The success of “Stray”, the video game in which a stray cat is controlled

It came out on July 19th Straya role-playing video game produced for Windows and PlayStation by a couple of French developers that is making a lot of talk about itself. In Stray the protagonist is a cat who, separated from the other strays he lived with, must try to find them by moving in an underground city abandoned by men but populated by robots, machines and carnivorous bacteria, the Zurks.

In practice it is a rather intimate game, made above all of dark atmospheres broken by the meowing of the cat, which moves freely between the alleys, roofs and houses of a place inspired by the walled city of Kowloon, once an independent and overpopulated district of Hong Kong structured in vertical on various levels. The protagonist cat – which has no name – lived in the upper part of this abandoned city, before falling inside and ending up in the lower levels, inhabited by humanoid robots threatened by the ever increasing presence of harmful bacteria that must be escaped.

The cat must return free to the hospitable place where it lived before. To do this he must climb the abandoned city finding various objects and solving problems with the help of robots, who have the same desire to see the free world, and for this they help him. In the early stages of the game, the cat finds a small drone – named B-12 after the game’s developer – that provides him with a backpack so he can interact with the robots and technologies he encounters as he goes along.

The story can be completed in about seven hours of gameplay, but everything varies from how you decide to follow it: it can be completed in two hours, sticking only to the main story, or in more than eight by taking the time to explore in peace. every twists and turns of the city and complete the secondary stories, which abound.

Thanks also to a targeted promotional campaign that exploited the undisputed popularity of cats on the internet, the contents of Stray have been circulating a lot in social networks for weeks: currently it is one of the most followed video games streaming on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, and users seem to be divided equally between males and females, something not so common in an area still predominantly male.

The reviews were unanimously positive. The border wrote that Stray “Improves adventure games by turning the user into a cat, a change of perspective that the genre needed.” Alexis Ong wrote on instead Polygon that the production company BlueTwelve “could have set it in a slum steampunk Victorian and would still have had the same effect: constant care and concern for our little orange friend. ‘

After the many unsuccessful experiments done in role-playing video games with goats, geese, dogs and sharks, one of the keys to the success of Stray it seems to be precisely the suitability for the role of cats, which in terms of size and ability are able to provide a different and intriguing gaming experience, while remaining within the confines of the world we know.

The game was made over seven years as an independent project by two French developers known under the pseudonyms of Koola and Viv, reunited in the BlueTwelve company after working for Ubisoft. In 2016 the two published some extracts of the online game and in the same year Annapurna Interactive, an American production company, became its distributor. Four days after launch, Stray continues to be the most downloaded video game on Steam, the leading PC video game aggregator, and one of the best-selling on PlayStation, where it was also included in the downloadable games catalog for Plus subscribers.

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