Nearly half of developer Square Enix's 40-minute E3 showcase was dedicated to showing off Guardians of the Galaxy, an upcoming action title inspired by the Marvel superhero team of the same name. Viewers got not just a reveal trailer and release date but an extended demo focusing on the game's squad-based combat and path-affecting choice system.
Described as a "single-player, story-driven game," Guardians of the Galaxy focuses on the incarnation of the team popularized by the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot. (Mantis, another character who joins the Guardians in the films, was also seen in the trailer). However, the game versions of the Guardians are slightly different from their MCU incarnations - notably, Rocket has a cool beard and Star-Lord looks a lot less like Chris Pratt than some fans may have been expecting.
The E3 demo footage shows off the Guardians facing down, not any of their iconic comic enemies, but a simple shortage of funds. They decide to earn some quick cash by pretending to sell either Rocket or Groot to Lady Hellbender, a collector of oddities. The player, as Star-Lord, is tasked with making the decision, and is even given the chance to change their minds at least once prior to delivering the "cargo" to Hellbender. (Was anyone else totally upset when Star-Lord ended up choosing the affable and friendly Groot over Rocket, who had spent the entirety of the demo mouthing off at him?)
It's definitely an interesting-looking game, with gameplay that is mechanically single-player (the player only controls Quill) but manages to create a squad-based feel (Star-Lord issues orders to the other members of the Guardians throughout each fight). The team's signature snark is there, they've got some colorful alien worlds to explore, and the game already promises to feature a catchy soundtrack of classic hits, with Bonnie Tyler's "Holding Out for a Hero" and Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" already making an appearance.
The problem? Square Enix spent way too much time showing off Guardians, shafting pretty much every other title in their lineup in the process. We barely saw anything of the highly anticipated Babylon's Fall or Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin. Upcoming mobile titles, including Hitman Sniper: The Shadows and Nier: Re[in]carnation, were brushed past. Remasters of the first six Final Fantasy titles were given about as many seconds of airtime. Several titles, including Final Fantasy XVI and Project Triangle Strategy (as far as we know, still a working title), were not shown at all. (At least there's some hope for the latter during next week's Nintendo Direct event....right?)
Watching the showcase, the demo footage just went on and on and on, running for close to twenty minutes and showing off scene after scene of the Guardians fighting aliens, arguing with one another, listening to music, or all three at once. By the time the Cosmic Deluxe version of the game was announced, many players were so sick and tired of Guardians of the Galaxy that the Twitch comments were full of "I was going to buy this game, but now I'm not."
At least we did get a solid release date - Guardians of the Galaxy will arrive on October 26, 2021 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
What did you think of Square Enix's E3 presentation? Do you agree that Guardians of the Galaxy hogged a little too much of the spotlight? Did something you were hoping to see get passed over? Let us know!