What the Guardians of the Galaxy Game Tells Us About Thanos

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy video game released last year to mostly positive reviews and even took home the award for Best Narrative at The Game Awards. The Guardians of the Galaxy game establishes a universe rich in Marvel Comics lore. It teases a larger universe than what's seen in the game, particularly when it comes to the Mad Titan Thanos.

Thanos is one of the main antagonists in all of Marvel Comics, and while he does not have an active role in the Guardians of the Galaxy game, he's still mentioned numerous times. Thanos has clearly left an impact on the in-game galaxy, and while Guardians of the Galaxy players don't get to see the real Thanos in action, they are made well aware of everything that Thanos has been up to in the game's world.

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Keep in mind that this post will have some SPOILERS for Guardians of the Galaxy as well as Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

Thanos' Goal in Guardians of the Galaxy

While the Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy is supposedly dead, players learn a lot about him through conversations with their Milano crewmates. Since Gamora is Thanos' daughter, she reveals details about the Mad Titan and how he's impacted the universe prior to the events of the Guardians of the Galaxy game. Conversations with Gamora reveal an interesting detail about Thanos' overall goal, indicating that it's more in line with the comic book version of the character instead of the Marvel Cinematic Universe version.

In the MCU, Thanos has a twisted way of ensuring that the galaxy has enough resources for civilization to survive, and his solution is to "snap" half of the living creatures in the universe from existence. Thanos accomplishes this goal by collecting the Infinity Stones, attaching them to the Infinity Gauntlet, and then simply snapping his fingers. Thanos successfully achieves this goal in Avengers: Infinity War, though his efforts are reversed during the events of Avengers: Endgame.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thanos genuinely believes he is doing the correct thing by wiping out half the universe, as it's his way of preventing future suffering like what befell his planet. There are some characters in the MCU who even believe Thanos was justified in his mass genocide of the universe. Thanos in the comic books and video games has a much different reason for doing what he does, and it's all to court Lady Death.

Gamora confirms that this is Thanos' motivation in the Guardians of the Galaxy game during an optional conversation between her and Star-Lord, triggered by finding a specific collectible. During the conversation, Gamora explains how she and her sister Nebula were tasked with locating the Resistance. Gamora was the first to do so and was excited to report her findings to Thanos. However, she walked in on him talking to an empty room to Lady Death, the literal embodiment of death in the Marvel universe.

Gamora then realized that Thanos wasn't really interested in restoring balance to the universe as he led her to believe. On the contrary, Thanos in the Guardians of the Galaxy game universe is in love with Lady Death and wants to win her affection by killing as many living creatures as possible. This is what triggers Gamora to join the Resistance, eventually leading her to become a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy team.

Is Thanos Dead or Alive in Guardians of the Galaxy?

During the events of the Guardians of the Galaxy game, it's established that Thanos is dead, and it was his death that ultimately helped the Resistance win the galactic war. The story goes that Thanos killed Drax the Destroyer's family, and so Drax became obsessed with killing Thanos himself. Drax acquired an ability that allowed him to sense Thanos' life force, and he used this power to track the Mad Titan down.

In a conversation between Drax and Peter Quill, the Destroyer details his fight with Thanos, which took place on an isolated moon. The fight reportedly went on for days, with Drax remembering delivering a final blow, but then blacking out and waking up in a hospital some time later. Drax confides in Star-Lord that he believes Thanos is actually still alive, as he can still somewhat sense him.

The events of the Guardians of the Galaxy game seem to set up Thanos as a villain for a potential sequel, which would make sense as the game introduces one of the Infinity Stones and leaves Thanos' fate ambiguous. It's entirely possible that Thanos is dead in the Guardians of the Galaxy game universe and that he was killed by Drax the Destroyer, but it's also possible that he survived the battle and is regrouping somewhere, lying in wait for his time to strike.

Thanos' Appearance in the Guardians of the Galaxy Game

Even though Thanos is supposedly dead in the Guardians of the Galaxy video game universe, players still come face to face with a version of him. At one point in the game, the Guardians of the Galaxy enter Drax's mind to free him from the Matriarch's "Promise," which essentially brainwashes people by making them think they are interacting with their dead loved ones. While in Drax's mind, the Guardians have to square off against endlessly multiplying Thanos clones.

It's here where the player can get a good look at Thanos as he appears in the Guardians of the Galaxy game universe. It seems that the developers went for a combination of Thanos' MCU appearance and his comic book appearance.

If a Guardians of the Galaxy game sequel is ever produced, it's possible that fans will learn more about this version of Thanos. However, nothing has been announced at the time of this writing, so it's possible that the Guardians of the Galaxy game will be a one-off experience.

Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy is out now for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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Dalton Cooper is an editor for Game Rant who has been writing about video games professionally since 2011. Having written thousands of game reviews and articles over the course of his career, Dalton considers himself a video game historian and strives to play as many games as possible. Dalton covers the latest breaking news for Game Rant, as well as writes reviews, guide content, and more.

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