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SYFY WIRE Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game is so 1980s, they literally made an original prog-metal album for it

By Benjamin Bullard

While we’ll still be waiting a while for James Gunn to work new MCU magic with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the wacky-pack part of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is showing up much sooner in video game form. Debuting in the same year it was announced, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy game arrives next month, and when its steps on stage, it’ll boast a licensed music soundtrack that trades Gunn’s MCU preference for 1970s tunes for the glamorous sheen of the 1980s.

We’ve already marveled (pun intended) over just how deep and wide publisher Square Enix’s impressive ‘80s music library is for Guardians, as well as how it’s cleverly incorporated into the game’s team spirit-boosting “Huddle” feature. But developer Eidos-Montréal must’ve caught the same music bug that bit Peter Quill as a child, because that’s only half the story behind a much larger awesome music mix.

Marvel’s Guardians has some fun with a bit of revisionist history for the backstory that explains how Quill settled on “Star-Lord” as his self-appointed superhero signature. It was the name of his favorite band as a kid, the new story goes — and the game’s creative team took that idea as inspiration to start writing some original tracks of their own. Eventually, it led to an entire alum’s worth of prog-metal music — or at least that’s our description for it, based on what you can hear for yourself around the 3:15 mark in the clip below:

Pretty metal, right? Writing an extra tune or two started out casually enough, Eidos senior audio director Steve Szczepkowski explains: “I wrote some lyrics; we tried writing the first song, which was ’Space Riders (With No Names),’” and things just took off from there.

Once the idea really got rolling, though, the team ended up recording a whole album of spaced-out tunes, all of which ended up featuring Szczepkowski — who at first thought he was just doing demo duty — on vocals. And where there’s a 1980s-inspired album, there’s gotta be a band behind it with a proper name. Naturally, the team settled on the only name that made sense as an originally-composed accompaniment to Peter Quill’s post-Earth adventures: The Star-Lord Band.

“We wanted to celebrate the Guardians, and the whole rock and roll dysfunctional family, and everything that’s around all that,” says Szczepkowski, who behind the mic sounds a little like vintage Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden’s 1980s glory days. “Being able to do an album to support this is a huge honor, and I hope people enjoy the album as much as we enjoyed making it.”

Featuring an endless ‘80s playlist that ropes in everything from Rick Astley to Culture Club to Joan Jett and the Blackhearts to Mötley Crüe, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy takes flight on Oct. 26 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.