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What Happened To B12 And The Cat?

A cat prepares to jump between two pipes in Stray.

Screenshot: Annapurna / Kotaku

Stray, a post-apocalyptic journey sport a couple of cat, is usually wonderful. Two of us at Kotaku lately powered via its puzzles, devouring its dense, mysteriously post-apocalyptic environments and customarily having fun with dwelling out the power-fantasy of role-playing a cat. Then we hit the credit. Clearly, we needed to speak.

Ari Notis: John, we’ve each completed Stray. Inform me: Did the ending land for you? Or did it…stray from what made the remainder of the sport so nice?

John Walker: I knew we had been however a whisker away from a pun. No, I might say my expertise of Stray was a straight diagonal line, beginning excessive, after which getting decrease and decrease till its completely horrible ending.

Ari: I’m not fairly the identical—extra of a extremely excessive plateau that fell precipitously off a cliff on the finish—however I completely agree, that ending is terrible. I really needed to warn folks IRL: It’s so freakin’ unhappy!

John: And but, I’ve had so many individuals so furiously inform me off for suggesting the ending completely forgets THE ENTIRE REASON I WAS PLAYING THE GAME. However I do assume a number of that is an unwillingness to confess that the gorgeous cat sim had already lengthy turn out to be one more grey third-person robotic sport, so defenses versus actuality are already very excessive.

Spoilers observe for Stray.

A yellow banner prevents readers from accidentally seeing spoilers about Stray's ending.

Ari: Ah, yeah, that weblog kinda rubbed some folks’s fur backwards, didn’t it? However yeah, the entire cause to play Stray is fairly simple: You wish to reunite the cat along with his pals. And also you undergo all this adventuring—together with these robotic shooty sections, whose deserves we disagree on however in a method that I completely respect your opinion for—solely to not even get an inkling that he sees his pals once more. It’s a really odd ending for a sport that’s in any other case so preoccupied with hope.

John: They’re not even simply pals, are they? They’re siblings who love one another. They’re an deserted litter of kittens, survivors of an apocalypse, after which certainly one of their quantity falls. That units up a sport that’s, in fact, uniquely targeted on returning to your brothers and sisters. And as a substitute it’s like they simply completely forgot. They tangled themselves up in some utterly meaningless ignoble sacrifice.

B-12 speaks while hovering over a computer in Stray.

Screenshot: Annapurna / Kotaku

Ari: Yep! For a sport a couple of cat, it bought too caught up within the drama round a human. Do you purchase that B-12 is actually the final dwelling human? And extra importantly, did you purchase that he’d instantly flip tail (sorry, sorry, I can’t assist it) and determine, within the span of some minutes, that each one hint of humanity isn’t price persevering with?

John: Effectively, he’s a human consciousness trapped in a machine. That is one small metropolis district, so for all we all know there could be tens of millions of people dwelling fortunately elsewhere in China, or in Sweden, or Bangladesh, or Australia. And none of this explains the rationale behind his obvious “sacrifice.” He clearly uploads his consciousness to the pc, so there’s no sacrifice anyway, however past that, what was his goal? To launch a cat, a creature that has no real interest in something aside from itself, again exterior, for what? What’s the objective? If it had been the top of humanity, as the sport desires to suggest, he did that so he may…let the cat out?

Ari: Aw, man, no method, the cat undoubtedly has advanced previous pure self-interest! (My very own cats ought to take notice.) Within the jail scene, as an example, he’s escaping with Clementine, after which he’s like, “Meow, meow meow meow, meow,” which interprets, I imagine, to, “We are able to’t go away but. Now we have to stage a dangerous operation and rescue my pal B12, who’s trapped on this cage guarded by lasers and laser-shooting robots.”

John: I used to be very confused all through by whether or not I used to be supposed to purchase into the cat understanding what B-12 was saying, or as with my very own cats, simply observing the place the noise comes from, after which hoping there’s meals on the best way. I performed it as a sport wherein an uninterested cat by accident retains occurring to flip the proper switches, or stumble upon the proper particular person.

However all this apart, I’d have forgiven any quantity of dreadful indulgent faux-sacrifice nonsense if, on the finish, my cat had emerged into the intense sunshine to listen to, from simply off digital camera, a stunned, “Mew?!” That’s it. That’s all I wanted. I didn’t have to see a reunion, to look at them tumble over each other. I simply wanted to comprehend it was about to occur.

Ari: Precisely! And I kinda get what they had been going for, leaving an open-ended finale in order to not neatly tie up the story for the viewers. Nevertheless it simply wanted the tiniest suggestion {that a} joyful ending may occur—which is what a little bit “meow” off-screen would’ve achieved.

John: What’s even weirder is that they DID do such a “Perhaps!” ending. Besides it was concerning the bloody human! We bought that laptop mild switching on, which I can solely assume was suggesting B-12 was nonetheless alive.

Ari: So what’s that imply for the sequel? All robot-shooty components, no cute cat stuff?

John: I clearly hope they don’t make a sequel. They’re a gifted bunch, however Stray revealed they’d completely no concept what to do with the concept they’d had. I both wish to see their subsequent recent concept, or simply deal with making the cat sim everybody actually wished within the first place. God, these microscopic observations they confirmed close to the beginning. And the joyful second when the cat first places on the ridiculous saddle. We needed to put certainly one of our kittens in a protecting sock after she was spayed, and he or she did precisely the identical, simply collapsing like a constructing was on high of her. To see these particulars realized so neatly, it was joyful. Which makes an ending about some boring robo-bloke possibly not having killed himself for the stupidest cause ever one thing of a disappointment.

Ari: Poor kitty! Please inform me you’ve got photographs of that.


A cat wearing a jacket rolls around on a carpet.

Photograph: Kotaku

Ari: Awwww. However yeah, Stray completely nails the sensation of being a cat, proper all the way down to waltzing over a keyboard and fucking up folks’s chess video games and such. And I do assume it carries that feeling principally via to the top. (Even the capturing segments, which glided by in a flash in my thoughts—I really discovered myself wishing for an additional chapter or two.) However in contrast to an actual cat, the sport didn’t land on all 4 legs.

John: Earlier than we wrap up, and also you’re unsuitable concerning the capturing sections some extra, let me inform you how the ending went down in our home: Toby, my 7-year-old, had some pals over, as I used to be ending the sport on the lounge TV. Toby had completely misplaced curiosity within the sport as soon as it stopped being about being a cat, however wished to be there for the reunion. Because it was clear the sport was about to let me exterior, I stated to him, “Toby, what do you assume’s about to occur?” He sat up, “The kittens!” And so all of us watched for the inevitable, superb second… And there was simply nothing. And we checked out one another in shock. It was simply so flagrantly terrible. And Toby continued to lament this oversight for days after. And when a 7-year-old is critiquing your story construction, you already know one thing’s unsuitable.


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