Building a futuristic city from the perspective of a cat
Taking a cat’s-eye view of a cyborg-infested future Hong Kong
Aside from outliers such as Bill Williams’ 1984 title Alley Cat and, more recently, Chris Chung’s Catlateral Damage, feline videogame protagonists have been in short supply. Former Ubisoft Montpellier artists
Koola and Viv – who prefer not to share their full names – are planning to add one more to the list, however, with a “cat adventure videogame” whose working title is simply ‘HK project’. But while the game is fronted by a cat, it’s the environments that dominate the screen. Inspired by cyberpunk themes and Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, the game’s world is a densely packed, grimy metropolis populated by androids and decorated with neon signs, graffiti and fairy lights. Around the periphery of this world, a little black cat decked out with a futuristic backpack explores the pipes, cooling vents and stacks of boxes, unnoticed by the city’s robotic residents. It’s a striking shift of focus from the traditional ego-stroking starring bill that players are used to.
“We think the environment can communicate as much as a character, and we want the player to feel overwhelmed by the city,” Koola says. “And we wanted an original main character who was small and harmless – it’s very exciting to imagine controlling a cat in a that kind of topology.”
The game is in a very early state, and with only two people working on it, it’s not likely to emerge in finished form for a good while yet. As such, what you’ll actually do in the game is currently fluid, but the pair have a few ideas. “We’re still thinking about the gameplay,” Viv says, “but it’s going to have exploration, quests, infiltration, puzzles and dumb things that cats do.”