Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-07-21 20:52 JST)
Stray, an adventure game starring a stray cat, just launched on July 19 for the PS4, PS5, and PC (Steam). The game has already made a name for itself since launching for its detailed cat depictions and beautiful scenery as players roam a cybercity inhabited by robots. However, it appears that some gamers who are interested in this unique title have been hesitant to jump in.
The reason being, they don’t want to see any harm come to the cat. Stray is a game about wandering and exploring the city as a cat. It also has post-apocalyptic elements and dangerous creatures that appear. And of course, there are also sections where these creatures attack during gameplay. For those that only want to freely explore and enjoy cute cats, this might make them hesitate.
Not just with Stray, but in games, movies, and other types of fiction, many say they’re okay with seeing bad things happen to humans but not to animals. In the case of Stray, we can see cat lovers who are interested in the game but thinking twice about giving it a try.
They could check actual gameplay videos online, but many players like to go into games spoiler free. There are also likely people who are worried about watching videos about the game on the chance they might see something shocking they don’t want to see there as well.
The reason that amplified these players’ concerns are rumors that have been spreading online in Japan about what’s depicted in the game. Some players have written reviews stating that those with no stomach for horror or the grotesque should be warned. These reviews also contain what many would consider exaggerations saying the cat is harmed in the game and suggesting cruel depictions of dead bodies. These reviews caused many to speculate about the game, with some receiving thousands of retweets and creating a sense of uneasiness around it.
To combat this, other players have taken to social media to explain what is portrayed in the game without going into spoilers. Rods, an influencer and writer, gave a detailed description of how game overs are shown and how they don’t contain cruelty. @tamago_gamer mentions that while they can’t recommend it for everyone, says posts calling things in the game severe are nothing more than exaggerations. In fact, the account initially responsible for spreading the exaggerated information is now private, so the post can’t be read anyway. However, the misinformation still remains, and we can see others trying to clear it up.
Stray received a CERO B (ages 12 and older) rating in Japan and an ESRB E10+ rating in North America with just “Animated Blood” and “Fantasy Violence” content descriptors, which is also a sign that there is no extreme violence depicted in the game. Even when getting a game over when being attacked by creatures, the cat just flops over. The game over screen turning red might suggest blood but the cat itself isn’t seen bleeding.
However, if you fall from a high area, the cat will drag its leg as if it’s injured. There are also parasitic blobs in the game that chase the cat in some areas and latch onto it. Moreso than seeing something bad happen to the cat, the small organisms that appear in large numbers seem more likely to trigger trypophobia in some players. There are also disgusting fleshy walls and eyeballs that appear that players may want to be aware of.
The level of portrayed horror or violence that one will allow varies wildly from person to person. In Stray, the cat does face some difficult situations. However, even in that world, cats still retain their soothing charm many of us love so much, and Stray cuts no corners showing the charm of cats in the game. The development team’s cat expertise is on display everywhere in Stray, and as of this writing, the game has over 23,000 user reviews on Steam with a 97% positive rating. This means the game is sitting at a rating of “Overwhelmingly Positive” as its momentum only continues to grow.
Stray is now available on PS4, PS5, and PC (Steam). It’s also now playable for PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium members at no extra charge.