One of the biggest surprises at this year’s E3 was the reveal trailer for Square Enix’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Developed by Eidos Montreal, Guardians of the Galaxy will be a single-player, narrative-driven adventure game, where you get to slip into the rocket boots of Star-Lord himself. Of course, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot will be by your side, helping you to…well…guard the galaxy. After all, you are one of the idiots that happens to live here.
What follows is a complete breakdown of the trailer, analyzed for hints as to the game’s plot (which tells an original story unconnected to the MCU), Marvel character appearances, and differences between the game and the films. We’re going colonoscopy deep here, so if you want to experience the game fresh, leave now! No hard feelings.
For those of you still reading, let’s dig in. The trailer starts with an opening shot of what looks like a decimated space station covered with some sort of pink biological, possibly fungal growth. This may be what’s left of a decimated Xandar, as further footage indicates that the Nova Corps seem to be based here as well.
Peter Quill (a/k/a Star-Lord) is seen walking toward the captain’s chair of his ship, the Milano, before he rockets down to the surface. A female voiceover says, “I am so proud of you. Do you know what a birthright is Peter? Something that’s a part of you, like your name.” One can assume this is the voice of Peter’s mother, who died a tragic death in both the comics and the films. As touching as this speech is, it is immediately lampooned by a running joke throughout the trailer of characters getting Star-Lord and his team’s names wrong.
“Gardeners of the Galaxy?” a Nova Corps officer asks. Rocket Raccoon admits that he let Groot fill out the paperwork. It is revealed that the Nova Corps have stuck the GoG with an enormous fine, the payment of which Star-Lord astutely notes will require a plan.
The teammates themselves are visually different from their big screen counterparts. Most notably, Peter looks younger and blonder, Gamora is sporting a leather, full-body black and white battle suit, and Rocket appears older and tougher, with grayed fur and a braided rat-tail of a chin beard. This is yet another sign that this game is not MCU canon.
The sound of “Holding Out for a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler swells the speakers, indicating that Peter’s love of eclectic seventies and eighties songs also made the game’s cut.
An action sequence involving battle with large, plant-headed carnivores follows, highlighting Star-Lord’s moves. His abilities seem to revolve mostly around his rocket boots and dual guns, which look mighty sweet as he jet-thrusts beneath one of the leaping predators, firing his weapons at its underbelly and avoiding its attack completely.
The team’s humorous internal bickering starts when Quill orders Drax to chuck Rocket across a gorge, despite the rodent’s protests. The rest of the Guardians cringe when Rocket lands hard on the other side. Groot also gets on Rocket’s bad side when he shouts in his face that (you guessed it) he is Groot. Rocket responds with his trademark rush to violence by pulling out what appears to be an explosive. “You want monster!? I’ll show you monster!” As these two never displayed such aggression toward one another in the films, this scene calls into question whether or not they’re as tight in the game.
Drax’s inability to understand things except in their most literal interpretations remains intact, as he nearly drops his pants when four mysterious hooded figures declare that it is time they disrobe. Thankfully, Gamora stops him despite Quill’s idea that it might make a handy distraction.
An alarming cutscene displays the Guardians frozen and floating in outer space, as a mysterious voiceover chastises Star-Lord: “You had one job Quill.” The team is then somehow pulled into an airlock. Later in the trailer, the prelude to this is revealed, wherein the Guardians are desperately trying to cling to anything they can to keep from being sucked out into the vacuum of space. How they manage to survive this is unclear, although it may be that a greater force – perhaps that which spoke to Quill – is looking out for them.
As in the films, various team members threaten to kill one another, while Peter struggles to keep the band together. He reminds Gamora, who is standing poised to bury her blade in Rocket’s throat that there is a no-killing-each-other clause in their contracts, although Drax claims he made no such commitment.
Further cutscenes highlight Gamora’s compassion for children (probably stemming from her own suffering under the fatherhood of Thanos), a fight with a pair of hulking, red mercenaries known from the comics as the Blood Brothers, and a giant, talking Nova symbol (which probably acts as Nova Prime in this continuity) telling Star-Lord that the galaxy cannot be saved. Clearly, raising the money to pay off their criminal fines is only a jumping-off point in this game, with the stakes rising dramatically to be that of the fate of the galaxy itself. Who saw that coming?
The Guardians have a major boss battle with a floating monster with barbed tentacles. This is probably one of the Fear Lords known as the Dweller-in-Darkness. The Fear Lords are ancient, evil entities from the comics.
A tender moment seemingly torn straight from the first movie shows the team clasping each others’ shoulders in a circle, as Peter states, “We can do this, together.” The Guardians overcoming their differences and becoming something of a family will probably be a major story arc over the course of the game.
Viewers are then treated to appearances by three Marvel characters, although the bearded fellow who creates a glowing energy staff is currently a bit of a mystery. The other two are Lady Hellbender, a villain from the comics that collects monsters the way The Collector collects…well…everything, and our sweet, innocent, antennaed Mantis, who was in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. “Sun-Lord, right?” she asks Quill.
Cosmo the Space Dog pops in as well. Cosmo is a telepathic, Soviet dog who made a cameo in the first movie as one of The Collector’s exhibits.
After a few more gameplay sequences, the Guardians are displayed in a final shot, posing valiantly atop a cliff. But if you look closely, there seems to be one additional team member being held in Groot’s arms: a purple llama with shaggy red hair covering its eyes. I mean, hey, why not?
But hold on folks, we’re not finished yet. In a final stinger scene, Star-Lord is grasped around the neck by a tentacle. He pries it off and then gently kisses it. “No, no, of course I will,” he whispers. “I’ll call you, I’ll call you.” Apparently, Peter Quill is the man who has slept with an A’askavariian in both his cinematic and video game incarnations. There’s just no living that down for him.
Guardians of the Galaxy releases on October 26, 2021 for PS5, PS4, XBox Series X, Xbox ONE, and PC. The game is already available for preorder.
De Palma screened an early cut of the film for Lucas, after which De Palma ordered reshoots to add a new opening scene.
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