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Everything we know about the Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy game

They just might save the galaxy.

The rumors are true: Eidos-Montréal is developing a Guardians of the Galaxy video game published by Square Enix, and while it might be tempting to make immediate comparisons to Marvel’s Avengers, the upcoming Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy will be anything but.

Described as a third-person, single-player action game, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy puts you in the role of the roguish Star-Lord. To earn a quick buck, he brings together several Marvel misfits to become “legally incorporated heroes for hire.” Except they seem to cause more problems than they solve — and they struggle to become a family amidst all sorts of conflicts and dysfunction across the galaxy.

Thus far, it seems like the game will avoid many of the pitfalls that befell Marvel’s Avengers. Rather than mediocre gameplay with arguably too many characters and a never-ending loot grind, Guardians will instead focus on sharply written comedic storytelling with the ensemble cast front and center. And because you only ever play as Star-Lord, that means all of the gameplay elements stand to be that much more refined. Even the narrative choices you make throughout help to shape how the game unfolds, delivering a more nuanced experienced.

But when exactly will you be able to step inside this corner of the Marvel video game universe? And what’s the story like? Here’s all of that and more.

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When is the Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy release date?

The title screen shows the Guardians just sort of hanging out.

Square Enix

During the half-hour presentation, Square Enix confirmed that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy will be released on October 26, 2021. And unlike many games these days — including Marvel’s Avengers — there won’t be any microtransactions or future DLC. What you get on launch day is the final, full product.

Is there a Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy trailer?

Yes! Square Enix revealed plenty of footage for the game during the Square Enix Presents livestream, including some developer commentary.

The visuals look stunning. Even the character models appear detailed and lively, mostly based on comic book versions of the characters. Quill himself looks a little generic at times, but that’s only because he’s the most generic human of the group! Everyone else looks more interesting with their alien skin, tree-like body structure, or fuzzy fur.

The real highlight in all this is the witty banter and tone. Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy leans into the dysfunctional aspect of this superhero squad. There’s no doubt that they’ll spend most of the game bickering amongst themselves with Peter weighing in frequently. Developers say that the choices Star-Lord makes will influence the story overall in dynamic ways, and we see a little bit of this play out in the presentation.

What is the Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy story?

This game looks stylish, to say the least.

Square Enix

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy begins at a time when the titular Guardians are still a rather new team. It’s a few short years after a massive galactic war, and the entire universe is still dealing with the fallout. In the midst of all this chaos, Peter Quill came up with a money-making scheme to gather together a group of would-be heroes for hire. So he recruits Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot to his team.

The group has been together for less than a year when the game starts. In an early scene not depicted, they may or may not cause a “small accident” that “eventually takes on a life of its own.” That “accident” sets off a chain of cataclysmic events that threaten the entire universe — unless the Guardians themselves stand up and take responsibility for it.

In the midst of all that, the Guardians also wind up being “the last line of defense against a mysterious order that is out to annihilate anyone who refuses to bow to their convictions.” The story will likely feature many different characters, and developers promise that while some villains are well-known, others are not.

Who is Lady Hellbender in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy?

She loves monsters.

Square Enix

Most of the plot specifics are unclear, even after the lengthy presentation. But the footage shown drops one name loud and clear: Lady Hellbender.

Most of the gameplay shown involves a sequence that seems like it’s from relatively early in the game, involving the Guardians trying to fool Lady Hellbender into buying either Groot or Rocket ... only for the rest of the team to steal their companion back. Marguerite Hellbender is indeed a character from comics who seems like a secondary antagonist in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

She’s the regent of Seknarf Nine, a chaotic and storm-ridden planet where she collects rare monsters in a kind of sanctuary or menagerie. But she also wields a massive battleaxe in the game. Over in the comics, she’s tangled with She-Hulk, the new Hulk (Amadeus Cho), and even Venom. Interestingly, she doesn’t have much in the way of history with the Guardians of the Galaxy in the comics. So based on that, it sure seems like the game will experiment with all sorts of unpredictable characters.

What is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy gameplay like?

Star-Lord lands a punch.

Square Enix

The debut livestream confirms that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is a “third-person single-player action game.” While it may be easy to reflexively draw a direct comparison to Marvel’s Avengers, this is a radically different game — and one that already seems much, much better. It seems like the full team will always be around and interacting during traversal, cutscenes, and combat. That dynamic definitely keeps things lively.

“The Guardians are constantly around you and you never feel alone,” Senior Creative Director Jean-Francois Dugas said during the announcement presentation. “While you’re the leader, the Guardians will also challenge you and make decisions on your own, and you’ll have to adapt to it.”

Playing as Star-Lord in combat seems pretty similar to something like Returnal and Mass Effect. While you do have some limited melee attacks as part of your arsenal, you’ll rely more on Star-Lord’s blasters as your primary attacks. He also has his hover boots that can be used to levitate in place and move around the battlefield, making him very agile. Sliding and dodging are also seemingly enhanced by his boots as well. While he also has other gadgets at his disposal, one of the most interesting and novel combat mechanics involves how the other Guardians fit in.

The closest point of comparison may be Final Fantasy VII Remake. You can’t swap over to control Drax, Gamora, Groot, or Rocket like you might with Tifa or Aerith. But you can open up a command menu that slows down time, allowing for you to issue an attack command to any of your allies. There also seems to be a sort of combo effect at play, which could evoke the way that abilities in Mass Effect combine to form chain reactions. Team-up attacks also seem to be the thing to some extent.

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