Stray is the latest example of a sweet and underappreciated gaming trend
Animals are sacred in all forms of media, video games included. Many of us can play through gratuitously violent games with battles against zombies, monsters, and even fellow humans without batting an eye, but the moment an animal is harmed, the appeal quickly dwindles. That’s why players are curious about Stray, a game in which you play as a beautiful orange cat, with many anxious to know whether this character can die or get hurt. This is far from the first time players have been worried about the fate of a furry friend, but this example reminds us of a heartwarming trend that comes alongside games with animals in them.
No harm, only pet
Players are often concerned about animals getting hurt in video games (and films), which has led to the creation of fansites such as Does the Dog Die. This site features entries for movies, TV shows, and video games with information about whether they depict any form of animal abuse. The idea is to use this as a guide if you’re someone who’d rather avoid any media in which animals are hurt. It’s not uncommon for players to completely skip certain games that do feature violence toward animals.
When The Last of Us Part II launched in 2020, players were searching for how to avoid killing the dogs in the game. This can be done — with the exception of one particular scenario. As Mashable points out, this scene is “brutal,” but you can look away since all you need to do is mash Circle to get through it.
Still, the mere fact that dogs can be killed was enough to turn players off.
So, does the cat die in Stray?
Now, with the launch of Stray, players are curious about the same thing, as illustrated in a recent Fanbyte article. In fact, ahead of the publication of Inverse’s review, I received a message from someone asking about whether the cat dies at the end of the game. Thankfully, they do not.
In Stray, you play as an adorable cat who can actually die during certain segments — think a typical Game Over scenario. Thankfully, it’s not common since the game doesn’t feature much combat. There are a few instances where the cat can be overrun by alien creatures called Zurks, and some sections feature robot drones that shoot lasers. Thankfully, these moments aren’t too graphic, especially since the screen quickly fades to obscure everything. In terms of the story itself, no, the cat does not die.
It’s heartwarming that so many players are concerned about the fates of our furry little friends in video games. Oftentimes, the video game industry is full of exhausting discourse and toxicity, so it’s refreshing that many of us have come together to share our love for animals, even for fictional ones that live in a cyberpunk dystopian city.
Stray is out for PS4, PS5, and PC via Steam now.