BlueTwelve Studio may not be a name you are well-versed in unless you are a die-hard video games fan. However, that looks set to change with Annapurna Interactive about to hit the big time with their latest release, Stray.
Video games set in a cyberpunk world full of robots are nothing new, but Stray takes that concept and flips it on its head. How? Because the star of Stray is a stray cat. That is correct; you play a regular run-of-the-mill stray cat looking to return to his family. It is something that nobody has tried before but a concept many may try emulating if Stray lives up to the hype and is a massive hit that makes BlueTwelve Studio a household name.
From Concept to Creation
BlueTwelve Studio is a French video game developer founded by Koola and Viva, two former Ubisoft employees. They began working on Stray in 2015. Those working on the unique title originally called the game HK_Project while deciding on the title’s final name. Little did BlueTwelve Studio know back then that the best online betting websites would have Stray as one of the favorites for the coveted Game of the Year award.
Koola and Viv came up with the idea of Stray from their own cats, Murtaugh and Riggs, in addition to the studio’s in-house cats, Jun and Oscar. Murtaugh was formerly a stray cat found under a car in Montpellier, France, and serves as the main inspiration for the game’s protagonist.
BlueTwelve Studio released some in-game footage on the social media site Twitter in April 2016, and it did not take long for the offers to publish the game came flood in. The studio opted to side with Annapurna Interactive, a well-known publisher that has launched titles such as What Remains of Edith Finch, Outer Wilds, and Marquette.
The Stray Story
Although you delve into a neon-robot-filled cyberpunk world, you do not control a robotic cat, nor a futuristic cat with magical powers, but an everyday house cat. The fact you do not have any superpowers makes the game all the more alluring.
BlueTwelve Studio was determined to make it possible for players to experience what it is like to be a cat. Players can mercilessly knock items from shelves, scratch at carpets and sofas, and rub up against objects and things just like cats do. There is even a dedicated meow button that we challenge you not to press continually. You can even curl up and take a well-earned nap. Indeed, it is worth meowing away to your heart’s content on PlayStation 4 and 5 because there is a trophy for meowing 100 times!
The game takes place from a third-person perspective and, for the most part, is quite linear, with the linearity broken up by simple platforming tasks and puzzles. The city looks fantastic and feels lived in; something CD Projekt Red failed to achieve with the initial release of the eagerly-anticipated Cyberpunk 2077.
The end goal is to be reunited with your family, but the path there is filled with dangers in addition to a massive map – for a cat at least – to get lost in. We will not give any spoilers here because Stray is 100% worth your time playing and exploring for yourself. Those of you reading this who have the Extra or Premier tier of Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription service can download and play Stray for free from July 19, 2022. The cost is $29.99 if you do not have either of these tiers.
Be warned, Stray is short at five hours until completion, but it is an absolute joy for every single minute of that five-hour journey.