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Stray's Cat Is Just As Adorable In Real Life

Cat-lovers, prepare to squeal with joy and excitement. The cat from the newly released PlayStation and PC game "Stray” is already adorable, but their design came from an equally-adorable real-life inspiration.


Fans of cats and platformers alike have likely been looking forward to the release of "Stray." A truly unique experience, the game sees players taking the role of a cat, lost in a dystopian cyberpunk world, trying to get back to its family. Over the course of the game, players will explore the world, fend off robots, and solve puzzles to make it back home. Annapurna Interactive and BlueTwelve Studio just released the game and it's already getting a great reception from critics. It's received praise not just for its gameplay and its exploration of the human condition, but also for its ability to accurately capture the behavior of a cat.

And when it comes to the accurate depiction of cats in "Stray," it seems the developers had plenty of inspiration to draw on. Ahead of the game's release, the official PlayStation blog ran a post from the game's producer, Swann Martin-Raget. In the post, Martin-Raget discussed the development of the game's protagonist and revealed the digital feline's real world counterpart.


Meet Murtaugh

The cat in "Stray," as it turns out, was inspired by a pet belonging to Koola and Viv, BlueTwelve's co-founders. This lovable little guy goes by the name Murtaugh, although he's also known as "The Boss" by those who love him. Found as an actual stray in Montpellier, France, Murtaugh experienced a true rags-to-riches story when he was rescued from the streets. Now he has a home, a family, and a place in gaming history.


Martin-Raget wrote that, while Murtaugh was not outright recreated in the game, "he was definitely a huge inspiration" for the character. Comparing pictures of Murtaugh and the precious, big-eyed orange tabby cat who stars in "Stray," it's easy to see the resemblance. What fans may not realize, however, is that Murtaugh wasn't the only inspiration for "Stray." And while he was kind enough to lend his appearance to the game, another cat helped out with getting the animations of cat movement in the game just right.

Oscar the Sphynx inspired Stray's Feline movement

For research into how cats move, the developer relied on a Sphynx named Oscar. 

Oscar joined the team at the studio daily, and watching how he moved and interacted with the world was a big help in capturing specific cat behaviors in the game. "Animating a quadruped is already quite challenging but the subtleties of a cat's movements are incredibly precise and hard to convey properly," Martin-Raget explained. Having Oscar on-site proved to be invaluable in overcoming this obstacle. Sphinxes are known for their curiosity, playfulness, climbing ability, and love of exploring, so it makes sense that such a cat would be an inspiration for a game based around feline exploration and adventure.


Additionally, because Sphinxes are hairless, it's potentially easier to observe cats' fluid movements without the hindrance of fur. Oscar came to the studio frequently, doing his own work of being the perfect model as animators worked on "Stray," and likely providing some companionship along the way. However, there was one additional cat in the office that had a softer paw in the making of "Stray."

Don't forget Jun

There's one more cat that the developers wanted to introduce and thank: Jun. Martin-Raget wrote, "Being the executive chief general president commander director officer at the studio, he was in charge of monitoring the team's efforts everyday and making sure everyone was working on the right topic." Jun went to the office almost every day, helping the team stay on task and providing another excellent cat model for animators to observe.


In addition to the joy of seeing a virtual cat behaving just like a real one (only with more robots hanging around), PlayStation users can also be happy that the game is currently free for PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium members. Further, Xbox users can take some solace in the fact that, although Stray isn't available on Xbox Series X|S at the moment, this is only a timed exclusive. There's a good chance the game will make it to Microsoft's consoles at some point down the road.

So, if you'd like to meet Murtaugh, Oscar, and Jun — or at least the cat that they inspired — you should probably give "Stray" a shot. The BlueTwelve Studio cats definitely give it four paws up.