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Video Game / Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series

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Everybody was dancing in the moonlight...

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series is an episodic adventure game by Telltale Games, based on the Marvel Comics franchise of the same name. While not part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it clearly takes its major inspiration from that version of the team.

Originally announced as an unnamed collaboration between Marvel and Telltale in 2015, the project was officially confirmed in December 2016 through a teaser trailer aired at The Games Awards. Like most other Telltale games, it consists of five episodes total, released monthly.

While jamming out to his usual tunes, Peter Quill, A.K.A. Star-Lord, receives a distress call from the Nova Corps, who inform him that they've just been attacked by the Mad Titan himself, Thanos, who's out to find a rare and mysterious artifact known as the Eternity Forge. Taking up the offer in exchange for a clean slate, Star-Lord rounds up the rest of the Guardians (Gamora, Drax, Groot, and Rocket Racoon) and heads off to take down the fearsome foe once and for all.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Yondu is an amazingly much better parent with a stable relationship with his foster son Peter in this version as opposed to the Ambiguously Evil Jerk with a Heart of Gold he's known as.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The Nova Corps in this game are based on the ones from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, where they are not powered by the Nova Force unlike their comic counterpart. However, a surprising example comes from Thanos, who in the comics, especially by the ones written by his creator Jim Starlin, he's a very powerful and smart villain who can overpower and outsmart groups like the Avengers and the Annihilators. Here he struggles with the Guardians and he's killed with Rocket's BFG at the start of the first episode.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Rocket as The Nicknamer has several for his friends. Some examples are "Pete" and "PQ" for Peter and "Gams" for Gamora.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: If you destroy the Eternity Forge, then after defeating Hala at the end of the game, she starts to hallucinate that Peter is her son Bal'Dinn and begs for his forgiveness for all the crimes she committed in his name before she dies.
  • Arson Murderand Jaywalking: At the start of the game, Peter may end up getting a list of his many crimes he committed read to him by the Nova Corps, which includes impersonating a Nova Corps officer, breaking out of prison... and 371 counts of illegally parking a spacecraft.
  • Being Good Sucks: Rocket has this attitude throughout the majority of the story, especially if you choose the Pet the Dog moments.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Peter's mother, who is one of the most innocent characters in the whole game actually smacks a bully to the point of tears for harassing Peter.
  • Big Bad: Hala the Accuser, one of the last remaining members of the thought to be extinct Kree.
  • Body Horror: If you chose to destroy the Eternity Forge, then Hala will suffer severe burns trying to retrieve the device, resulting in her getting deformed by an explosion.
  • Book Ends: The game both begins and ends with the Nova Corps calling the Guardians to beg for their assistance.
  • The Bore: Mantis attempts to explain her life story to the others, but everyone has a hard time staying awake when she talks.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: In Episode 4, the strife over Drax's death or Groot's critical injuries cause every Guardian but Peter and (depending on your choices) either Gamora or Rocket quitting the team.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: After getting stabbed by Hala and reuniting with the rest of the team, all Peter says is "Hey, guys."
  • Central Theme: "You don't have to close yourself off from your past, but don't let it consume you."
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In Episode 5, the final fight against Hala is completely in the Guardians favor. The Guardians, having resolved all of their differences earlier, work together to quickly disarm Hala of her floating spear that caused them so much trouble in their previous fights. Without that spear, Hala has no abilities that make her especially dangerous and the Guardians make short work of her.
  • Curse Cut Short: In the confrontation with Thanos, Peter has these words for him as he is firing Rocket's gun.
    Peter: "Smile, you son of a - "
    • And again, after Peter seemingly dies but is revived by the Eternity Forge and the first episode ends.
      Peter: Holy sh-!
      • Only to be subverted as the first line immediately after the Previously on… segment in episode 2.
      Peter: —it!
  • Death by Origin Story: Everyone's is prominently discussed (including one that didn't happen in the comics), and conveniently gives them a motive for wanting to use the Eternity Forge.
