BlueTwelve studio created a cyberpunk city of Stray based on a real city called Kowloon Fortress, although the real place is ultimately very different from what is depicted in the game. The futuristic setting of the Tramp distinguishes them from each other, but the differences do not end there. It doesn’t take much time to beat Stray, but players can spend a lot of time exploring the city, and it’s worth knowing the backstory of the real urban environment that inspired its design.
[Attention: this article contains spoilers for the Tramp.]
Stray takes place in the distant future in a dystopian city called Fortress City 99. The city was built inside a massive domed structure that protects it from the surface of the Earth. It is mentioned that people created the city to protect themselves from threats and dangers on the surface, but this has remained a mystery. Because of the plague, humanity has become extinct, and the only remaining inhabitants of Fortress City 99 are intelligent robots called Companions. They based their society and culture on the person who was before. The game tells about a cat, played by a talented voice actor who revived the character of a Tramp, in an adventure that consists of returning to the surface after falling to the bottom of the city.
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According to Wikipedia, the origin of Kowloon can be traced back to the tenth century. For a long time it served as a military fortress. In the late 1800s, British imperial forces eventually attacked and captured the city. They maintained control of the city for a while. After World War II, the Chinese government began attempts to recapture Kowloon. Starting in the 1960s, a new wave of construction began, which led to the development of the iconic image of Kowloon as a densely populated city, elevated high into the sky. This is the image that inspired the developers of Stray when they created Walled City 99, which is filled with the coolest secrets of Stray, Easter eggs and references.
How does Straight’s Walled City 99 differ from the real Kowloon Fortress City
The fortress city of Kowloon, as one can imagine, has never been enclosed in a dome that closed it from the outside world. Previously, the city was surrounded by a wall, but it was demolished before the city turned into its most famous state. Unlike Fortress City 99, which is underground, the fortress city was on the surface. Fortress City 99 is a mix of various dystopian cities, such as Los Angeles from Blade Runner or the Night City from Cyberpunk 2077, and this is reflected in its high degree of social stratification, where the poorest residents occupy the lowest levels of the city, while the richest residents live near the exit to the surface in higher parts of the city. However, these characteristics, like those of other dystopian cities, do not reflect real life in the Kowloon fortress City.
In general, the real Kowloon Fortress City was not as rundown and harsh as the 99 Vagrant Fortress City. Kowloon mainly influenced the design aesthetics of the developer’s levels, as it offered a lot of tightly packed architecture, most of which was eight stories high or more. The atmosphere and culture of Walled City 99 is more inspired by cyberpunk dystopias, but some key visual elements are taken from the real world to give it a striking aesthetic and a sense of authenticity. The game has left behind several mysteries, and many others could potentially be hiding in its nooks and crannies, so we hope that the continuation of Stray’s cat-themed gameplay will allow players to explore its fascinating world even more.