One of the most annoying things about the MCU is the homogenization the way Marvel's superheroes look, across the board. You can see it in the Marvel's Avengers game, where the default skins look like they've been changed just enough to avoid copyright issues. Marvel's Spider-Man also swapped out 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 comic book avatar, Drax looks like a buff Jason Statham rather than Dave Bautista, and Rocket… still pretty much looks like a talking raccoon – but there was a chance that he wouldn't have.
As spotted 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 that 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 completely onboard 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," said Gauthier-Leblanc. "And we had a human-size Rocket, which was weird. So, yeah, we scared the hell out of them the first time."
However, everyone was in agreement by the time the second pitch came around. There were still some areas that needed to be worked on though. Gamora's character in particular, according to narrative director Mary DeMarle, who mentioned that "for the longest time, we were struggling to really understand Gamora. She's the deadliest woman in the galaxy – but what does that mean?"
To finally bring the entire team together, the devs introduced the Huddle mechanic. "The idea was that Star-Lord would be a bit cheesy and actually pass off some of the song lyrics as his own," composer Richard Jacques said. "Then we have this chant that I wrote that [plays] underneath it to really pump the team up, and the whole thing comes together and really embodies who Star-Lord is."
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