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Why Guardians of the Galaxy game only lets you play as Star-Lord

Do you only play as Star-Lord in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy game?

Star-Lord is the heart of Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy game.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game was announced at E3 2021, and fans at home quickly realised that there seems to be just one playable character in the game – that character is Peter Quill, who’d much rather you called him Star-Lord.

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“You are Star-Lord…” That’s a sentence that has popped up in official trailers and product descriptions ever since the game was announced, with the only gameplay footage that we’ve seen putting players in the jetpack-like boots of Star-Lord (who is played by Chris Pratt in the MCU movies, but is here reimagined for a new gaming-only continuity).

The implication seems to be that Star-Lord is the only playable character in this big new action-adventure game, which comes to us from Square Enix and Eidos Montreal, with players not being able to play as anyone else. This may come as a surprise to some fans, not least because Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Gamora and Drax are all present in the game as well.

All of this points to one big question – is Star-Lord the only playable character in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game, and why? – which we’re going to try and answer below. And we’ll also touch upon why this is the case.

Do you only play as Star-Lord in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game?

Certainly, all the signs suggest that Star-Lord is the only character that you’ll be outright controlling in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy game. You’ll experience the game from Quill’s perspective, with your decisions and actions defining how Star-Lord behaves throughout the game’s story and combat moments.

During the Square Enix slot in the E3 2021 schedule, 11 minutes of gameplay footage from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy was shown, which gives us a pretty clear idea of how the game will work and how the other Guardians will factor into the experience despite being non-playable characters.

Take a look at the video below if you’ve got time. It’ll definitely help you wrap your head around the mechanics of the game, which do include a few ways for you to influence the other Guardians without becoming them.

Sure, Star-Lord is the player-character in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t get to interact with the other members of the team and impact what they do.

The storytelling in the game appears to be very decision-based, with Quill having to make various choices to define how the whole team approach a task. For instance, in the footage shown at E3, Star-Lord gets the casting vote when the gang has to decide whether to sell Groot or Rocket to make some quick cash.

Of course, the Guardians will go back and rescue their sold-off squadmate later, but this sequence is a good example of Quill being in the leadership role, which means he can influence his teammates without you having to control them. Rather than changing gameplay perspectives, you control the other Guardians with your decisions.

Similarly, in combat situations, Star-Lord is able to give instructions to his teammates, telling each of them which enemies to attack. So again, even though you are not overtly controlling them in the traditional gaming way, you are still impacting their movements in a sense.

If you were picturing a Guardians of the Galaxy game that would let you flit between characters on a whim (like a LEGO Star Wars game, for example) that is very much not what this game is.

This does mark a change in tactics from the publishers at Square Enix, who previously let us control a whole roster of heroes in Marvel’s Avengers game. Even in that game, though, you stuck with one character in each mission most of the time.

Why can’t you play as anyone else in the Guardians of the Galaxy game?

As for the reasons behind this decision, the game’s senior creative director, Jean-François Dugas, said this to IGN: “We started to discuss different opportunities like multiplayer or co-op. But we were really looking at what Guardians of the Galaxy is, and it’s all about those characters.

“It’s all about colourful personalities clashing with each other, and sometimes getting along. It’s a mix of all these things, their qualities, their flaws. And we thought ‘It would be freaking awesome if you could be one of the Guardians, and put you at the centre of that to be surrounded by those characters’. And this is how it came to be.”

And so, you can see how the developers reached the decision of only having one playable character, rather than having multiple playable characters or even multiplayer options. Having the other characters be fully-fleshed-out NPCs also allows you to try and step into that leadership role, which isn’t exactly a formal role or particularly easy.

“You’re not leading them officially,” Dugas notes, “and sometimes the Guardians will make decisions on their own. But we talk about this kind of ecosystem in which [the other Guardians] can be characters on their own, make their own decisions, have their own reactions. And you, as the so-called leader, as the player, decide how to react to those things. We thought the purpose of that was really really exciting, so we dived into that to explore what it would mean for the game.”

If you were flitting around between all the characters, or all the characters were controlled by other people online, you wouldn’t get the same feeling of being one individual character surrounded by their recognisable bickering teammates and trying to make it work.

There’s no reason why the Guardians of the Galaxy game can’t be good, though, despite the fact that some of us might’ve wanted more playable characters. We’ll just have to wait and see how much we like it when the game launches this October. Watch this space for more news!

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