation, and must confront not only this foe… but themselves. Sounds like a piece of cake!
As we’ve seen in the brief gameplay demo ahead of today’s presentation, combat encounters will play out with a mix of agile movements to dodge enemy attacks and using Star-Lord’s iconic dual-wielded blasters to dispatch enemies, along with each of the Guardians jumping in to contribute special attacks to help break enemies down. Speaking with Senior Producer Olivier Proulx, we learned more about how these combat encounters can play out.
“Each Guardian has their own identity and ability in combat,” explains Proulx. “Drax is going to be more aggro, able to stagger enemies to put them off balance. Gamora is focused on high impact blows. Groot is the protector that can crowd control and heal the group. And Rocket has his bombs and deals more area of effect damage. Then as Star-Lord, you’re mixing his agility along with utilizing his blasters.”
It’s when these encounters deal with a larger enemy is when a mix of skill and strategy come into play as you’ll need to figure out the best use of the Guardian’s abilities, mixing crowd control, staggers, and finisher attacks. And, during these encounters is when we’ll be able to call upon Star-Lord’s “Huddle” ability.
“In the game when you call the Huddle, Star-Lord can give a speech to calm down the Guardians or motivate them,” explains Proulx. “Then when you return to the gameplay, depending on how successful the speech was (or not), your Guardians are boosted.”
The best part about this boost is that when you return to battle, one of the more than 30 licensed music tracks kick off to add a flair of the dramatic to all the action happening on screen. In our presentation, Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” came blasting through as each of the Guardians teamed up to take down a group of alien goons.
Speaking of the music — which was a huge focal point in the recent Marvel Studios films with many hits drawn from the ‘70s — this Guardians universe Star-Lord is a lost child of the ‘80s… and he’s a bit stuck in that era. So, Eidos-Montréal worked on getting licensed ‘80s hits to play throughout the game, like Iron Maiden, New Kids on the Block, Kiss, Rick Astley, and many more, giving the team a great soundtrack to match both thematic gaming moments and through story cut-scenes.
Through this story, each Guardian will have four unlockable abilities, along with one special mega ability that each Guardian can attain through the game via a “growth moment.” Not only does this sound like it’s going to scratch our “need to collect them all” itch, it also seems to hint that there’s much more going on under the surface for this group of Guardians.
“Choice and consequence are part of the Eidos-Montréal DNA, giving you both gameplay and dialog choices as you’re going through the game,” says Senior Narrative Director Mary DeMarle. “You want to see the decisions you make have repercussions.”
We’re told this can manifest itself as the Guardians react to your decisions as Star-Lord. These are all very strong-willed characters that will react to your choices, and you must manage those repercussions while balancing their unpredictable natures.
“Some of the decisions you make will open and close gameplay paths to your objectives,” explains DeMarle. “There may be certain secret weapons you can get, for example. It’s still a linear story that will have the same beginning and same ending for every player, building to a strong emotional story that will pay off in true Marvel superhero style at the end. But it’s the moment-to-moment experiences of the story as you go through that will vary based on your choices in small or big ways as you go.”
Also, DeMarle revealed that they had a tremendous amount of access to the team at Marvel to help build out the characters to help deliver a journey that’s full of humor, light heartedness, and colorful moments, but also deals with deep themes of family, and faith, and loss.
“It’s fun!” exclaims DeMarle. “You’re having this wild cosmic adventure, and one minute you’re laughing, and one minute you get an emotional hit, and then bam you’re back in the action. Marvel allowed a lot of leeway to really let us make our own mark on the Guardians of the Galaxy so it’s not like the movies, it’s not like the comics — it’s our own version.”
As for where in the universe we’ll see our Guardians travel, Eidos-Montréal is keeping a lid on that as to not spoil anything. But the eagle-eyed fan may have spotted a certain space-faring dog that seems to hint at a stopover of this iconic location. The good thing is we won’t have to wait long to discover these locations ourselves.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy will be available for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S on October 26 this year. Also, it will also be Optimized for Xbox Series X|S and support Smart Delivery — buy the game once and play the best version on your console. Pre-orders, which are available now on the Xbox Store, will come with the Throwback Guardians Outfit Pack. We’ll have more to share about Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy in the months leading up to its launch on October 26, so be sure to return here to Xbox Wire.