Eidos Montreal‘s long rumored secret Marvel project, Guardians of the Galaxy is single-player. That’s a relief to those who are feeling fatigued by shared world shooters and live service games. Years after the game was leaked, the developers behind the Deus Ex series presented a trailer as the opening segment in Square Enix’s E3 2021 presentation.
But while the existence of the game was no surprise, a welcome one was the revelation that the game is a single-player, story-driven third-person action adventure with out any live service elements or microtransactions. Whether this was always part of the plan or a massive course correction following the cold reception towards the structure of Marvel’s Avengers, it’s sure to warm players who were skeptical of Square Enix handling another beloved IP from Marvel.
The game is being co-written by Mary de Marle, executive narrative director and Eidos Montreal veteran, and Dan Abnett, frequent writer of the Guardians of the Galaxy comics and while it draws from existing comic book lore, it is a new interpretation of the gang. It is also most emphatically not adapted from the MCU, which is why their version of Star-Lord is absolutely (and also legally) distinct from Chris Pratt.
Though Guardians of the Galaxy is single-player, it is built around team synergies and dynamic group tactics. Players will only control Quill, though, and as the self-appointed leader of the group will not only make decisions for the group but call the shots in the field with regards to combat. Players must master his signature gear — such as his energy pistols and rocket boots — while directing the team.
The most interesting wrinkle for a massive triple A project like this, is the introduction of choices — such as whether or not to approve tossing Rocket across a chasm, or deciding which team member gets sent out as bait — similar to those found in games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead. The story adheres to its own beats, but your relationships with characters can be altered by choices. (Interestingly, there was a five-episode Guardians of the Galaxy game from Telltale. Not a lot of people played it.)
Another surprise is the heavy focus on music. The official site notes that Square Enix and Eidos have licensed several classic pop and rock songs from the ’80s for the soundtrack, which allows players to boost his allies with said classics. In the case of gameplay preview, Star-Lord cued up Bad Reputation by Joan Jett. A later story beat features the iconic Holding Out for A Hero by Bonnie Tyler.
Guardians of the Galaxy was announced as a cross-generation game, making it available on almost all major platforms including Xbox consoles. That’s a little worrying as the gameplay demonstration exhibited noticeable stutters and framedrops on a PlayStation console, which is worrying regardless of whether it was being demo’ed on a PS4 or PS5.
In any case, we’ll find out soon enough if Eidos Montreal can deliver on the expectations of players and Marvel fans as the Guardians of the Galaxy is locked in for a release date of October 26, 2021 and in addition to PlayStations will launch on Xbox and Windows 10 PC as well as on platforms such as Steam.