Stray: the story of a broken humanity

Stray: the story of a broken humanity


Stray has been a video game that, since its announcement, has aroused the interest of many video game enthusiasts. The idea of ​​impersonating a kitten has awakened in many of us the desire to explore the facets and messages within it, dedicating ourselves to a real insight into the Stray phenomenon and what it entailed in the video game landscape.

Controversy apart, of course, we could say that a week after its publication, the BlueTwelve Studio production has given us several ideas. Whether for its theme, whether for its themes and whether for what it talks about, Stray is in fact the video game that everyone - or almost - expected and hoped for. Is it a perfect video game, though? It is not, as no video game, on the other hand, could be considered as such; it is nevertheless a videogame that, with simplicity, tells us a world and stories in an intimate way, digging into the memories that we could feel if the world we know fell on itself like a sieve.

Why, if not. had you understood, Stray is set in a world inhabited by robots and disgusting creatures called Zurk, creatures that we do not remember at all with pleasure, because they are the representation of a planet that no longer belongs to us. And then the world suddenly becomes silent, truly devoid of all the essence that humanity, on the other hand, has been able to offer to others, while making fatal mistakes. Besides, why has Stray's world been reduced to this state? We could blame humanity, sleeping peacefully in this way. Or we could, if we were really interested, reflect on the Zurks and their origin, which is much more disturbing if we reflect on our actuality, far from the virtual one, yet at the same time frightening.

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In the meantime, however, there is a kitten who sets out on a distant journey, unaware of what she might find on her path. And no, she is not a litter, much less a ball of wool, but a world that, unceremoniously, is more of a threat than a hospitable place. And this is how Stray actually starts from a leap into the void with the prospect of filling it with emotions, memories and sensations.

Delicate themes and narration: how Stray proposes his story

We recently talked about how clones can connect other forms of life and how many others are capable of replicating human feelings, containing them in black boxes, and Stray does not betray this philosophy at all, exalting it in an intimate and touching way, making us to know a world that slowly opens up, introducing itself during the journey. Do not think you are facing the story of "La Gabbianella and the Cat", because the story of the kitten starts from the ruins of an abandoned city, in what remains of a now disused aqueduct.

The narrative construction starts , in short, from the assumption of making us understand what it means to survive in a world now dismantled by an apocalypse in the role of a kitten who hopes to purr to her loved ones, stray cats fleeing horror. Inevitably, the story follows an already proven pace, and focuses on its themes and the way of presenting itself, which is convincing because it allows us to discover a reality far more serious than we could ever imagine.

The kitten is a protagonist silent, whose depth we understand only thanks to B-12, the robot who immediately becomes her friend, guiding her through the post apocalyptic scenarios that they find themselves living, as if they were two common threads united by the same pain. It is an interesting and unexpected message, which concerns both humanity and the protagonist of the journey we have decided to embody. And it is precisely the friendship between B-12 and the kitten that becomes stronger, as if each of them had real feelings for each other: it is humanity that comes out, remained under control for too long. , never showing up.

Not revealing too much of the main story, to make Stray a unique video game of its kind, even if it is part of a well-tested and recognized ludic current, is its way to approach the issues and the player, who is inevitably dragged through a careful and careful writing, both of the events and of the protagonists. You will legitimately wonder how a kitten can be at the center of this successful script: it is simply inserted in the scenarios in an appropriate way, making others make the necessary introductions.

B-12, in addition to being its voice , is also her most trusted friend, as well as the only one who seems to understand her at the moment, as she misses her family, which she left shortly after jumping into the void. The most relevant message, which is impossible not to grasp, is the kitten's leap into the void as if it were her responsibility to give the world a future again, giving it the light it needs to shine again. We could precisely consider it a secondary thing, but it is clear how much everything is structured to arrive at a moral that, if understood, could make us re-evaluate many nuances of the video game developed by BlueTwelve Studio, which was able to pack a pleasant and intimate, albeit imperfect (but we wouldn't worry about that).

The question we should ask ourselves, at this point, is whether Stray has achieved his goal and been true to his purpose, if he has managed to to be beyond “The video game where you play a cat” and if you have convinced and surprised. The answer, as you might guess, is a strong yes, because in Stray it's not so much who we impersonate and why, but who we are and how we approach this ruined world. There are no choices, there are no secondary options and there are no requests to be respected, repeating the same missions over and over again. There is, however, a lot of passion.

