Ready for a Marvel surprise? Square Enix has a Guardians of the Galaxy game coming, and it’s totally separate from the publisher’s 2020 Avengers game.
In fact, this game couldn’t be further from the online super team-up game. Guardians of the Galaxy is a solitary, story-driven adventure that puts players in the role of Peter Quill, aka Star-Lord, at a time when he and his misfit family of teammates are still getting to know each other after only a year of working together.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, it looks like the game delivers a pretty familiar mix of combat, exploration, and character interactions, with the choices you make influencing the plot to some extent. You’ll also notice stuff like health bars and ability menus in the footage. Like I said, familiar stuff, but excitingly, it’s playing out here in a Marvel universe.
Star-Lord is also joined by his crew throughout the game. Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t a cooperative game for multiple players, but part of the action involves calling on team members — who also fight autonomously — to put their own abilities to work.
The reveal also makes it plainly evident that the trademark sense of humor is a big piece of the experience, as is Quill’s love of popular Earth music.
The reveal included a substantive first look at some of the gameplay in action. The first thing you’ll notice is how different this bunch is, visually, from the Guardians we’ve all come to know from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The personalities are similar — Rocket is still a jerk, Quill is sort of an idiot, Gamora seems like the only competent team member — but the faces look vastly different.
The gameplay clip also offers a taste of how dialogue interactions play into the game, with Quill making choices about which team members to listen to, how to respond to direct questions, and the kinds of choices that might change how a particular quest plays out. There’s also some suggestion that your choices impact relationships with the team, with Telltale Games-style pop-ups like “Rocket is furious that you let Drax throw him.”
Combat is a mix of targeting and attacking foes in real time and popping into menus — at which point, time slows down — to direct the actions of teammates. There’s some kind of style or combo system that rewards you for (apparently) dishing out damage without taking it. There’s also at least one special move where Star-Lord cranks up his portable cassette player and seems to hit harder while he rocks out.
More than anything else, the gameplay offers a sense of the game’s personality. There’s a lot of familiar gameplay ideas in here that are suggestive of the kind of game Guardians of the Galaxy will be. But more important than that is the feel of it all; this might not be the MCU’s version of the super-team, but there’s unusual functionally dysfunctional relationship is showcased well.
In the best twist of all, we won’t be waiting long to see all of this for ourselves. Guardians of the Galaxy comes to PlayStation and Xbox console as well as PC on Oct. 26, 2021.