The stray Annapurna totally understands what it means to be a cat

A cat walks towards a robot in Stray.

picture: Annapurna / Kotaku

If there is a cat in your house, how do you usually get around? And his tail is pointed straight up, probably – you know, like any normal cat. But the protagonist cats stray A bit more modest: he basically keeps his tail, at least based on gameplay footage shown during a hands-free streaming preview event he attended Kotaku.

In other words, no, it’s very likely that you won’t see much of a cat hole inside stray.

strayan adventure game published by Annapurna Interactive for PlayStation and PC This is July, is the debut of French developer Blue Twelve Studio. It largely takes place in a futuristic city without humans, mysteriously occupied by iPod-like robots. While most games with such a setup will put you in the sturdy shoes of a soldier in combat armor, stray He puts you in the shoes of infinitely softer, gentler, and arguably more lethal (hey if you know, you know) than an orange cat. The game caught a lot of buzz during its reveal in Sony show 2020It was initially planned to be released in 2021, before it was delayed until this year.

Throughout the preview session, I couldn’t shake off one feeling: stray It is not an adventure game that you play as a cat. stray It is the adventure game that you are in be cat, down to the things you do in-game.

Swann Matin-Raget, producer at Blue Twelve, played in about 20 minutes stray, narrates several passages from a selection of levels throughout the game. (anyway stray It is partially open world, and will also contain more traditional, apparently linear stages.) Play It centers around some very typical feline behavior. You can push bottles and jars off the counters. You can disrupt a board game played by two robots, sending wooden pieces scattered in a wave.

There’s also a legit mechanic in which you scratch all the things cats like to scratch: the carpet, the sofa, anything else that frays easily and also just so happens to be held dear to your heart. By alternating the right and left triggers on your controller, you can sharpen your claws on a litany of in-game objects. (On the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller, you’ll feel Some backstyle feedback force.) This isn’t just cosmetic, either. Once, Matin Raggett scratched at a nondescript door in a neon-lit alley. A few seconds passed. The robot opened the door. this How to progress in certain inaccessible areas.

“I’m doing something very unreal here [in] Matin Raggett said I would go in immediately. “You know any cat would probably wait 10 to 20 minutes before doing that.”

It only makes sense that the folks at Blue Twelve would be in a very good position to capture brilliantly what it means to be a cat, seeing as many members of the studio have their own cats. Just for crowd-pleasing purrposs, here are some of them:

Three blue Twelve Studio staff cats are standing on cushions.

picture: blue twelve

In fact, even the cat she plays is partly dependent on one of those cats: an orange tabby (pictured) named Murtaugh and lives with the studio’s co-owners. However, Matin Raggett noticed it stray The player character has no name.

Before you ask, did Murtaugh not work as a motion capture actor strayProdigal protagonist. No cat did. I know it would be hard to believe, but it’s clearly not easy to get a cat to wear a motion capture suit and follow the stage instructions. While that, strayThe protagonist was completely hand-animated, which presented its own set of challenges.

“It is much more difficult to move a quadruped in general than to move two legs. The center of gravity is really different and the fluidity of the overall animation has to be very high to be convincing.” “Also, when you’re trying to move a human, you can easily picture yourself doing anything to use it as a reference. But when you want to have something very specific with a cat, you need to extrapolate the material that you might be able to find or create.”

More than just “stuff for cats”, it’s the main game in it stray Centered around platforms with light puzzle elements. You will automatically complete every jump in the game, you will always land on your feet, and you will take no damage while exploring and moving. Environmental puzzles seem to hold back progress in the first place. At some point in the preview, Matin-Raget came across a rotating industrial fan. To stop this, direct the cat to pick up a nearby pail in its mouth, then roll it toward the fan. Jammed between the fan and its hallway, the blades stop to open a passage to the next room.

Cat riding in a bucket with B12 in Stray.

screenshot: Annapurna Interactive

As with most third-person adventure games, you see your character from behind. Obviously, this poses a potential problem. (Where stray It does not support character customization, you cannot, for example, prepare a file Twinkle Touch.)

“We haven’t taken any steps specifically to avoid players having to see the entire back of the game,” said Matin Raggett. Kotaku In a follow-up email. “But we’ve worked a lot on the tail animation in a few different situations, and that helps a lot.”

One of the things that surprised me here: Throughout the preview period, stray The protagonist kept his tail down. I have two cats. Many of my friends have cats, too. (Welcome to the press!) Most of these cats walk with their tails in a “flagpole” or upright position. According to Matthew McCarthy, DVM, founder of Juniper Valley Animal Hospital In Middle Village, New York, this is a call for social interaction. McCarthy said it was an indication of a “cat’s desire to establish contact” Kotaku.

“A scary cat will create a smaller silhouette,” McCarthy said. This can mean bending over, pinning their ears back, or, yes, tucking their tail down. “Out of sight, out of mind. Hope.”

It’s sad, but strayThe protagonist has a lot to fear. When Blue Twelve first revealed the game, its rich setting, atmosphere – and, you know, all playing like cats – helped grab the attention of a lot of people. But there wasn’t much information about what you really are an act. The general consensus at the time could be summed up as follows: “Am I a cat? Roaming around town? Sitting at the bar? Great! Sold out. Gimme.”

Cat sites in a bar next to some of the bots in Stray.

screenshot: Annapurna Interactive

But The trailer was released last summer Show a completely different side of stray. One scene showed the cat running away from a horde of anti-creatures, trying her best to escape. Accompanied by a floating drone robot. He jumps on a speeding chariot, dodges enemies and swerves through a chasm as if he’s playing a starring role Unknown: Cat’s fortune. This was not the quiet exploration game that was introduced the year before.

The preview explained a little more about what was going on there. According to Matin-Raget, the creative decision to showcase intense clips was a speed selection made near the start of the game, which has been in development in some capabilities since 2016. The name of the bot is B12 (an obvious reference to the studio’s namesake). He serves as a protector and translator at the same time, seeing that he is capable of language and you, a cat, are not. When asked whether or not I’m restricted to nine lives, Matin-Raget objected and didn’t say exactly how health, damage, respawn, and the like work.

Laziness previews rarely provide insight into whether or not a game is going to be good. More often than not, they market charades – and they are curated more by PR than hands-on previews, where you can’t even get a sense of what the game is like. This is why we usually stay away from them in Kotaku.

However, you came far from stray Excited to the point where I don’t usually do it. And that’s from someone who’s generally in the 1000’s of hype for game ads, someone who (somehow) hasn’t yet been spoiled by the cynicism that plagues so many people who turn a hobby into a business! Maybe it’s just a feline neighbor instinct, but I have a pretty good feeling about this. It would be, if nothing else, a welcome departure from the traditional motion fare that tends to obfuscate the summer edition calendar.

Just don’t expect any butts.

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