The heroes of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy could have looked very different, due to their developers’ desire to stay away from established Marvel designs.
Speaking in the latest issue of Edge Magazine, art director Bruno Gauthier-Leblanc explained that he “didn’t want to be influenced by Marvel. Because that’s the best way to do something generic or just a copy.” Instead, Gauthier-Leblanc explained how the team’s creative vision stems from “old 3D art from the ’90s.” A focus on “3D shapes with colorful patterns” was a bit old-fashioned (and “badly done at the time”), but Gauthier-Leblanc says they recognized real potential in early designs.
Gauthier-Leblanc did not want to be directly influenced by Marvel, and instead intended to take inspiration from the 1980s and 1990s and take his own stylistic direction rather than directly copying the source material. The creative direction, particularly for the environments, is derived from “old 90’s 3D art” using “simple shapes with colorful patterns”.
Marvel supported developer Eidos Montreal’s ideas, but previous plans for some character designs in particular were met with skepticism. “We had a fat Drax. Our first version of Star-Lord was like a cosmonaut, in almost a full cosmonaut suit,” recalls Gauthier-Leblanc. “And we had a human-sized Rocket, which was weird. So, yeah, we scared the crap out of them the first time.”
By the second release, both Marvel and Eidos Montreal had come to a mutual understanding on their respective ideas. Gamora was described by Senior Narrative Director Mary DeMarle as the biggest challenge, stating that “For a long time, we struggled to really understand Gamora. She’s the deadliest woman in the galaxy, but what does that mean?”
Finally, after the Guardians were complete, the studio had the perfect idea to put them together: the rally mechanic. Audio Director Steve Szczepowski and Creative Director Jean-François Dugas realized that Star-Lord’s identity and strength lay in music. “The idea was that Star-Lord would be a bit cheesy and pass off some of the song lyrics as his own,” says composer Richard Jacques. “So we have this song I wrote that [plays] underneath to really pump up the team, and it all comes together and really embodies who Star-Lord is.”
For more on the making of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, you can check out the full feature at Edge #374, available now through Magazines Direct (opens in a new tab).