Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of decades, you know that for every great superhero, there’s a compelling origin story. While Marvel and DC typically explore these humble and not-so-humble beginnings (looking at you, Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne) in great detail in the films they release, video games have a tendency to speed right past them for the established heroes. Instead, games like Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Avengers focus on the origins of newer, lesser-known heroes like Miles Morales and Kamala Khan.
While we don’t know if Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is planning on moving any less iconic characters into the spotlight over the course of the story, Eidos-Montréal is assuming players have a baseline of familiarity with the core members of the team. However, since these are distinct takes on the versions we know from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we spoke to the development team about how this ragtag group of Guardians came together.
The story of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy starts about 12 years after a massive war that involved or affected nearly every civilization across the galaxy. While the war enveloped the cosmos and involved several factions on different sides, the primary participants were Thanos and the Chitauri going against the Kree and their allied civilizations. The lingering effects of this war are still evident throughout the galaxy, but positivity and opportunity is on the rise as they begin to heal and recover from the aftershocks of this war. Peter sees this period of healing as an opportunity to do his part to help rebuild the galaxy while making a little bit of money along the way.
“Each of the characters has a unique backstory tied to that,” executive narrative director Mary DeMarle says. “Marvel allowed us to reinvent the backstories of these characters so it would fit our narrative while still staying true to [them]. I mean, Star-Lord is a space pirate, former Ravager, he was kidnapped from Earth, et cetera. But we could kind of concretize everything into that galactic war.”
Just like with the Guardians as a group, it all starts with Peter Quill. Unlike in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where his father is Ego the Celestial living planet, Peter’s father in the game is the king of Spartax. At the very start of the war, Peter is kidnapped as a bargaining chip.
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Gamora, already one of the deadliest, fiercest women in the galaxy, was originally on Thanos’ side until she realized what his plan was. Once she sees her father for what he truly is, she joins the resistance. However, despite her assistance during the war, her family history leaves her feeling like an outsider after the conflict settles.
Drax’s backstory in the game is perhaps the most similar to his MCU origins out of any of the characters. The war took its pound of flesh from nearly everyone in the galaxy, but Drax was particularly affected, as he lost his entire family at the hands of Thanos’ forces. This leads to the Destroyer’s rampage against Thanos, and eventually his motivation for joining the Guardians.
Rocket and Groot were bounty hunters, and they begin following Peter Quill to try and collect a bounty on his head. However, Peter uses his silver tongue to convince the unlikely duo that they’ll not only be able to make a lot more money on his side, but they’ll have a lot more fun with him as well. However, they realize they need to recruit some powerful, feared people from across the galaxy if they want to be taken seriously. Because of this need to be marketable as true heroes for hire, they bring in Drax to serve as the muscle of the group. Then, when they reach out to Gamora, they’re able to convince her because she’s longing for a place for herself within the universe, despite her reservations that they may just end up rejecting her like everyone else in the galaxy had to that point.
The story picks up about a year after the group is formed. The five of them feel like they’re starting to really get to know one another, but there is definitely plenty of work to do to gel as a team. Now formed, Peter, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Groot begin calling themselves “The Guardians of the Galaxy” as a marketing ploy. “They have their business cards to prove it,” senior creative director Jean-François Dugas says. “They’re really legitimate heroes for hire, but as the game progresses and they discover [the main threat of the game], they will have to become more than a marketing ploy to really save the galaxy from its own demise.”
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy launches on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch (via the cloud), and PC on October 26. For more on the upcoming game from Eidos-Montréal, be sure to click on the image below to head to our coverage hub.