Guardians of the Galaxy: For Want of a Movie Tie-In Game

Guardians of the Galaxy has a tie-in game for mobile you can pick up right now, but what if Marvel and Disney set their sights higher?

Article by Mike Williams, .

Before mobile gaming was the big thing, the movie tie-in game happened with alarming regularly. You could always expect them on consoles and handhelds right around the movie's release date, but you had no idea if they were a work of art or an impending tragedy. For every Aladdin, Goldeneye, and Chronicles of Riddick, there's a Friday the 13th, Catwoman, or Charlie's Angels waiting in the wings to cause nightmares.

At some point, throwing away money on developing console-bound movie adaptations became a bad idea. That's when mobile entered the picture, allowing publishers and developers to build tie-in games for far cheaper. For us enthusiast types, these games run completely underneath the radar.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon isn't half-bad.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, directed by James Gunn, is out in theatres tomorrow. If you're a comics fan like I am, you probably have your early screening tickets for tonight in-hand. While swimming in the hype, I decided to take a look at the official Guardians of the Galaxy game on mobile platforms. What I found was Guardians of the Galaxy: The Universal Weapon, a pretty solid role-playing game. It has good character designs, decent gameplay, and a number of characters and items to unlock for only $4.99. Plus, no additional microtransactions!

The Universal Weapon had me pondering what I would've done with the Guardians of the Galaxy name and when my mind wanders it really goes off the range. Here's a few directions I could see a Guardians of the Galaxy game going, split into different eras of gaming. In each era, I've picked a template game that I'd map the Guardians of the Galaxy property onto.

NES Era - G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor

Much like G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor, Guardians of the Galaxy on NES would pit Peter Quill (Star-Lord) and his ragtag band against the Kree army. You'd start with Star-Lord, but quickly unlock other team members you could switch between at any time. Each character would have their own specialty: Star-Lord as your basic ranged character, Rocket with spread fire, Gamora and Drax as two different flavors of melee, and Groot with regenerating health. Replace the Bionic Commando-style map with a star map and you have a winner.

Super NES/Sega Genesis Era - Super Star Wars

Unlike the NES Era outing, this Guardians of the Galaxy would be based on the painfully-hard Super Star Wars games. You'd play each member of the team in separate story-based stages, though some areas would allow you to choose between teammates. Of course, you'd run up against enemies that were barely seen or mentioned in the film as full-fledged bosses - like the probe droid boss in Super Empire Strikes Back - because there's really only so many notable bad guys in a single film. At least that's better than Vader turning into a space scorpion in Star Wars for NES.

PlayStation/N64 Era - Valkyrie Profile

A bit of turn-based RPG combat mixed with a healthy dose of platforming dungeon exploration? The first Valkyrie Profile was a wonderfully-unique RPG for its time. If I was making a Guardians of the Galaxy game in the PlayStation era, this is the game I would shamelessly steal from. You can match Valkyrie Profile's 24 playable characters with the Guardians film cast, but you could pull in comic-only Guardians like Agent Venom, Captain Marvel, and Quasar (Phyla-Vell) to pad things out. Of all the different games on this list, this is probably the one I want to see most. The Universal Weapon is in the same ballpark, but it's not as robust.

PlayStation 2/Xbox/GameCube Era - Brute Force

My best bet for this era would be a game in the style of Microsoft's Brute Force for Xbox. If you don't know much about Brute Force, it was a third-person squad-based shooter with four player coop and supposedly "the next Halo". There were four members on the team, each with their own basic weapon and special ability: the reptilian Brutus has medium weapons with a special ability that heals him and increases damage for example. The Guardians have five members, but you can just move Groot off into a summonable ability and call it a day. Outside of that tiny detail, the rest of the Guardians all map well to the four different slots in Brute Force. It wasn't a great game, but with four players it was a ton of fun.

