Announced at E3 2021, Guardians of the Galaxy is the next installment in the MGU (Marvel Gaming Universe). Recent history has not been too kind to Marvel games as Marvel’s: Avengers never achieved the kind of player base developers had hoped. Now, Square Enix hopes to right the star-ship with Guardians of the Galaxy. With a full reveal trailer, gameplay trailer, and inside scoop available, Guardians looks like a Marvel game fans can get excited for. Here’s everything we know about Guardians of the Galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy releases October 26, 2021, for all platforms, with a Cloud version for the Nintendo Switch coming out on the same day. Developed by Eidos Montreal, a subsidiary of Square Enix, Guardians of the Galaxy is a single-player third-person shooter/RPG. The game was officially revealed at E3 2021 with a 10-minute gameplay trailer to back it up. Developers at Eidos Montreal had been pretty quiet about Guardians up until E3. That, or fans haven’t been looking in the right corner of the galaxy.
Guardians of the Galaxy will be available on October 26, 2021, for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC. There will also be a Cloud version of the game for Nintendo Switch. As current-gen consoles are still tricky to find, you can rest assured that Guardians of the Galaxy will come with a free upgrade from PS4/Xbox One to PS5/Xbox Series X|S
You will not be able to buy a physical copy of Guardians of the Galaxy for the Nintendo Switch. It will only be available in digital form via the Switch shop. Switch players will not have access to the deluxe version of the game as it will only be available to them in standard form.
We currently have two trailers to work off — the official reveal trailer (above) and a 10-minute gameplay trailer linked here. Both give us a pretty decent look at what players can expect from Guardians of the Galaxy. For more, you can also watch a short inside look video.
In Square Enix fashion, Guardians maintains an action/RPG aesthetic with multiple waves of enemies for Star-Lord and his team to defeat. Watching the trailers above may cause Marvel fans, disappointed by Marvel’s: Avengers, to worry. However, the two games have their distinct differences. We’ll highlight these in the next section.
So how will Guardians of the Galaxy play, and what sets it apart from Marvel’s: Avengers? First, Guardians of the Galaxy is 100% single-player. Players will control Star-Lord and won’t be able to switch between characters. Instead, they’ll use a selection wheel to launch powerful attacks from their teammates.
For example, while players are using Star-Lord’s jet boots to fly around the battlefield, simultaneously shooting enemies with his elemental blasters, he can trigger Drax to lay the smackdown on whichever enemy the player is targeting. So how does this teammate wheel work, and what do we know about it?
Star-Lord will ALWAYS have the Guardians around him. These include Drax, Gammora, Groot, and Rocket. In the bottom right corner of their screen, players will see their four teammates. They’ll select a teammate and then select a particular move.
Star-Lord’s teammates are hotkeyed to Square, Triangle, Circle, and X on the PlayStation controller (as seen in the trailer being played on a PlayStation console). Once selected, the same buttons will hotkey to four different abilities for that hero. While selecting moves, the battle will enter into slow motion, allowing you to think about what to do next. The fight will play out in real time as your teammates will control themselves via A.I.
Once players use one of their teammate’s abilities, it will enter into a short cooldown. How long this cooldown lasts will probably be determined by the move selected for that hero. Eidos-Montréal has not revealed any sort of skill-tree mechanic yet, nor a means to swap out abilities for Star-Lord’s teammates. However, we can expect as much to be included in the final product. This is a Square Enix game, after all.
Finally, once Star-Lord and the other Guardians have racked up enough damage, he’ll be able to trigger his Huddle Up ability. You can think of this like the Guardians Special ability as Star-Lord leaps into the air, pulls out his iconic cassette player, and launches into a frenzy of attacks. Backed by some of the best rock ‘n’ roll the 1980s had to offer (Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” is heard in the gameplay trailer), Star-Lord can use his teammates’ abilities without waiting for a cooldown. Defeating the final enemy in an encounter while Huddle Up is active will end the battle in a cinematic fashion.
Outside of combat, the Guardians will traverse linear play areas as they move between battles. Otherwise, their time will be spent bickering on the Star Ship. Players will make decisions that, like Mass Effect, impact how the rest of the game plays out.
For example, Drax grabs Rocket by the vest and gets ready to fling him across a vast canyon. It’s up to Star-Lord to stop Drax from tossing their furry teammate or let him launch Rocket like a shot put. In the gameplay trailer, we see the player encourage Drax to toss Rocket. A notification then pops up saying, “Rocket is furious that you let Drax throw him.” Later on, Rocket refuses to help Star-Lord, a decision that may have played out differently had Star-Lord told Drax to drop him. These kinds of decisions, according to developers, will have “light-hearted to haunting repercussions.”
Some lingering questions exist that future announcements and trailers may answer. For starters, will players be able to swap out teammates, or are we committed to using Drax, Gammora, Groot, and Rocket? You can watch an inside-look video here in which developers go in-depth about gameplay and development. Based on the dialogue and cinematics during cut scenes, exploration, and combat, there probably won’t be other guardians, like Mantis, added to the team.
Games in the style of Guardians of the Galaxy run the risk of going stale. Repetitive encounters and missions plague such titles, and are why Marvel’s: Avengers fell short with fans. The gameplay looks exciting, and the soundtrack sounds incredible, but that doesn’t change the fact that Guardians of the Galaxy still has to keep players entertained for hours on end. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a single-player game. There are no indications of multiplayer coming at launch nor in future content. Because players exclusively control Star-Lord, there is no way for other players to join a lobby to play as one of the other Guardians. From what developers are saying, it doesn’t sound like the ability to control another Guardian outside exists in the game code.
Having a successful launch is one thing; keeping the game relevant for the months to follow is a whole different battle. Games from 2020 like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla and Call of Duty: Warzone are still cranking out new content for players to enjoy. Will Guardians of the Galaxy be on par with those titles? Developers at Eidos-Montréal are committed to putting out a full game at launch. There will be no DLC or microtransactions associated with Guardians of the Galaxy. According to Senior Narrative Director Mary DeMarle:
“We’re all gamers too, and it was important to us that everything be available when you start the game… it was important to us that it’s all in the game and you can find it from day one.”
You can pre-order Guardians of the Galaxy for all platforms other than Nintendo Switch. There are three versions available for pre-order, each coming with its unique bonuses. They are the Standard, Deluxe, and Cosmic Deluxe editions.
Each edition of the game will come with the full game and the Throwback Guardians Outfit Pack as a universal pre-order bonus. But let’s dive into what the other editions will come with.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Deluxe edition
The Deluxe edition of the game will feature:
- The Hits: original video game soundtrack available for digital download
- Sun-Lord outfit for Star-Lord
- City-Lord outfit for Star-Lord
- The Art of the Game: mini artbook available for digital download
Guardians of the Galaxy Cosmic Deluxe edition
The Cosmic Deluxe edition will feature everything mentioned above and come with a SteelBook case featuring original artwork from comic book artist Marco Checchetto.
All in-game outfits mentioned above can be unlocked in-game. They are not reserved for those who pre-order the game. Ultimately, pre-ordering the game comes with the bonus artbook, which should pique the interest of die-hard Guardians of the Galaxy fans.