Make it a (Virtual) Reality: Guardians of the Galaxy

Yet another superhero squad hits the big screen this week as Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy sees its first ever movie adaption. Bringing together a rag tag bunch of misfits to save the galaxy from evil forces, the movie broadens Marvel’s horizons to cosmic, sci-fi tales that span entire planets. It also presents one of the most interesting opportunities for virtual reality (VR) videogames than most of the company’s slate of characters. Imagine Marvel’s very own EVE: Valkyrie with a mix of Aliens, Trolls and Dragons and you have potentially the most enticing comic book VR experience yet.

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It’s not just Guardians of the Galaxy’s oddly lovable and unique cast of characters that makes it an interesting concept for VR but also its broad setting. The team often hops from one fascinating environment to another, be it their headquarters on Knowhere, a floating head of an ancient celestial being, or locked up in grimy prisons. The franchise lore is full of fascinating sights that most other comic book IP can’t offer, and we’d love to get the chance to explore these areas in VR, not to mention travelling to them in Star Lord’s own ship for an authentic space travel experience.

Each member of the Guardians also presents an opportunity for compelling VR gameplay. Group leader Star Lord offers a tricked-out inventory of pistols, grenades and jet packs that, armed with a Sixense STEM or similar motion controllers, could make for some truly varied gameplay. Plus the Oculus Rift or Project Morpheus could act as a double for the character’s iconic helmet, which helps him survive in less hospitable environments.

Female assassin Gamora’s blend of swordplay presents the perfect opportunity for the blade-based combat title that many have dreamed of since VR was first imagined. The muscle-bound Drax presents an opportunity for more reckless gameplay, as players smash through enemies.

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But while these three characters represent more traditional uses of VR, it’s the Guardian’s two more outlandish characters that could have the real fun. The big-hearted walking tree that is Groot would be a fascinating character to control. Imagine looking down at your body to see a series of roots weaving in and out of your wooden chest plates, being able to swing your arms to unleash powerful attacks that knock enemies out of the way and growing to huge heights to reach distant areas. Most importantly, imagine being able to say ‘I am Groot’ and actually meaning it.

And then there’s Rocket, everybody’s favourite talking raccoon. While shrinking down to his size would certainly be jarring, getting to experience his animalistic movements in VR would allow us to commandeer a form that no developer has yet tackled. Not to mention that when the action heats up, it’s Rocket’s ridiculous arsenal of inventive and explosive weaponry that we’d want to take control of in VR.

The Guardians are a group of characters unlike anyone else in the Marvel universe, and there adventures present the opportunity for a VR experience just as unique. Simply being able to sit with the crew as they start up another bar fight or stock up for their next mission would be a fascinating experience. Hopefully as VR videogames grow in popularity, the Guardians of the Galaxy will come to VR.

‘Make it a (virtual) Reality’ is VRFocus’ weekly feature that takes the videogames we already know and love and looks at how virtual reality (VR) could enhance them. From retro classics to modern blockbusters, we examine the pros and cons of bringing a franchise to VR headsets. 

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