Stray, for those unfamiliar with him, is a story driven that winks at dynamic adventures, and we couldn't expect more from it; not so much because Annapurna Interactive is behind him, nor because it had to be as requested by the players. Thinking of it in this way already totally kills the message which, if played and understood, would allow everyone to understand what it means to step into the shoes of a kitten in such a world.

A living, pulsating world : as Stray proposes the apocalypse

As we mentioned before, the world of Stray is back from an apocalypse that has killed human beings and almost all forms of life. Few have survived: examples are kittens, ruthless Zurk and, last but not least, the Oltraggiosi, robots that replicate human feelings as if they were NieR: Automata's biomachines.

As we interface with them, we immediately thought back to Yoko Taro's work, reflecting on certain similarities that it was a pleasure to find in Stray to a certainly more contained but still impactful extent. During the exploration of the Slums, in fact, we found ourselves in front of a world that radiated light and joy from all pores, even if everything seemed circumstantial. And those smiles, which we did not see stretch in a face but through a screen, did not seem real at all.

Not going into too many details, the construction of the game world is the most success of the production thanks to its atmospheres, treated with attention and with the hope of totally enhancing every moment and dialogue. The Outrageous, forced to live in confined places, are robots that once belonged to humans, doing the most tiring jobs for them, as if no human being ever wanted to lift a muscle. Now they are the intelligent life form, presenting us as a robotic people who live for the day, following rhythms that could remind us of the same ones we use in the same way today.

Already this, if nothing else , it is useful for us to fully understand what these synthetics are experiencing, confined to places where they remember a light and green, referring to the world and what remained of it after the apocalypse. We got used to experiencing what comes after the end of the world by going into the most distressing details while remembering that we were alive, and that it was worth surviving, despite everything. This is what we read from the eyes of the Outrageous, a people who once needed another and who now, by replicating those same behaviors, remember it as if it could revive it, making the same mistakes but limiting the same destruction.

The urban agglomerations of the Oltraggiosi, places used for everyday life, have deeply enchanted us, giving us the feeling that after a forced isolation, there is still hope for the world. Or at least, for a world dominated by the new surviving creatures, such as the still intact artificial intelligences, which could be more than just AI, but real memories of a now extinct race. It is a theme that certain video games, specifically those published by Yoko Taro and as many independent works, have used in the past but with a certainly different cut from the one we experienced with Stray.

Create , writing and making a people known in video games is the most complex part, because there are behaviors and language to be taken into consideration, which represents the very nature of a culture. If on the one hand the Outrages appear to us as replicas of human beings, on the other hand they remain robots, and as such they can live forever, unless they are destroyed. Man, on the contrary, has an expiration date; just like our kitten has it. Seeing the lights of the Slums, certainly the poorest part of a city that remained in the past, our protagonist may have finally known what the world was like in the past, and where the cats were even located.

If we could reveal it to her , we would tell her that she could have kept an entire family in check, giving purr, joy and happiness to anyone who paid attention to her. Always, of course, for something in return, because she is still a kitten with requests to satisfy. Net of this, however, Stray could be considered a modern fairy tale, the intimate tale we needed.

It is a work that does not want to amaze and surprise, because these are not its intentions, but intends to tell a story and do it in its own way, making us understand how complex it is to be able to remember a chaotic and forgotten world. Taking on the burden of telling it, we recognize B-12's friendship towards the kitten, as if, despite everything, a shred of humanity has remained in all that darkness.

The moral of a post apocalyptic tale

We talked about a people, the kitten, her past and the development team in general. The gameplay, however, we have not yet touched. Stray does not intend to propose a memorable play structure, but to tell the contexts, scenes and moments in an overwhelming and satisfying way. For some time now, video games are no longer just playful, and rightly so, because every development team is essential that it proposes itself to the public in the way it deems appropriate, not doing too much but limiting itself to what is necessary, which in itself it's really complex.

However, Stray's story begins with sweetness and ends in the same way. We can only tell you this in our definitive analysis of this game and what her undeniable strengths are. It is not a complex or intricate production, and indeed: it does not really want to be. Stray reminds us that sometimes, beyond perfection, there is an imperfect world that is impossible to control, where you need to have the right sensitivity to fully understand it. Through a kitten in search of the way home, Stray talks about us, making us understand that we are lost forever. And he makes us understand that at least one kitten can find her, the way home. On the contrary ours.

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