In Eidos Montreal’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, the studio didn’t exactly copy the characters from the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), although you can see that inspiration was taken here and there. But did you know that in the early stages, Eidos wanted to deviate from character design so much that it scared Marvel?
This tidbit was featured in the latest issue of EDGE magazine (issue #374), where Senior Narrative Director Mary DeMarlet, Creative Director Jean-Francois Dugas, and Art Director Bruno Gauthier-Leblanc talked about the action of 2021.
While Marvel was generally supportive of the studio’s ideas, some early character plans were scrapped.
“I like to work like this: I twist the dial to 12 on concepts,” Gauthier-Leblanc chuckles, “and then put them back, instead of doing one, two, three, four.” Groot, he said, was “scary”, but the artists realized that his appearance did not match the soft giant personality that the writers endowed him with.
We had a fat Drax. Our first version of Star-Lord looked like an astronaut, with an almost complete astronaut suit. And we had a human-sized Rocket, which was weird. So, yes, we scared the hell out of them the first time.
As we can see in the game, the early concepts didn’t make it out of development. Bruno Gauthier-Leblanc also talked about how the studio and Marvel hit the sweet spot in character design as early as the second phase of development.
But they did not immediately find a common language: by the second pitch, both sides were almost in agreement. And Marvel’s own feedback proved helpful when it came to alternate costumes.
A lot of the Marvel costumes were almost fanboyish and offered us things like “Oh, in this issue in the 1970s, Star-Lord wore this – it’s going to be amazing” and we were like, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
While it would be interesting to see what could have come out of Eidos Montreal’s far-flung designs, it all worked out in the end, as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game exceeded all expectations.