Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy was the highlight of the Square Enix E3 2021 showcase. That’s right, Square Enix is taking another stab at a Marvel property, after the lukewarm reception to Marvel’s Avengers.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is being developed by Eidos Montreal, the team behind Deus Ex and most recently, Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Much like its previous projects, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy will be a single-player narrative-driven adventure, with a more linear design. It will follow the story of Star-Lord, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora, and Drax the Destroyer who make up the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Since this game is due out later this year, there’s quite a lot we know about it. We’ve compiled a list of everything we know about Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy release date
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is due out on October 26, 2021, on PS5, PS4, PC, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One. A Cloud Version will be available on Nintendo Switch. It’s available to preorder right now. Those who preorder any version of the game will gain early access to the Throwback Guardians Outfit Pack.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy reveal trailer
Publisher Square Enix released two trailers for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. One was more of a cinematic look, while the other (which we’ll get to further down) focused more on gameplay.
As part of the game’s reveal trailer at the Square Enix Presents E3 2021 event, we got a look at Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy characters, art direction, and overall tone, along with its release date. Its reveal trailer was short, but it gives us a taste of what to expect from Eidos’ next adventure.
As explained by Square Enix, "your newly-formed band of legendary misfits is set to save the universe in this fresh but faithful take on the Guardians of the Galaxy."
"Somehow, you set off a chain of catastrophic events, leading to a wild ride through mind-blowing worlds inhabited by iconic and original Marvel characters. Turn up the all-star ‘80s mixtape and get ready to kick it."
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy gameplay
So how will Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy actually play? Well, it’s an action game that focuses on narrative and player choice. Interestingly, you only play as Star-Lord, while being able to select various attacks for the rest of the ensemble in the heat of battle.
As shown in the gameplay trailer above, the player can be seen choosing an attack for Gamora, which appears from a selection that is mapped to certain buttons. This seemingly gives the player some agency over all the characters, while still keeping the tight narrative approach intended by the developer.
"Ultimately, you get combat that is very, very team-based. It's an ensemble thing," senior gameplay director Patrick Fortier told GamesRadar. "You see them working together as a team, as a unit, and not just like individual characters engaging in their own loop."
Eidos Montreal assured us that the rest of the AI Guardians will hold their own during combat and will make decisions based on their personalities. For instance, Drax is known to take on too many enemies during combat, while Gamora is less aggressive.
Senior Creative Director Jean-Francois Dugas explained "it's single-player, but it's kind of like solo team play. You feel like even though you're only controlling one character, you feel like they're present in every aspect of the game."
As for Star-Lord’s arsenal of attacks, there will be plenty to choose from, but the primary thing you’ll be doing is shooting. Though, you can mix things up with melee strikes, while jumping, dodging, and executing more powerful moves you can unlock over time.
Enemies will feature health bars and can be locked onto, as the team pummels away on them. At the end of an encounter, there’s an XP bar that fills up that leads to different abilities.
Throughout the combat, you’ll need to keep a momentum meter going, similar to the combo system from Devil May Cry. The higher your momentum meter is filled, the more points you’ll get to spend on abilities -- not just for Star-Lord, but for all of the Guardians.
One fascinating aspect is the ability to utilize specific speech options in the middle of combat to motivate the rest of the team. Pick the right speech option and the entire team will gain a ton of boosts such as faster cooldowns or stronger attacks. This is one of the many examples of narrative tying into the game’s combat in a seemingly seamless way.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy narrative and choice
Outside of combat - and even sometimes during combat - the story will be the main focus in this game. During the gameplay trailer, we got to see multiple instances of dialogue options that will apparently impact the story.
One of the most notable examples of this comes when the Guardians find themselves low on cash. They come up with a scheme to sell either Rocket or Groot to a monster buyer to gather more funds (but don’t worry, you’ll get your beloved comrade back). Here, the player can choose which character to sell off, which will greatly impact how this section plays out.
But throughout the trailer, there are also less impactful decisions to be made, like whether or not to have Drax throw Rocket across a gap to deploy a bridge.
"Choice and consequence is part of the experience," Dugas said. "You're the self-proclaimed leader, so it means you will have to make decisions, but also [the Guardians] are alive as well; they have opinions and might make decisions on their own."
So it’s clear that choice will be an important factor in this game, but whether or not the bulk of these choices will be truly meaningful overall remains to be seen. We’ll find out this fall.
As for the story itself, the central narrative focuses on the Guardians cleaning up a mess they started. Eidos and Square are keeping the details close to the chest for now, but there’s a little we do know about the story.
According to an Entertainment Weekly interview with Eidos Montreal’s Mary DeMarle, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy "takes place several years after a massive galactic war where the universe is still dealing with the repercussions of that."
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack
From the two trailers alone, you can tell music will play a major role in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. Particularly, the game will be comprised of 80s tunes from artists such as Pat Benatar, Wham!, Iron Maiden, Joan Jett, KISS, and even Blondie.
"We [knew] we needed to integrate the music because it's such a big part," Fortier said. "It's actually a symbolic reflection of Peter's last link to his childhood, and Earth, and all of that. So it's super fun because it's all these songs from the '80s, but it actually means something to the character as well."
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is not a live service game
Fans were pleased to learn that Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy will not be a live service game like Marvel's Avengers. Instead, it will be a single-player, offline narrative-based adventure, with no DLC, or microtransactions. This is in line with Eidos’ goal to create an experience that is the same for everyone on day one -- with storytelling at the forefront.
Does Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy have the same cast from the MCU?
Just like Marvel’s Avengers, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy will be separate from the MCU films. That means their likenesses and voices will be different, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ultimately, the characters in this game still seem to be in line with their comic book counterparts, while feeling unique to Eidos.
"It was very clear from the very, very first meeting [with Marvel], they were like 'Guys, this is all about your version of the Guardians of the Galaxy,’" Fortier tells GamesRadar.
"It's the same approach that they have with their comic book teams, when they bring in a creative turn and they want their vision for when they have a run, and that's what they wanted from us."
The most important thing in a game like this is that its characters are portrayed accurately. Based on the two trailers, it seems like Guardians of the Galaxy fans won’t have much to worry about in this department.