For Immediate Release:
December 28, 2022
David Perle 202-483-7382
West Hollywood, Calif. – It broke records on Twitch, inspired countless animal shelter fundraisers, and showed thousands of players that the “great outdoors” is a perilous place for cats, and now, PlayStation Game of the Year Stray has just garnered PETA’s 2022 Company of the Year Award for its publisher, Annapurna Interactive.
Stray follows an orange cat nicknamed Little Outsider, whose appearance and movements were based on the game designers’ own feline companions, as he journeys through a post-apocalyptic landscape to find his way home. Along the way, he battles some of the same threats faced by real roaming cats, including disease and attacks from predators.
“Stray gives players a cat’s-eye view of the illness, violence, and danger lurking behind every corner outdoors,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Annapurna Interactive gets two paws up from PETA for inspiring empathy for ‘strays’ and encouraging everyone to find their next feline companion at their local animal shelter.”
At the game’s release, Annapurna, streamers, and fans organized numerous giveaways and fundraisers for animal shelters and other cat-related charities in the U.S. and the U.K., raising thousands of dollars and, as the company’s marketing director put it, “bring[ing] more awareness to adopting and not shopping for a new pet.” Stray drew more than 62,000 players concurrently on Steam, became the most-downloaded game on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, and attracted more than 285,000 concurrent Twitch stream viewers.
Around 70 million cats and dogs are homeless in the U.S. at any given time. Many animal shelters—under pressure to avoid euthanasia at all costs—are turning animals away when they inevitably reach capacity and even refusing to accept cats altogether, leaving the most vulnerable animals with nowhere to go. Like Stray’s Little Outsider, many end up abandoned on the streets, where they may be hit by cars, infected with diseases, or hurt by cruel people, and those who reproduce make the companion animal overpopulation crisis worse. That’s why PETA urges shelters to accept all animals in need, asks everyone to adopt instead of buying from breeders or pet stores, and advises guardians to have their animal companions spayed or neutered.
Past winners of PETA’s Company of the Year Award include Good Catch, Support + Feed, Save the Duck, WeWork, Netflix, Beyond Meat, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising Bangkok, Daiya, and Emulate. Stray’s designer, Blue Twelve Studio, previously won PETA France’s “Cat Champions” Award for its work on the game.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about the group’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.