I read that Annapurna Interactive actually discovered HK_Project from one of those early GIFs. What was your reaction when they reached out to you about funding the game? Were you surprised you found a publisher through such a grassroots approach?Viv:
We were really happy to see that the world we were shaping was triggering the interest of so many people at the time. We were definitely happily surprised and very excited that Nathan Gary from Annapurna was interested too!
The setting for Stray is loosely based on Kowloon Walled City, which itself has a fascinating history. How did the walled city influence the game’s design, look, and mechanics?
Viv: The walled city of Kowloon was an initial inspiration of the project. It was while trying to make environments of that type that we realized a cat would be the perfect main character. We really wanted to make the players feel like they are lost, just like we felt lost looking at those references. This unique moment when you look around you and you tell yourself “I really have no idea where I am.”
To explore this idea even further, I created an alphabet used by the inhabitants of the city. And as the cat was discovering this world as well as we were, we had the idea of B-12, this small flying drone that can translate this universe for the players to understand. Once we had that lead, a lot of game mechanics were inspired by this small character.
Kowloon Walled City has long fascinated people, going back to its formation in the 900s. Did you look at other works of fiction and nonfiction surrounding the city while developing your game? Were there any in particular that influenced your development?
Viv: I think the movie Blade Runner is a very strong inspiration for us that really shows in our art, but the movie Blood Sport with Jean-Claude Van Damme that was shot inside Kowloon was also a helpful reference for us. We also spend a lot of time trying to find as many videos and pictures of the place as we could but they are quite rare actually.
What other works influenced the creation?
Viv: I think that indirectly all the games that impressed me over the years have been influencing myself unconsciously. So games like Arc the Lad 2, Parasite Eve, and Metal Gear Solid.
Source: Unreal Engine Blog