In the upcoming Stray game, users find themselves in the clutches of a homeless cat who is looking for his loved ones after they found themselves alone in a long-forgotten cyber city. Stray was created by French developer BlueTwelve Studios and will be published by Annapurna Interactive, a company with an incredible track record of publishing breakthrough indie hits. Screen Rant recently attended an exclusive preview of the puzzle adventure platformer, led by producer Swann Martin-Raget, who spoke in detail about the title.
Players control the charming orange protagonist of the game, who, because he is homeless, has no name, from a third person, where they can use their agility to cross the city from all sides. Throughout their journey, players will solve puzzles, meet interesting robots and learn about the mysterious city’s past in search of a way out. Martin-Raget emphasized during the presentation that “at its core Stray is really an adventure game” and that although the game also has a mix of quests, puzzles and actions, the main focus is on the plot.
Despite the fact that the main character is charming, Stray strives to balance the tone of the game, contrasting its cuteness with heavier and adult themes. The loneliness of the lost city is palpable, and its inhabitants are struggling to survive in its decline. This balance can also be seen in the gameplay: While most of it involves slower, more contemplative action, sometimes players will need to quickly outrun enemies in the more intense fast-paced platformer sequences.
The platform in Stray has been optimized to reduce player frustration. The game focuses more on the route than on the specific steps taken by the player — whenever the jump button is pressed, it will be successful. The developers did not want to disrupt the players’ immersion in the game world due to complex maneuvers that could be repeatedly unsuccessful, instead focusing on the intricate paths that players must open to get from point A to point B.
Solving in—game paths is an important part of the Tramp gameplay. The frisky feline in the game will do everything from jumping on roofs to crossing underground sewers and even use improvised ziplines to move around while they try to escape. The cat can pick up objects with its mouth, which sometimes plays a significant role in puzzles with the environment. One example of this, shown during the preview, was a puzzle in which a cat had to lift a bucket and place it in the moving fan blades to pass through it. Players can also enlist the help of their friendly companion droid B12, as well as other droids they meet along the way when they need help with an object or obstacle.
The goal of the developers was to make the city of Wandering incredibly detailed and interactive, and also to make it so that the more players explored it, the more they learned about the history of the city and its inhabitants. Martin-Raget stated that Stray “rewards inquisitive players” by teasing small details in the game — the designers even included a robot alphabet in Stray, which can be deciphered by unlocking what the game calls “memories” and used to read things around the city. . The study is also intended not only for learning, as players can find a lot of interactive objects in Stray that they can play with just for fun.
Stray characters are deeper than normal NPCs. The flying droid B12, which will help the main character throughout the game, has its own backstory that the player can discover, just like any other robot that the player will encounter, adding knowledge for both game droids and the world itself. Some characters will play a role in the main storyline of the game, while many others will have side quests available that can be given to striped. In the preview of Stray, the producer demonstrated a side quest in which the player will collect flowers for a group of robot children who are trying to build a garden.
Unlike many games with animal protagonists, Stray relies heavily on the realism of the cat, which means that players will experience both the pros and cons of the cat’s skill set. While things like feline agility and stealth can be good qualities, other traits such as small size and awkward paws can make some actions impossible. In this dichotomy lies the important game mechanics of seeking help from others — the B12 drone can do things like hold collected items and activate technologies, and robots can teach players more items if they are presented to them.
Much of the more lighthearted side of the Tramp stems from this more realistic take on the cat protagonist from the video game. Martin-Raget stated that almost everyone in the development team has at least one cat – the main character is even based on a cat belonging to the co-founder of BlueTwelve – and they are clearly familiar with all the quirks of this species.