Last month, Sony released 25 tantalising trailers for upcoming PlayStation 5 titles. We all knew that this latest console would have graphics that would make you rub your eyes in disbelief. Hearing is one thing, but seeing them is another.
Pussyfooting Around The City
One such game was Stray, developed by Blue Twelve, published by Annapurna Interactive. The trailer for Stray did not give a whole lot away about the gameplay, but it did inflame the imagination. The setting is a post-apocalyptic, futuristic city, inhabited by robots with humanoid-esque form. You get to see some having the equivalent of a robo-haircut. Some appear to be homeless, covered in shawls. Others communicate to vendors or hang out in bars that mimic Edward Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks’. These could, in different circumstances, be scenes from downtown Tokyo. But something’s happened to this world. Something bad. Graffiti blights backalleys dripping in shadow, reading “R.I.P. Humans”.
All the while, a ginger tomcat pads throughout the trailer, quietly observing life in this dystopian metropolis. It weaves between robots on the pavement. It climbs windows with effortless ease, leaping between balconies. It’s wearing some kind of device strapped to its back.
Claws For Concern
And you know what? In Stray, you get to play as the cat. As. The. Cat. You’ll control this kitty, meaning you can roam around the neon-lit streets and rooftops. Stray is a third-person adventure game. The crux being that you (the cat) will face “unforeseen threats and solve the mysteries of this unwelcoming place inhabited by nothing but unassuming droids and dangerous creatures.” The press release goes on to add, “Lost, alone and separated from family, players must untangle an ancient mystery to escape a long-forgotten cybercity and find the way home.”
This kind of announcement is like catnip to console gamers. Give them a pinch of it, and they’ll go nuts! The premise for Stray sounds fantastic. The trailer has an edge of grim bleakness to it, alongside equal doses of charm. The cat itself will make pet owners squeal with delight. (As well as cause tears, if the moggie snuffs it at the hands of an evil robot).
Cat’s Out Of The Bag (Well, For Now It’s Still In The Bag)
At this early stage, we can only imagine, of course, what kind of elements gameplay might involve. The cat has a robotic companion (like real life, the robot probably thinks it’s the master and the cat is the pet). ‘B12’ will likely provide the humanoid requirements, what with having opposable robot-thumbs. I’d imagine many locations are only accessible by a clever means of inventive acrobatics. I’m thinking the likes of Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series, or Lara Croft climbing a tomb. But in Stray, you’re traversing these tricky terrains as a cat!
Stray has a release date of 2021. The PlayStation 5 itself looks like it’s getting a ‘Holiday’ 2020 release. We know that Sony are planning for some titles to be backwards compatible. At the time of press, however, we do not know if Stray will be backwards compatible with, say, the PlayStation 4. Sony will no doubt reveal lots more during the forthcoming months. Whatever the outcome of that, we’ve got a good feline about this one…