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With great games based on The Walking Dead, Fables, and Batman in their portfolio, Telltale Games has plenty of experience adapting comic book properties. However, the recently announced Guardians of the Galaxy series will be the developer’s first excursion into the world of Marvel.
During PAX East this year, executive producer Justin Lambros and Marvel Games’ creative director Bill Rosemann discussed how the five-episode series came to be and what fans can expect from the narrative-driven look at these iconic characters. This Guardians story will be set outside the existing Marvel Cinematic Universe and won’t adapt any storylines from the comics or cartoon series. The writers intended for it to serve as a player’s first Guardians story, but full of Easter eggs and nods to both characters and locations for longtime fans. We have already seen the Milano, Knowhere, and heard references to the Nova Corps.
Rosemann said that Guardians was the best Marvel property for Telltale to handle because it’s about a family, albeit a surrogate family, much like the relationship between Lee and Clementine in The Walking Dead.
“The Guardians feel alone,” he added. “They’re all misfits with no family until they meet each other. And they are all badasses, but have their own weakness.”
The relationship between each member of the team will maintain the property’s trademark humor, but it will also dig into their emotional pasts, showing how each arrived at this point in their lives. The plot begins with a mysterious object uncovered in the first episode that each Guardian wants for a different reason, and the rest of the series will test their boundaries.
“There is a symmetry between the number of episodes and number of characters [on the team],” Lambros teased. “And we used this coincidence to focus on a different individual for each episode.”
Although players won’t necessarily be switching perspectives between Star Lord, Gamora, Rocket, Drax, and Groot over the course of the series, each character will be thoroughly highlighted in some way. Concept art shows Peter Quill using jet boots to fly around open environments, a mechanic useful for solving more complex puzzles than previous Telltale Games. However, fans shouldn’t expect the series to be heavy on action sequences.
Unlike the violent M-rated take on Batman, Telltale is aiming for a broader PG-13 audience with Guardians. Over the course of the five episodes, multiple villains will be introduced, including a character Rosemann described only as a recent addition to the Marvel universe not yet seen outside of the comics, who happens to be the last of her kind.
Like most other Telltale games, Guardians of the Galaxy will rely on different options and player choices to tell its story. An all-star voicing cast was recruited for the project, including Nolan North (Nathan Drake, Uncharted) as Rocket Raccoon. Each character’s dialogue will be determined by the player, including Groot’s.
“You might think that would be an easy one to cast,” Lambros said of the somewhat limited possible combination of words. “But trying to find what emotions were behind what was being said is hard.” Ultimately Adam Harrington, who played the main character in Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us, was cast as everyone’s favorite talking tree.
The final point the team brought up about the game was how integral ’70s music is to the Guardians franchise. Peter Quill’s Walkman is back for this game, and players should expect to hear some iconic licensed music, even though specific examples weren’t given. An extended look at the first episode of Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy will debut at SXSW, with a release scheduled for this spring.
AJ Moser is a Brooklyn-based reporter who focuses on video games, movies, and internet culture. His work has appeared in Paste Magazine, Game Informer, and Big Spaceship.