Play news Stray: Everything you need to know about the sweetest game of the year
In the summer of 2020, cat lovers discovered Stray, a narrative adventure game carried by an absolutely adorable and superbly animated ginger cat. The four-legged protagonist could be seen wandering around a futuristic city populated by robots. His mission: to find his way home under the glow of neon lights. Today, we share five things you need to know about Stray, the cutest game of the year.
- A narrative game with some puzzles
- A cyber-city
- In the skin of a cat =
- First project =
- Temporary exclusion
The following text is a transcript of the video above
A narrative game with some puzzles
No name or story is given to this red cat during its presentations. We only know that he comes out of nowhere and is completely lost in the monster of a cyber city. Here’s what the description sheet tells us: a stray cat must solve an old mystery to escape a forgotten cyber city and return home. The representatives of the BlueTwelve studio assure that the story will be the cornerstone of the adventure. Our cat is not alone as he is equipped with a backpack that serves as shelter for the B-12, a drone that allows our cat to communicate with the city’s robotic inhabitants, but also to interact with its surroundings. The B-12 can also stack objects up and has a flashlight for exploring the darkest corners of the sprawling city.
Most of the environmental puzzles and action steps seem to be mostly arranged around the mustache-like protagonist’s natural talents. For example, we saw a short hunting sequence with strange fluorescent rat-like creatures that require full cat agility to be used. The promised linear life is seven to eight hours and 9-10 hours for completion experts. BlueTwelve relies on a variety of rhythms and content, ranging from simple crossing, then small puzzles, through moments of action and inquiry. Let us now see if the execution proves to be convincing.
From what we have seen, our cat’s first step is in a fairly linear progression. Every leap to a new platform is strictly monitored; missing a ledge is not suitable for a cat, so “we have agreed on a compromise where all the leaps will be successful”, justifies BlueTwelve. A glance at the following chapters reveals it movements seem less controlled and benefit from a certain verticality. To what extent one must show. In particular, the cat can descend from an elevated space by climbing down into a bucket pulled by a rope. It is up to him to attract the attention of passers-by so that they throw a few anecdotes after him.
The environments are really attractive and juggle between busy city centers and more disturbing wastelands. On the Playstation blog, we have already been introduced to “Antvillage”, a village built around a huge reservoir. The décor is inspired by the ancient streets of Hong Kong. It is promised that the inhabitants of these places each have a history that defines them. It’s still hard to know if they have much to tell. In any case, we notice that a mysterious language borders the walls of the alleys.
In the skin of a cat =
To BlueTwelve Studio “building a cat was really the hardest part”. From the use of the camera to the collision systems, it was obviously necessary to reinterpret the space according to the main character. And in that sense, the availability of the platforms must be just as credible, for the cat, dexterous as it is, is generally able to sneak around as it pleases, and BlueTwelve claims to have taken care of this point in the game. no use of motion capture was used to animate the chat. Each paw stroke is sketched by hand and the result is amazing. The process was explained on the PlayStation Blog in these terms:
Miko, our chat host, took up the challenge directly and spent a significant amount of time researching images and videos that could be used as a reference. During this process, we made a strange but happy discovery: the whole internet seems to have been invented for the sole purpose of posting pictures and videos of cute cats! So we found a lot of good references to work with.
Also knowing that about 80% of the team members own a cat (or that a cat owns them, depending on the point of view, as they say), and the team inevitably quickly felt very inspired to see them interact with desktop objects. Role-playing requires a button to allow the little hero to meow at all costs, even during interludes, enough to be very annoying if you wish. And if you feel like it, you can also let it snooze in a ball for a moment. Finally, haptic feedback is utilized and will be dedicated to making you feel the physical characteristics of the animal.
First project =
the stray this is the very first attempt from BlueTwelve Studio, a young studio that has about ten employees according to the LinkedIn page. You will be happy to know that the developers are French and based in Montpellier. The studio was formed in 2016 and describes itself as “a small team from the south of France consisting mainly of cats and a handful of people.” We do not know much more about this small team, which is still very discreet.
We also have a devblog, still sparse, but where we especially learn that the game was first codenamed HK before it became Stray. The very first work of art dates from 2015. The concept was conceived seven years ago by Koola and Viv, the co-founders of BlueTwelve Studio. Swann Martin-Raget, producer at BlueTwelve Studio, recently spoke about the development of their work: “It’s great to think that it’s a full game now and players all over the world will soon be able to discover and enjoy it. The development took time and we learned a lot along the way. Among the many difficulties and discoveries in this project, setting up an interactive chat was clearly the most complicated task! “
But how could a small team make its very first game take the lead at major conferences like Gamescom or State of Play? Well, its editor is certainly not for nothing! Stray is driven by the steely reputation of its publisher Annapurna Interactive. The company is already behind big indie hits like ” Outer Wilds ” or ” What Remains of Edith Finch ”.
Those who do not own a PS5 can rest assured, Stray will be a temporary console exclusive! If you are an Xbox player and still want to enjoy the game, there is still hope. On the other hand, we do not know exactly when this exclusivity will end. One thing is for sure: Stray will be available on July 19th on PC and PlayStation 5 and will be one of the first games to be released directly in Sony’s new PS + subscription formula. Specifically, this means that Extra and Premium subscribers will be able to enjoy the game at no extra cost from its launch.