  • Disney Death: Peter is seemingly killed at the end of the first episode, only to be revived by the powers of the Eternity Forge.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The titles of the episodes, unsurprisingly.
    • "Tangled Up in Blue" refers to encounters with both the Nova Corps (space cops, the "boys in blue") and the Kree, whose skin is blue.
  • Equivalent Exchange: The myths of the Eternity Forge say that it has the power to bring back the dead. However, someone must be sacrificed in their place. To bring back the Kree race, Hala will have to take the lives of billions. The myth is proven true. The Eternity Forge was charged when Thanos died holding it, which allowed the Forge to resurrect Peter after Hala killed him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Hala can be overheard talking about her dead son and how she promises to revive him.
  • Five-Man Band: Naturally the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Flashback: Every episode has flashbacks depicting the backstory for each of the Guardians. Peter Quill is the only one to get a flashback once per episode.
    • Episode 1: All flashbacks focus on Peter's life with his mother before her untimely death.
    • Episode 2: We see Rocket losing the love of his life when they attempted to escape the science lab that made them.
    • Episode 3: We see Gamora's Dark and Troubled Past where she was abused by Thanos and her relationship with Nebula fell apart.
    • Episode 4: We see Drax training his daughter.
    • Episode 5: We play as Groot, back when the Guardians first met in prison.
  • Freudian Trio: Gamora is the Superego who encourages doing the moral and lawful thing, Rocket is the Id who follows his feelings and wants short-term gratification, and Peter is the Ego who must choose who to listen to.
  • Genki Girl: Mantis is easily excited by everything and constantly asks the Guardians questions on what everything is.
  • The Ghost: Howard the Duck sends you emails, but he doesn't have a profile picture at all and has yet to make a physical appearance.
  • The Heart:
    • Groot keeps his position as the Token Good Teammate intact.
    • Oddly enough, the Guardians actually view Peter as the voice of reason in their group since they respect his opinion and see him as the person keeping the team together.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Nebula can potentially be encouraged to join the Guardians depending on the player's choices.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The episode titles are based on classic songs that would definitely be on Peter's Rad Mix.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Peter is stabbed through the chest by Hala's trident.
    • Gamora was stabbed non-lethally by her own sister Nebula on orders by her father.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to Telltale's previous superhero-based game, this game is a lot more lighthearted in tone, very much like the live action film.
  • Loose Canon: Not clearly in continuity with either the comics or the films, and taking elements of both—the characters look like their comic book counterparts (for instance, blond Peter and Gamora with yellow markings under her eyes) for the most part, but do have some of their cinematic counterparts' gear, and not clearly fitting into a timeline in either (since, for instance, the Guardians haven't met The Collector yet at the beginning). Hala the Accuser and the destruction of the Kree homeworld is taken from a recent storyline from the comics.
  • MacGuffin: The Eternity Forge. Thanos went after it at the beginning of the game and it later draws the eye of Hala.
  • Moment Killer: While Peter and Gamora are sharing a Longing Look, Rocket abruptly comes in telling them to get up.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The game takes heavy inspiration from the Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) film, using the likenesses of the movie characters (combined with their original comic designs) and sharing a similar campy vibe and soundtrack.
    • Star-Lord can view e-mails from Howard the Duck, Cosmo, and Pip the Troll.
    • In Episode Five, in Groot's Flash Back, the Prison Guard is playing Galaga?
    Tony Stark: "Thought we wouldn' notice...but we did..."
  • Once an Episode: Each episode features a flashback to one of the Guardians' past (Peter, Rocket, Gamora, Drax, and Groot, in that order).
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: The first four flashbacks are about people they've lost, while Groot's is about how the team first came together.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Either Drax or Gamora (depending on earlier choices) will hold an injured Peter like this.
  • Sadistic Choice: There are several points where you're forced to choose between teammates, pleasing one but alienating another.
