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Square Enix reveals Guardians of the Galaxy game at E3 2021

guardians of the galaxy
(Image credit: Square Enix)

The first game we saw from Square Enix at E3 2021 was Guardians of the Galaxy, a third-person action/adventure game that casts you as the Marvel superhero Star-Lord. Like Marvel's Avengers, also from Square Enix, Guardians of the Galaxy isn't explicitly based on the comics, movies or cartoons, instead weaving a new tale with familiar characters.

We know a lot about the game so far. You'll spend part of your time fighting off intergalactic foes, and part of your time navigating the social complexities of the rest of your crew: Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer and Groot. They'll also aid you in combat.

The game will come out on October 26 for Xbox and PlayStation consoles, as well as PC. Square Enix revealed a handful of pre-order bonuses and collector's editions, which will give you extra skins, a soundtrack, an art book and so forth.

guardians of the galaxy

(Image credit: Square Enix)

During Square Enix's E3 2021 livestream, the company showed off both a story trailer and a prerecorded gameplay section from Guardians of the Galaxy, which Eidos Montreal is developing. From gameplay and story perspectives, the game looks similar to Marvel's Avengers, with third-person combat and a new take on classic Marvel characters. What's different this time around is that Guardians of the Galaxy seems to be a traditional single-player game rather than an ongoing live service title.

From a story perspective, Guardians of the Galaxy covers pretty familiar territory. The trailer showed Star-Lord and his shipmates bickering amongst themselves, traveling around the galaxy, running afoul of law enforcement, facing off with villains and so forth. 

Gameplay in Guardians of the Galaxy focuses on third-person combat. You take control of Star-Lord as he runs, jumps and flies around open-ended levels, fighting off enemies with his dual pistols along the way. You can coordinate attacks with your teammates, stagger enemies over time, dodge their attacks and so forth. If you've played a modern action game, there doesn't seem to be anything too shocking here.

What's potentially more interesting is that you'll occasionally have to make story decisions involving your teammates. For example: During the gameplay demo, Star-Lord had to decide whether they would "sell" either Groot or Rocket Raccoon to a notorious collector to earn some much-needed money. (The Guardians would stage a jailbreak after the fact.) Deciding to sell Groot would please and anger certain teammates; deciding to sell Rocket would please or anger different ones.

(In this way, Square Enix's Guardians of the Galaxy seems similar to Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy from a few years ago, which also asked you to make decisions that would please or alienate your teammates. However, that game didn't have a dedicated combat system, relying instead on infrequent quick-time events.)

guardians of the galaxy

(Image credit: Square Enix)

In any case, that's what we've seen of Guardians of the Galaxy so far: Some combat, some dialogue and a whole lot of wisecracking teammates. Marvel's Avengers had solid gameplay, although the live-service elements in the game didn't sit well with everyone. Since Guardians of the Galaxy seems to adopt some of the same gameplay mechanics, maybe fans will be more receptive to the latest installment in Square Enix's Marvel universe. We'll check out the game for ourselves in October, and hopefully get a chance to learn some more before then.

Stay tuned to Tom's Guide this week for more E3 2021 coverage.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.