When Eidos Montreal revealed Guardians of the Galaxy at E3 2021, many were surprised to see the upcoming Marvel game will be a single-player, Star-Lord-focused experience rather than offering multiplayer with the whole ragtag squad. But the developers have since made clear that taking a different route than Marvel’s Avengers has been for the better.
“When we started to brainstorm, we thought about other styles of gameplay,” senior creative director Jean-Francois Dugas told GamesRadar+ over the weekend. “We were like, ‘What is the best way to engage you with the Guardians?’ because they’re so colorful, they’re so many things.”
Shortly before implementing a work-from-home policy at the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, Eidos Montreal decided the story of Guardians of the Galaxy would best be told from the perspective of Peter “Star-Lord” Quill. This restrained viewpoint puts players directly in his shoes as he navigates the personal tensions between fellow team members Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot.
“If you only play as Peter, you experience the team more like you would in real life,” said Patrick Fortier, senior gameplay director. “When you’re part of the team, you don’t control the team, you suffer the team. Sometimes you influence the team, sometimes two will think alike and sway you in a certain direction…that feels rich for the Guardians of the Galaxy.”
These dynamics play out both during missions and the in-between moments when the Guardians have some time to decompress. In a move reminiscent of the now-defunct Telltale Games (which, funny enough, released its own Guardians of the Galaxy adventure game in 2017), Star-Lord’s allies will remember things like his strategic decisions in battle and whose side he takes in an argument.
Speaking with The Washington Post, members of Eidos Montreal added that centering Guardians of the Galaxy around single-player gameplay also played to the studio’s strengths in developing previous games like 2016’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and 2018’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider. This comes in stark contrast to the Avengers game released in 2020 by Square Enix siblings Crystal Dynamics, which featured more playable characters as well as multiplayer but was less-than-stellar when it came to elements like narrative and hero interactions.
“If we were going to have a very deep, narrative focus, then we couldn’t make a certain kind of game,” Fortier told The Washington Post. “We felt like maybe that kind of game has been done before. How does this game stand out in five, 10 years? When you talk about this game then, what’s the one thing people are going to remember? Hopefully it’s that all the Guardians feel alive, and that it feels just like I was really part of the Guardians of the Galaxy.”
Guardians of the Galaxy releases for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on October 26.