    • In the first episode, you have to decide to either sell Thanos's corpse to the Collector (siding with Rocket) or the Nova Corps (siding with Gamora).
    • In the second episode, you have to choose whether to take Rocket to try to revive his dead friend Lylla or go to intercept Nebula right away on Gamora's request, and then whether Drax or Gamora guards Nebula after the Guardians take her prisoner.
    • The final choice of the third episode has you making the big choice the story has been building up to until that point. Destroy the Eternity Forge and make Drax and Rocket mad at you as well as negate any chance of bringing anyone's loved ones back, or power it up and upset Gamora and Groot and leave it available for Hala to use. Lampshaded by Drax, who tells you half the team will despise you no matter what you choose in his usual Brutal Honesty way.
    • In the fourth episode, you have to follow either Gamora or Rocket through some caves. The person you don't follow gets cocooned by worms and blames Peter for not going with them.
    • Also in the fourth episode, you have to decide whether or not to allow Drax to sacrifice himself and kill the massive worm in which the Guardians are trapped. Stopping Drax makes both him and Rocket leave and permanently injures Groot, but helping Drax results in his apparent death and Gamora leaving. By the end, only Gamora or Rocket stays with Peter.
    • If you empowered the Eternity Forge, your final choice is choosing one person to be revived after it powers up for one final charge; either Kamaria, Lylla, Meredith, or Nebula (if she died). You can also choose to let the Forge burn out, reviving nobody.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: Mantis was locked inside a temple, but teams up with the Guardians after they free her.
  • Seeks Another's Resurrection: Hala wants the Eternity Forge to resurrect her son and the entire Kree race. Once the Guardians learn this, they are also tempted to use it to bring back a loved one that they had lost.
  • Sequel Hook: The Stinger after Episode 5's credits shows a cloaked figure recovering Thanos's body. Too bad Telltale went under in 2018, scrapping whatever they had planned.
  • Starter Villain: Thanos is set up as the Big Bad at the beginning only to be killed not that long into the first episode.
  • The Stinger: After Episode 5's credits, a scene plays where a cloaked figure recovers Thanos's body.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • After a night spent getting absolutely plastered, the Guardians find out they're too broke to pay their tab.
    • After Peter is brought back from the dead by mystical, unknown means, the Guardians are appropriately freaking out as what happened is supposedly impossible.
  • Tragic Villain: Hala wishes to use the Eternity Forge to revive the billions of her fellow Kree who were killed by Thanos, and to accomplish that, must take a life for each one she plans to revive.
  • Uncomfortable Elevator Moment: The Guardians suit up to fight Thanos... only to be stuck on a slow elevator.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: If you chose to deliver Thanos's body to the Nova Corps, Peter goes to rescue Nebula from the Nova Corps. She continues to verbally insult Peter and Gamora and when Peter tries to pull her from her ship, she attempts to strangle him.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Through Gamora's flashback's, we see that Nebula of all characters used to be a timid girl who just wanted to impress her daddy.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You are capable of encouraging the Guardians to get over their emotional pain by being there to support them with their cathartic need to face their past traumas.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You are perfectly within your right to COMPLETELY ignore the Nova Corps officer calling you to desperately help them, even with them offering increasingly high rewards, including complete immunity for the entire Guardians, purely because Star Lord would genuinely do that!
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • The third episode has at least half of the Guardians criticizing your final choice over whether you destroy or use the Eternity Forge.
    • In the fourth episode, regardless of whether you choose to let Drax sacrifice himself or prevent him from doing so, someone will harshly criticize you and cause the Guardians to split apart. If you let Drax sacrifice himself, Gamora chews you out because now she has another death on her conscience. If you don't let Drax sacrifice himself, Groot becomes critically injured because you didn't help him fix the engine, so Rocket chews you out for letting that happen. Fortunately, the Guardian who doesn't chew you out will decide to stay with Peter at the end.