Everybody loves Rocket, right? He’s a tiny adorable smart-ass with a giant gun, a happy-go-lucky member of the Guardians of the Galaxy who’s comic relief and a deus ex machina. Except, in Telltale’s second episode of its game starring the plucky adventurers, out this week for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and mobile, he has a much different, and quite tragic, backstory. Spoilers for the second episode below.
Tellltale is no stranger to taking liberties with comic book continuity. Their excellent Batman story changed quite a bit around about Batman and his supporting cast. But Rocket’s return to his “home planet” of Halfworld is far from a happy return, as we learn that Rocket managed to get his freedom at the cost of Lylla, the woman (well, otter) he loves. The relic driving the piece, the Infinity Forge, can bring the dead back to life, you see, and Rocket owes it to Lylla to at least try to revive her.
There are some concerns this raises for the game. Paired with Star-Lord’s dead mother being the focus of the first episode, this series sure has a lot of women who seemingly have no purpose but to die and make the hero cry manly tears, or in Rocket’s case, have a full-on emotional breakdown over Lylla’s grave. They even twist the knife by rewriting their patented “…will remember that” alert with “Rocket Will Always Remember This,” because Telltale is the kind of studio that will force you to kill a dog in a video game to get a point across.
Still, as a way to make Rocket more than just a plot device, it may be completely shameless, but it works. It’s fairly clear that each episode will dig into the tough pasts of every Guardian; Drax is facing a life without purpose and Gamora is struggling to reconnect with her adopted sister now that their abusive dad is gone. If nothing else, it allows for more depth, which the series needs to stand out from the movies, cartoon, and comics. But, hopefully, there’s more than just dead loved ones in the pasts of the Guardians.