Stray Is A Purrfect Example Of Why We Need More Animal Protagonists In Games

Forget the guns and hold onto your paws.

Story Highlights

  • Stray lets you experience the world through the playful eyes of a cat.
  • It’s a wake-up call for the gaming industry to explore animal protagonists.
  • From emotional connection to unique gameplay mechanics, animal heroes offer a fresh perspective.

Stray, BlueTwelve Studio’s unexpected hit, proved that not every protagonist can have thumbs or wear capes. Putting us in the paws of an orange kitty, Stray isn’t just fun because it’s cute (although it is, and trust me, those cat animations are amazing), it’s the whole idea of being something different. 

Stray
One glass of milk on the rocks, please! | Source: CBR

Gone are the days of carjackers and ‘roided-up soldiers. We’ve saved countless people, battled hordes of zombies, and explored every corner of post-apocalyptic wastelands – mostly from the perspective of a human or human-ish hero. Stray breaks this stereotype. It places you into a vibrant, neon-drenched world as a furry adventurer.

Stray’s Feline Appeal

Stray’s success depends on something much more than just cute cat animations. It’s the creativity of controlling a non-human body. Suddenly, the whole world transforms. Every ledge becomes a potential scratching post, every hanging object a target for a playful smack.

Stray’s story unfolds as we explore the city. The city in Stray isn’t just a backdrop; it’s a living, breathing character. Inspired by the maze-like Kowloon Walled City, it’s a decaying city with neon signs and hidden nooks and crannies. Stray is also set to receive an animated feature film.

The game’s environments are carefully crafted to cater to feline instincts. Tight spaces become shortcuts, jumps feel exciting, and unsuspecting robots become … well, potential scratching buddies. This immersion is unlike anything offered in traditional human-centric games.

YouTube video

Unveiling Mystery Through Exploration

Forget long, boring cutscenes. Here, the story unfolds as you explore the decaying city. Every flickering neon sign, every scrap of faded graffiti, every hidden message scribbled on a wall tells a story. You piece together the history of this place, the fate of its human inhabitants, and the struggles of the remaining robots, all through exploration and environmental storytelling.

YouTube video

It’s like being a detective but with a much cuter detective hat (or should we say, ears?) You have to use your cat senses to sniff out clues, follow trails of objects, or chase after helpful robots who seem to know something. This approach to storytelling is not only refreshing, it perfectly complements the game’s core theme of being a cat.

Cats are naturally curious creatures, always sniffing around, exploring every nook and cranny and Stray captures this perfectly.

Emotional Bond That Transcends Species

But Stray’s brilliance goes beyond just the gameplay. By playing as a cat, the game creates a surprising emotional bond. We feel small and vulnerable in this giant world, protective of the other stray cats we meet, and the friendship we build with B-12, the little robot buddy, is something special – even though we can’t exactly chat.  This emotional connection shows just how powerful animal characters can be, making us care about them in a whole new way.

I couldn’t tell you how much I love this game if I tried. Whenever I think about it, I just wish I could play it again for the first time
byu/Zomboss66 instray

Think about it. We’ve spent hours bonding with video game characters, but rarely do we feel such a connection with someone, well, not human. Animals as heroes offer a deeper emotional experience, one built on empathy and a shared love for the amazing world around us.

The Future Of Gaming With Animal Heroes

Stray’s success isn’t just about cute cats and clever puzzles; it’s a message to developers saying “Hey, there’s a whole world of animal heroes waiting to be explored!” Imagine the possibilities! Flying through the sky as a swift eagle, exploring the deep sea as a shark, or causing mischief in the forest as a fox. 

Is there gonna be a sequel
byu/Tall_Ad6155 instray

Animal heroes open the door to all sorts of fun gameplay ideas and stories. We could be strategizing hunts, using animal senses to solve puzzles, or just enjoying the pure joy of moving around a world built for a specific creature. Stray has shown us a glimpse of this future, and it’s a future filled with meows, barks, and roars of excitement.

It’s a future where video games break free from the same old stories and let us experience the world through entirely new eyes, paws, and wings. Buckle up, because the future of gaming is looking fur-ociously fun. 

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Fahad Shabbir is a 3rd-year computer science student with a lifelong passion for gaming. As an opinion writer at eXputer with a deep love for challenging experiences, Fahad brings a unique perspective to the table. His background in various genres and active participation in gaming forums fuel his insightful analysis of the industry's hottest topics. Expect him to dissect the latest releases, unpack hidden depths, and provide a detailed look at the ever-evolving landscape of PC gaming. Get familiar with Fahad's gaming library by checking out his Steam profile.

Covers Opinion Pieces at eXputer || Education: Bachelors in Computer Science.

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