One of the most annoying things about the MCU is the homogenization of how Marvel’s superheroes look across the board. You can see it in the Marvel’s Avengers game, where the standard shells look like they’ve been changed just enough to avoid copyright issues. Marvel’s Spider-Man also replaced the original Peter Parker model with one that looks a bit like Tom Holland.
However, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy made a conscious effort to create its own character designs. That’s why Starlord looks like Manchester United’s Luke Shaw, Gamora looks much closer to her cartoon avatar, Drax looks like a buff Jason Statham instead of Dave Bautista, and Rocket… still pretty much looks like a talking raccoon – but that was a chance he didn’t want.
As discovered by GamesRadar, art director Bruno Gauthier-Leblanc explained to Edge Magazine that the team “didn’t want to be influenced by Marvel. Because that’s the best way to make something generic or just a copy.” Gauthier-Leblanc said the inspiration for the visuals came from 90s 3D art games. This was specifically kept in mind to avoid looking like an MCU production, or the Guardians looking like their movie counterparts.
Marvel was totally on board with this, but there were some early ideas that needed to be reworked. “We had a fat Drax. Our first version of Star-Lord was like a cosmonaut, with almost a full cosmonaut suit,” Gauthier-Leblanc said. “And we had a human-sized rocket, which was weird. So yeah, we scared the hell out of them the first time.”
However, everyone agreed when the second pitch came. There were still some areas that needed to be worked on. Especially Gamora’s character, according to narrative director Mary DeMarle, who mentioned that “for the longest time, we struggled to really understand Gamora. She’s the deadliest woman in the galaxy — but what does that mean?”
To finally bring the whole team together, the developers introduced the Huddle mechanic. “The idea was that Star-Lord would be a little cheesy and actually pass off some of the lyrics as his own,” said composer Richard Jacques. “Then we have this song about me writing it [plays] underneath it to really pump up the team and it all comes together and really embodies who Star-Lord is.”
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