PlayStation 3/Xbox 360/Wii Era - Mass Effect 2

You knew this was coming right? Bioware would never step up and make another licensed RPG when it could work on its own IP, but I'd pay cold, hard cash for a Bioware Guardians of the Galaxy game. One highly-skilled rogue and his/her crew versus everybody else, with the fate of the galaxy in their hands? A setting whose centerpieces include a station that's a haven for criminals and malcontents and the place where the galaxy's supercops get their orders? I have no clue if I'm talking about the Guardians or the crew of the Normandy. This would be an amazing game, but it's also the most unlikely game on this list.

What would you like to see from a Guardians of the Galaxy game? That's assuming you'd want a Guardians game at all.

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Comments 9

  • Avatar for hal9k #1 hal9k 3 years ago
    All I know is, there had better be both Marvel and Star Wars in Kingdom Hearts 3. And it had better come out before the year 2020, or Disney will swallow another franchise and Square will have to start right back over again.Edited July 2014 by hal9k
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  • Avatar for kidgorilla #2 kidgorilla 3 years ago
    Why not cobble together both the GI Joe game with Mass Effect? I'm thinking an NES platforming game where you hop between planets taking on story- and side missions. Throw in some story about the seedy underbelly of the universe (and maybe an Infinity Gem) and I'd be on that train
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  • Avatar for Ohoni #3 Ohoni 3 years ago
    You know, I love the Guardians, but I'm damned glad there is no launch tie-in game, because those always suck. Assuming the movie meets expectations, there will be a market for a Guardians game out there, but with any luck they can get to work on a tie-in to the sequel, with plenty of time in between to make it suck less.

    I'd definitely like to see a squad-based Borderlands-style action RPG, with both crop-in co-op, and also single player squad mode where you always have a full party, and they are AI unless another player wants to take one.

    In the meantime, there are also Guardians characters for Disney Infinity, and Marvel Heroes now has Rocket and Starlord as playable characters, and Gamora, Drax, and Groot as side-kicks you can summon with any character.
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  • Avatar for Captain-Gonru #4 Captain-Gonru 3 years ago
    @Ohoni You bring up a good point. The movie tie-in game doesn't need to be its own game necessarily. Consider the first Lego Batman. Many of the levels were loosely (or not so loosely) based on previous movies and stories, without needing to follow a rigid plot line of any single movie. That said, I did really enjoy the last Hulk game. Iron Man, meanwhile, had some decent ideas, but needed more time in the oven.
    As far as mapping this franchise onto an existing "frame", I think Fire Emblem would do well, too. The upcoming Avengers, particularly if it brings together that current roster with this one, is crying out for a Marvel Ultimate Alliance sequel.
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  • Avatar for Warlock82 #5 Warlock82 3 years ago
    Technically there is going to be a Guardians of the Galaxy console tie-in game :P It's part of Disney Infinity 2.0 coming next month :)
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  • Avatar for duanethomas01 #6 duanethomas01 3 years ago
    Zen Pinball table is available now.
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  • Avatar for Spooky-Toast #7 Spooky-Toast 3 years ago
    Oh, movie tie-ins. Despite being a fundamental part of my gaming literacy (or perhaps illiteracy?) as a child, movie games seem noticeably absent today.

    I feel the mobile platform is a great space for these smaller titles; I'd always prefer a small, more polished experienced catered to the platform (in this case, a bite-sized adventure) to a console iteration where the developers find themselves out of their depth.

    I'd love Guardians fandom to inspire creators to take their time on more original uses of these characters (ie. the Arkham games). Beenox's most recent Amazing outings have shown how a talented developer suffers on the strict timetable of film releases.
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  • Avatar for Captain-Gonru #8 Captain-Gonru 3 years ago
    @Spooky-Toast Y'know, I don't get the strict timetable thing, though. I expressed this before, too. How is it that I can know about a movie in the works for years before its release, but the tie-in game to said release always has the same "this is the best we could do with only six months" feel?
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  • Avatar for Spooky-Toast #9 Spooky-Toast 3 years ago
    Enjoying the mobile game! Everyone should check it out for $2-$5!

    Was pleasantly surprised by the number of fun references to the 2008 comic book series.
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