Stray strays from modern conventions in one notable way: It doesn’t allow you to customize your character—at all. But three days into the game’s release cycle, modders are already doing their damndest to set things straight.
Developed by BlueTwelve and out this week for PlayStation and PC, Stray is a post-apocalyptic puzzle-exploration game about reuniting a cat with his pack of pals, who are also all cats. You’re cast as an orange tabby (the friendliest breed, by the way, according to Actual Science) but aren’t offered any options to change your fur. All of the other cats who appear in the game—albeit fleetingly—aren’t orange, which has led some players to wonder why their avatar is confined to one pattern.
In May, during a closed hands-off preview attended by Kotaku, BlueTwelve producer Swann Martin-Raget addressed the topic. “It was actually a heated debate in the team,” he said, before explaining that the decision to stick with an orange tabby came down to two key factors: production limitations and narrative justification.
“We are a small team, and production-wise, it was quite tricky to have something that really was at the quality level we wanted,” Martin-Raget said. “But also … the story is quite important for us, and this character—it’s really his story. So we wanted him to be recognizable and unique in the game.”
Having played through Stray to the credits, yes, the orange fur does lend the protagonist—who does not have a name but is inspired by one of the studio head’s own cats—a distinct and recognizable look. But if you’re determined to play as a different breed, you have options, albeit unofficially. Over the past week, the modders of the world have flooded the tubes on sites like Nexus Mods with alfurnative options. (Sorry, PlayStation owners, but mods are only available on PC.) Here’s a sampling:
- One mod, courtesy of Vivi, can make the cat gray or black.
- SpaceD0lphin released a mod that includes a slew of hand-painted options
- Narwhix published a mod that makes the cat look like Garfield (lasagna not included), in addition to one that changes the cat’s decorative backpack badge to show the trans flag.
- The user NorskPL released mods that turn the cat purple or black with a little white mustache (!!!).
- GrimTech’s PatrickJr put out one mod that gives the cat white fur with orange accents.
- Sirgalahad172 has been on a tear, releasing options for brown, red, white, black-and-white, white-and-gray, and—this one’s my personal favorite—Siamese with blue eyes. (Sirgalahad172 also put out a mod that gives the cat a newsboy cap. It’s compatible with all the fur-change options, too.)
Customization options aren’t the only mods taking over the game’s community. Already, users have come up with methods for playing Stray, a single-player game, in splitscreen multiplayer. There’s another mod that adds Nyanners cat noises. At this rate, oh no…it’s only a matter of time before someone turns Stray into an I Can Haz Cheezburger battle royale, isn’t it?