Stray Is the Cat Enthusiast’s Dream Adventure Come to Life

The video game industry saw a substantial rise in simulators over the past decade. From titles allowing players to embody a rock to entries encouraging them to wreak havoc as a goat or try their hand at becoming a professional viscera cleaner, there was no shortage of wildly creative ideas within the community. It was not until 2015 that the two co-founders of BlueTwelve Studio envisioned a project that would make any cat enthusiast’s dream adventure come to life. Symbolically given HK_Projectthe small indie team from southern France eventually rebranded their idea, formally naming it stray.

When stray was first announced during Sony’s reveal of PlayStation 5 two years ago, not much was disclosed about the game itself, save for the fact that players would take on the role of a feline drifter in a cyberpunk setting. While the title was initially scheduled for release in the last quarter of 2021, BlueTwelve and Annapurna Interactive postponed it to a prospective 2022 window. Fortunately, this month’s State of Play provided more details surrounding the game’s overall status, surprising cat lovers with an official release date: July 19.

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Heavily inspired by Kowloon Walled City and the developer’s resident feline companions, stray recounts the story of a cat involuntarily separated from its family and plunged into a mysterious city inhabited by robotic humanoids. To escape the unusual predicament and find its way back home, the lead furball has to rely on wits and heightened senses, which will ultimately ensure its survival while also providing the means to fight off adversaries.

Cat enthusiasts can look forward to guiding the titular stray past obstacles by deploying its unique skills. Since the feline’s success hinges on uncovering secrets behind the long-forgotten city, players will have to explore their surroundings thoroughly. Solving overworld puzzles, scaling rooftops, evading detection where necessary and interacting with the environment will advance the story and bring the troubled protagonist one step closer to its goal.

As the campaign progresses, the furry drifter will inevitably cross paths with a small drone named B-12, who will offer its assistance. With the help of B-12’s computing prowess and the knowledge of local customs, the feline will be able to inspect various physical objects and effectively communicate with the strange cyborg denizens. Though a good portion of NPC encounters will be friendly in nature, not all robotic lifeforms have the capacity to reciprocate, which will often prompt the protagonist to use its nimble and stealthy disposition to gain the upper hand when the situation calls for it.

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While stray‘s futuristic overtones will likely remind many players of CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077, the game mainly focuses on explorative aspects, artistic storytelling and establishing the correct atmosphere. In terms of general gameplay, it is somewhat reminiscent of Disney’s 102 Dalmatians: Puppies to the Rescuean action-adventure title from the early 2000s that had players observe the world through the eyes of Dodie Smith’s iconic canine rascals.

With the release date just around the corner, stray is sure to put a smile on many a pet owner’s face with its open-world elements and a quirky take on the struggles of a feline in a world engulfed by artificial intelligence. Its level design and platforming elements are likely to appeal to all gamers interested in broadening their horizons within the genre, especially given the unique aspects BlueTwelve incorporated when devising a relatable experience with a cat at its core. The game is set to release on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, and Microsoft Windows.

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