The third chapter of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie franchise isn’t arriving in theaters until May 2023, but fans can return to the Guardians universe this week with the long-awaited video game Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which was released this week on PC, Nintendo Switch (Cloud Version), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and GeForce Now.
Unlike the first two movies, which featured soundtracks packed with Seventies rock classics like David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream,” and Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky,” the game contains nothing but Eighties hits. There are New Wave tunes (Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love,” Gary Numan’s “Cars), hair-metal classics (Mötley Crüe’s “Kickstart My Heart,” Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”), hard-rock songs (Iron Maiden’s “Where Eagles Dare,” Kiss’ “I Love it Loud”), and numerous other MTV-era gems (Culture Club’s “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya,” Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” New Kids on the Block’s “Hanging Tough”).
The game centers around Peter Quill, who we first meet as a rock-obsessed teenager on his family farm in Colorado. On his bed is a Rolling Stone with Star-Lord on the cover. They may be a fictional band, but the creators of the game went to remarkable lengths to make them seem real, even bringing on longtime Rolling Stone contributor Gavin Edwards to review their album and conduct an “interview” with them. Players can leaf through the issue and read both articles.
“If you’re looking to fulfill your recommended daily allowance of guitar-crunching, fist-pumping rock ’n’ roll, this promising debut album from the Canadian-American quartet Star-Lord has you covered,” Edwards writes. “Ten songs with low nutritional value but plenty of sugar rush. Star-Lord don’t reinvent the hard-rock genre, but with soaring anthems like ‘Watch Me Shine,’ they don’t need to. What sets them apart from peers? They live in outer space.”
The bedroom scene eventually leads to Quill going into outer space and teaming up with the Guardians of the Galaxy, where he changes his name to Star-Lord, in honor of the band. He brings his Walkman along for the adventure and hits from his youth become the soundtrack to the game.
“When we started looking at the licensed tracks, there’s so much music to choose from,” senior audio director Steve Szczepkowski says in a promotional video. “Fun was the main factor. It was to bring a smile to your face when you hear it. … We obviously have some rock stuff, but we have a lot of New Wave pop stuff that was huge in the Eighties. … If you are a child of the Eighties or you do have some knowledge of that music in that era, you’re going to love it.” And if you just want to spend the next few months battling aliens in the Guardians-verse and don’t care much about Eighties music, you’re also going to love this one.