Why everyone is obsessed with a cat cyberpunk game

A kitten sleeps next to a poster for Stray in Meow Parlor.

photo: kotaku

My method of measuring a game’s popularity does not depend on analyzing sales numbers from NPD or concurrent player lists from SteamDB. No, my tell is pass-fail: whether or not my mom texted me about it. In the last week or so my mom has asked me more about “the cat game” than any other game I’ve covered. Apparently it’s all over her social media. Right people: Stray has officially passed into the Normie realm.

Strayan adventure game released last week for PlayStation and PC is the debut of French developer BlueTwelve Studio and the latest portfolio success from publisher Annapurna Interactive (known for its role as purveyor of offbeat indie mega-hits like Outer Wilds). You play as an orange tabby and spend your time exploring – or if you’re me, get lost– in a cyberpunk city populated by robots. part of Stray‘s meteoric buzz is because the game is novel, and really good, and word of mouth is a powerful tool. But it was backed by an advertising campaign that doesn’t fit the mold of typical video game marketing.

You would expect trailers and hype talk at popular industry events, maybe even an advertisement with a snack or soda brand. You’re less likely to see an engagement campaign with nonprofitske the Nebraska Humane Society (NHS). Earlier this month, NHS organized a charity event tied to the start of Stray: Donate $5 and you could win a copy of the game. It also resulted in a real estate that accounted for more than $7,000. A representative of the NHS said polygon that most of the donations came from first-time donors.

The adoption events are also held IRL. Over the weekend, Annapurna organized a pop-up in Meow Salon, a cat cafe in the trendy Lower East Side neighborhood of New York City. It’s a clever marketing move. Meow Parlor is generally quite busy (admission is by reservation only), so Stray got a nice full day of publicity, possibly reaching people who were just there to hang out with kitties. In return, Meow Parlor received a guaranteed stream of potential new pet parents for the dozens of kittens currently put up for adoption. (Two were adopted when I left.)

Two kittens sleep on a bookshelf in Meow Parlor for a stray pop-up event.

photo: kotaku

The cats, aged between eight weeks and two years, crawled over the participants and chased toy mice. People drank cold brew and lined up to play Stray on a PS5 rear. The cats wanted in too:

A black fur cat lies in front of a TV screen showing Stray.

photo: kotaku

There was even one Stray-branded backpacks by Travel Cat– even a logical product connection for the game. (The backpack comes with a cat harness similar to the vest worn by Stray‘s protagonist in the game.) However, because of this little guy, I didn’t ask for the try on:

A cat with black fur sleeps in the Stray backpack from Travel Cat.

photo: kotaku

To some degree in hindsight Stray‘s buzz was a slam dunk. It’s a video game about a cat. People love cats. It has undoubtedly benefited from this Launch as the first exclusive Day-One Continue to play Sony’s revamped PS Plus service, which now offers a Netflix-like library of on-demand games. This is a strong brew. But there’s a secret sauce to this game that gives it some serious appeal.

It’s not often you see posts about video games go semi-viral on non-gaming subreddits, but you don’t need to scroll down far r/cats sub Find pictures of cats obsessed with Stray. At the moment, how VGC mention, that, Stray– Not a hyper-violent first-person shooter, not a nerve-wrackingly difficult action-platformer, not a sales giant elden ring– is the highest rated game on Steam. Gamers are clearly craving an understated antithesis to the brutality that so often serves as the backbone for mass-market games, and it shows. Some players just found out about it by accident Stray because the publisher has liberally used what the internet has never been able to look away from: kittens.

Anyway mom, I hope this answers your question.

https://kotaku.com/stray-annapurna-interactive-meow-parlour-travel-cat-1849327602 Why everyone is obsessed with a cat cyberpunk game

Curtis Crabtree

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