Robots, machines, and mutant bacteria – not traditionally the playmates of gorgeous little feline companions, are they? Yet, 2022’s Stray managed to make the relationship between cats and robots and things that should not be, somehow, incredibly sweet. The critics all agreed: this was a game to be played by everyone, a wonderful experiment in feline-lensed platforming pulled off with charm and heart. It’s just a shame that anyone that didn’t own a PlayStation or PC would never get the chance.
Well, now, a year later, things are looking more hopeful for cat lovers on the Xbox side of the console rift. Stray – which has been a PlayStation console exclusive since it launched on July 19, 2022 – has now received a new Xbox rating by the European Software Rating Board (or ESRB, for short).
Twitter user @MACOS380 spotted that Stray has been rated as E for Everyone 10+ by the ratings board. As on the previous version of the release, the ESRB notes that Stray features animated blood and fantasy violence.
It’s not a spoiler to share that the rating draws attention to various plot points and hazards you’ll encounter as you guide your stray cat back home. "Players sometimes encounter parasitic blobs/mice-like bots that can attack and kill the cat,” it highlights. “Players can access a UV light to defeat the mice-like bots, causing them to explode and emit splashes of coloured liquid." It’s all very much what you’d expect from cat simulator – but I still think it would have been better with a dog.
The game, as well as being a win for Sony as far as nabbing the rights to interesting and unique indie titles goes, was also a headline addition to PlayStation Plus. At launch, Stray was available for the members of the Extra, Deluxe, and Premium tiers of PlayStation Plus – a big statement that was deigned to highlight the launch of Sony’s revamped, Game Pass-rivalling subscription service. Does that mean we’re liable to see Stray come to Xbox Game Pass? It’s not impossible.
So, when will we finally get to enjoy this third-person adventure game and the company of our eponymous Stray cat on Xbox consoles? Nothing has been confirmed yet, but these console deals often carry about a year of enforced exclusivity for their platform – and that means we’re likely to see Stray come to Xbox on or around July 19, 2023 (take that with a pinch of salt, though).
Stray did very well with players and critics around the world. In its launch week alone, it managed to coax over 62,000 cat lovers out of the woodwork on just Steam (whose players thought it was better than God of War, for goodness' sake). If you're an achievement hunter, you'll be tasked with channeling your inner cat to get all the sweet points and, take it from someone that's done it on PlayStation, it's one of the most fun lists you'll get to paw at this year.
When the game launched for PlayStation, we heard that it helped save real-life homeless cats – here’s hoping a new lease of life into BlueTwelve’s cracking little adventure will do the same again this year.