Square Enix spent an terrible lot of money and time to make Marvel’s Avengers, and 9 months later, its AAA game-as-a-service nonetheless doesn’t appear to be paying off. Avengers was only the start, although: This is a “multi-year, multi-game” deal, and the subsequent SE-Marvel title, Guardians of the Galaxy, has simply been introduced for an October twenty sixth launch. This time Eidos-Montréal is taking the reins and main the partnership in a really totally different route. Prior to the sport’s E3 unveiling as we speak, Eidos gave journalists an prolonged hands-off have a look at Guardians, and elaborated on its goals for the sport.

Off the bat, this can be a single-player, narrative-driven, action-adventure sport. Given Eidos-Montréal’s pedigree — it’s the studio liable for the ‘modern’ Deus Ex video games, together with Human Revolution and Mankind Divided — this in all probability shouldn’t come as a shock.

It wasn’t a given, although: Crystal Dynamics was recognized for the rebooted Tomb Raider video games earlier than hopping into microtransaction land with Avengers. Speaking of, Mary Demarle, senior narrative director at Eidos-Montréal, stated it was essential that gamers had the complete sport on day one, and made clear that “there isn’t going to be any DLC for this game, and there isn’t going to be any microtransactions.”

In Guardians of the Galaxy, you’ll play as Star-Lord, and Star-Lord solely. “It became very obvious very quickly that you need to play Star-Lord because [he’s] the heart of that team, he’s the human part of that team, which we can identify with,” Demarle stated.

Action performs out within the third particular person, with an over-the-shoulder perspective. In fight, the opposite Guardians will battle for themselves, however as their chief, you’ll be capable of command them on how finest to strategy a battle and set off their distinctive skills. This occurs on the fly, with time slowing to a crawl as you navigate via these fight menus utilizing the face buttons in your controller. While I’ve solely seen a few fights, enemies do look like of the bullet-sponge selection — so Guardians shares at the least one trait with Avengers.

Outside of the motion, the “adventure” a part of the sport additionally leans on the distinctive crew dynamic of the Guardians. In one phase, Star-Lord had to determine one of the best ways to make it throughout a ravine. He opted to have Drax throw Rocket throughout to activate a bridge on the opposite facet. After this occurred, the sport threw up a TellTale-like “Rocket is furious that you let Drax throw him” notification within the top-left of the show.

These selections, coupled with lots of Mass Effect-style (or, Deus Ex-style, if we’re being fairer) selections throughout conversations and lower scenes, showcases a deeper relationship system the place you’ll must steadiness the wants of your crew all through the sport. “You are going to be at the heart of every social interaction that they have … you have to cheer them up through some of the mechanics that we have when things aren’t going so well,” Demarle stated. In addition to straight-up combating, Demarle added you’ll be capable of “boost” your crew’s morale “in order to win things in a better way, by dealing with the characters themselves.”

Not a lot is thought concerning the story but. It takes place “several years after a massive galactic war, where the universe is still dealing with the repercussions of that.” The Guardians, as a gaggle, have been collectively for lower than a yr as “heroes for hire,” earlier than they mess one thing up and set off a “chain of cataclysmic events” that you just as Star-Lord have to forestall from destroying the universe.

At this level, it’s in all probability time to deal with the “that’s not Chris Pratt” elephant within the room. As in Square Enix’s Avengers, the character designs and voices will not be the Hollywood incarnations. Instead, Rocket, Gamora and co. pull parts of their likenesses from each the comics and the MCU.

Despite understanding all the characters earlier than they ever appeared on display screen, the MCU is so pervasive in our tradition that the heroes in Avengers, who had been very near their Hollywood counterparts in all however face, made me really feel like I used to be cosplaying because the Avengers, slightly than embodying them.

In Guardians, this isn’t as huge of a difficulty, as the vast majority of characters are extra identifiable by their species than their facial options. Drax has a much less vascular design, and his character and character seems to be a little bit nearer to his roots than the straight comedian reduction he supplies within the films. Gamora’s costume is considerably much less Hot Topic than within the MCU, though she retains her black-red ombre hair. Also, Rocket has a viking goat beard now? There’s nonetheless a component of cosplay right here — Star-Lord’s look is similar to the flicks, and all the Guardians’ voices will take some getting used to — however the impact is general much less jarring than it was in Avengers.

One space the sport is leaning closely on the MCU for is music. It’s performed an enormous half in each of the Guardians of the Galaxy films to date, regardless of probably not being a factor within the comics. (That’s modified extra just lately, because the comics themselves have been closely influenced by the recognition of the movies.)

The presentation featured two ‘80s classics in “Holding Out for a Hero” and “Bad Reputation.” The latter song was triggered in the middle of gameplay when Star-Lord initiated a “huddle” that led to the whole crew unleashing a flurry of attacks on an enemy to the backing vocals of Joan Jett. “The licensed music isn’t only a passive factor in our sport,” Demarle stated. “It actually has an integral role in some of the action.” Demarle didn’t broaden on these feedback, however did particularly point out Kiss, Iron Maiden, Wham!, Blondie and Pat Benatar when speaking concerning the soundtrack.

In case it wasn’t already apparent, we had been extraordinarily impressed with the presentation Square Enix placed on. It’s clearly early days, however the tone and voice performing captures the spirit of the Guardians properly. The fight seems very like any fashionable third-person motion sport, however at the least Eidos is attempting to spice issues up a little bit with the crew instructions, selections and puzzle-solving. At occasions it felt like they had been straight addressing the response to Marvel’s Avengers. It’s just like EA’s very apparent messaging surrounding Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order following the damaging response to Star Wars Battlefront II’s… .

Hopefully we’ll see much more of the sport earlier than its launch. I’m intrigued to see how dynamic the story is given the various, many selections concerned, and what influence this “killer” ‘80s soundtrack really has on gameplay. Guardians of the Galaxy is coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series, PS4 and PS5 consoles, in addition to PC, on October twenty sixth 2021.