Editorials Reviews Previews Essays Worth Playing
Essays 05 November 2021, 18:32

author: Darius Matusiak

A wannabe fighter pilot, racing driver, and a spec-op; an adventurer and a space marine – hence, a gamer. I’ve been playing games since Wing Commander, and writing since Destiny.

Guardians of Success - How Eidos Montreal Made Guardians of the Galaxy a Great Game

Game adaptation of blockbuster movies usually end up various flops. That's why the creators from Eidos went their own way and made Guardians of the Galaxy totally fresh. Their version appealed both to many players and Marvel itself. What's the secret?

Down with the routine!

Sometimes, even the best games are riddled with boring gameplay patterns. Just think of the brilliant The Last of Us or Mass Effect 2. Places where gunfights would take place were clearly telegraphed by the very level design; we approached a location with lots of convenient cover, and the sudden appearance of enemies was sure as the sun. Meanwhile, the devs of Guardians have tried to avoid this kind of lazy design and strove to make the narrative paramount.

Patrick Fortier (senior gameplay director): We wanted to find the heart of that franchise, and for us, it was the characters, their personalities and interactions between them. It guided us towards a more narrative-driven action-adventure game, rather than gameplay-driven action adventure. Sometimes it means taking a step back. We never looked at the game like: “How much combat is there, how many puzzles are there, how many mechanics are there, how many upgrades…?”. It was always about the overall experience. It is about having an adventure that feels natural, just expresses itself, makes sense in terms of the story.

The moments of combat in Guardians were not meant to happen in obvious places. - Guardians of Success - How Eidos Montreal Made Guardians of the Galaxy a Great Game - dokument - 2021-11-05
The moments of combat in Guardians were not meant to happen in obvious places.

From the player point of view, you are never in a situation where you know exactly “Oh, now there’s going to be combat, now there’s going to be this.” It is very organic and hand-crafted. And in combat, you really are not the most powerful character on the battlefield. It is important to use your guardians. It is all about reading the battlefield, noticing who needs help, which enemy is more menacing, who can I lend a hand to.

There are is a lot of different elements in the game that exemplify how we approach things. We like to do a lot “Show – don’t tell,” which is like: you enter a room, an environment, and get a feeling about the events that transpired there, people who lived there. There is a lot of readables, personal journals from other characters, you can always figure out what’s going on. It is a wider, bigger idea of world-building. We are not just doing a set full of gameplay props just to get to the end of level. We are trying to build a world you can really project yourself into, that you can fully explore.

Rich dialogue, not empty talk

A certain pitfall that many games fall into are monologues of the protagonists that are supposed to set the stage; cheeap one-liners that lone heroes make, or lengthy expositions that add nothing to the plot nor the atmosphere. There's plenty of chatter in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy , but it's one of the game's biggest strengths – all because the dialogue is based on the chemistry within a group of fleshed-out characters, much like in the once unmatched Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

Jean-François Dugas (senior creative director): We started to brainstorm and talk about the DNA of the guardians, about what makes the GOTG experience unique. Soon enough, we understood that is not about their superpowers, about fighting, or things like that. It is really all about the interaction between the characters. They are a bunch of colorful people, they have to get along together and eventually save the Galaxy. So, how can we show that it is all about them? [...]

The characters in the game have all too much reason to constantly comment on something. - Guardians of Success - How Eidos Montreal Made Guardians of the Galaxy a Great Game - dokument - 2021-11-05
The characters in the game have all too much reason to constantly comment on something.

In our game, we wanted the story to feel like you were living it directly, as if you were in the middle of it, not only as a player, but as one of the characters. For that, we developed a huge dialogue system in which, as you traverse through the game, the characters will react to things they see and their experience through the adventure, and you will always have the opportunity to chip in, make some calls, or just give your opinion on the subject that’s being discussed this very moment. For us, what is important with that is sometimes it will have consequences, but sometimes it’s just about the role-play, keeping the player engaged.

Whether you agree with Gamora or Rocket or anyone else is really up to you to figure out. Sometimes it’s just the cosmetics, the flavor of things. But sometimes it goes deeper, because when you have to make a serious call, it’s going to bring consequences in the gameplay, in the narrative, in how it all plays out. […] Those decisions can affect players down the road when they will encounter similar situations. The story experience will vary from player to player depending on their choices. And even the cosmetics choices are significant because we track every choice of the player and there might be something related to that even beyond the credits. I think it's the kind of game worth playing from start to finish just because it’s rewarding on so many levels.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy

See/Add Comments