Cyberpunk Video Game ‘Stray’ Is the Cat’s Meow, Say Chinese Netizens

Cyberpunk Video Game ‘Stray’ Is the Cat’s Meow, Say Chinese Netizens

The video game’s whiskered protagonist looks so realistic that one gamer’s cat supposedly tried to attack the virtual character

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2:26 PM HKT, Mon August 22, 2022 2 mins read

Dystopian third-person adventure game Stray, which allows gamers to experience the world through the eyes of a stray tabby cat, has captivated the hearts of youth in China.

Released to a worldwide audience on July 19, 2022, the French video game was developed by BlueTwelve Studio and published by Annapurna Interactive; the latter is also behind the award-winning game What Remains of Edith Finch.

In Stray’s opening scene, players discover how the whiskered protagonist was separated from its kin. As the makers of ‘Three Robots: Exit Strategies’ in Netflix’s Love Death & Robots predicted, cats are Earth’s sole survivors.

After befriending a little drone by the name of B12, the stray cat is tasked with untangling a mystery, which requires navigating neon-lit alleyways in a post-apocalyptic cyber city.

Inspiration for the cyperpunk world came from Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, one of densest places on earth before it was torn down in 1993. Known for being dark, cramped, and rather dodgy, the ungoverned enclave was colloquially known as Hak Nam or the City of Darkness.

In this sense, the video game might be the only way to explore a city that currently only exists in the memories of veteran Hong Kongers and our imaginations.

Meanwhile, the video game’s protagonist was based on not one or two, but three real-life cats: Murtaugh, who was rescued from the streets of France; Oscar, a Sphynx cat who spends a lot of time at the animators’ studio; and Jun, a black cat who is “way-too-joyful-for-his-own-good,” said Swann Martin-Raget, producer of BlueTwelve Studio.

The developers have proudly stated that their team is “mostly made up of cats and a handful of humans.” It’s no wonder the video game’s lead character looks so realistic.

Stray’s popularity has birthed a new Twitter account @CatsWatchingStray exclusively for pictures and videos of cats reacting to the video game. On Chinese streaming platform Bilibili, one netizen said, “Halfway through the game, my cat came over and punched the screen to pieces.”

Other Bilibili users have posted thousands of gameplay videos and comments about the game’s storyline and puzzles, and have even shared stories of their own cats. “Cat owners have a special feeling playing this game… I nearly cried through every step of the gameplay,” expressed one player.

In a review of Stray, Chinese gaming forum GameCores succinctly called it, “a love letter to all cats.”


In RADII’s office, some members of staff can’t think of a more purr-fect way to spend an evening than by playing Stray. Associate editor Sammi Sowerby is particularly tickled by the fact that there is a dedicated button for ‘meowing,’ while graphic designer Haedi Yue is highly moved by the storyline.

“Since playing Stray, I have been reflecting upon the relationship between me and my cat. These little felines are so physically vulnerable, but can also be brave and independent,” said Yue, whose own tom cat is six years old.

China’s gaming industry, which is one of the biggest in the world (665 million players as of last year), only seems to be growing stronger, and more tech-savvy youth are considering esports as a career path. And visually-arresting video games such as Stray will always be hot on their radar.

‘Stray’ is currently available for purchase on Steam and the PlayStation store.

Additional reporting by Sammi Sowerby; all images via Instagram

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