What happened to B12 and cats?

What happened to B12 and cats?
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A cat prepares to jump between two pipes on a straw.

screenshot: Annapurna/Kotaku

misguided, a post-apocalyptic adventure game about a cat, is mostly awesome. There are two of us Kotaku recently Run through his puzzlehis throat Dense, mysteriously post-apocalyptic environment And generally enjoy living outdoors Ability to role-play a cat. Then we hit the credits. Obviously, we had to talk.

Ari Note: John, we finished both misguided. Tell me: the last land for you? Or is it… deviating from what makes the rest of the game so great?

John Walker: I knew we were off the hook. No, I will tell my experience misguided It was a straight diagonal line, starting at the top and then going down from the bottom until it came to an absolutely terrible end.

Ari: I’m not quite the same—lots of really high plateaus that fall off a cliff at the end—but I totally agree that the ending is terrible. I actually had to warn people IRL: it’s so sad!

John: And yet, I’ve had so many people so furiously tell me off for suggesting forgetting the ending entirely. The whole reason I was playing the game. But I think a lot of it is unwilling to admit that the cute cat sim has already become just another gray third-person robot game, so defense vs. reality is already too much.

Spoilers follow misguided.

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

Ari: Ah, yes, that blog rubbed some people’s furs on the back, didn’t it? But yeah, the whole point of the game misguided Pretty straightforward: you want to reunite the cat with its friends. And you go through all these adventures—including those robot shooty segments, the merits of which we disagree but for which I totally respect your opinion—only to have no idea that he’ll ever see his friends again. It’s a very strange ending to a game that is otherwise preoccupied with hope.

John: They’re not even just friends, right? They are siblings who love each other. They’re an abandoned litter of kittens, survivors of an apocalypse, and then one of their number falls. This sets up a game that, of course, is uniquely focused on getting back at your brothers and sisters. And instead it’s like they just completely forgot. They involve themselves in some utterly pointless sacrilege.

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

screenshot: Annapurna/Kotaku

Ari: Yes! For a game about a cat, it got too caught up in the drama surrounding a human Is B-12 really the last living person that you buy? And more importantly, did you buy that he would suddenly turn tail (sorry, sorry, I can’t help it) and decide within minutes that all semblance of humanity wasn’t worth continuing?

John: In fact, it is the human consciousness trapped in the machine. It is a small city district, so for all we know millions of people could live happily in China, or Sweden, or Bangladesh, or Australia. And none of this explains the reasoning behind his apparent “abandonment”. He apparently uploads his consciousness to the computer, so there’s no sacrifice anyway, but beyond that, what was his purpose? To release a cat, an animal that has no interest in anything but itself, back outside, for what? What is the goal? If this is the end of humanity, as the game seems to imply, he did it so he could get the… cat out?

Ari: Oh, man, no way, cats have definitely evolved past pure self-interest! (I should note my own cats.) In the prison scene, for example, he’s running away with Clementine, and then he says, “Meow, meow, meow, meow,” which translates, I believe, to “We can’t. Leave us yet.” Have to perform a risky operation and rescue my friend B12, who is trapped in this cage guarded by lasers and laser-shooting robots.”

John: I was too confused as to whether I was supposed to buy a cat to figure out what the B-12 was saying, or like my own cat, looking at where the noise was coming from and then hoping for food on the way. I played it as a game where an uninterested cat would accidentally flip the right switches or bump into the right person.

But all that aside, I would have forgiven any amount of horribly indulgent faux-abandonment nonsense if, at the end, my cat had emerged from off-camera into the bright sunshine, exclaiming, “Meow?!” That’s it. This is what I need. I don’t need to watch Reunion to see them roll over each other. I just needed to know it was happening.

Ari: Exactly! And I understand what they were going for by leaving an open ending to not tie up the story neatly for the audience. But all it needed was the tiniest suggestion that a happy ending might happen—all that a little “meow” off-screen could accomplish.

John: What’s even more surprising is that they did a “maybe!” The end. Apart from that, the bloody people! We turned on the computer light, which I can only assume meant B-12 was still alive.

Ari: So what does that mean for the sequel? All robot-shooty parts, no cute cat stuff?

John: I sure hope they don’t make a sequel. They are a talented bunch, though misguided revealed that they had absolutely no idea what to do with the idea they had. I either want to see their next new idea, or just focus on making cat sims that everyone wants first. God, those microscopic observations they showed near the beginning. And the joyful moment when the cat puts on the first funny saddle. One of our kittens had to be put in a protective sock after she was spayed, and she did the exact same thing, just like a building had collapsed on top of her. It was a joy to see these details so beautifully realized. Which puts an end to some annoying robo-bloke relationship, maybe frustratingly stupid not killing himself.

Ari: Poor kitty! Please tell me if you have that picture.


A cat in a jacket is walking around on a carpet.

Photo: Kotaku

Ari: A. But yes, misguided Just like the feeling of being a cat, banging on a keyboard and playing chess with people etc. And I think it carries that feeling mostly to the end. (Even the shooting segment(which was a flash in my mind—I actually found myself wishing for an extra chapter or two.) But unlike a real cat, the game didn’t land on all fours.

John: Before we finish, and you’re making some more mistakes about the shooting segments, let me tell you how the ending went down in our house: Toby, my 7-year-old, had some friends over, while I was finishing the game on the living room TV. Toby completely lost interest in the game after he stopped being a cat, but wanted to be there for the reunion. Since it was clear that the game was going to let me out, I said to him, “Toby, what do you think is going to happen?” He sat up, “Kitten!” And so we all watched for the inevitable, glorious moment… and there was none. And we looked at each other in shock. It was just so flagrantly awful. And Toby lamented this oversight for days. And when a 7-year-old is critiquing your story structure, you know something is wrong.

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