It’s always nice to see a cat in a videogame. Or it was, anyway. Upcoming PC game STALKER 2 has cats that may convince us to rethink our pro-cat position. The concept art for the cats that will appear in STALKER 2 shows something about as un-cuddly as you can imagine, and the details GSC Game World has included are bone-chilling.
The STALKER 2 cat, known as the Bayun, is an emaciated feline with a mat of fur running down its back, terminating at the base of a bony, withered tail. Its skin appears paper thin, and is torn in multiple locations over its ribs, knuckles, and face. Large red growths protrude through the skin around its neck.
“A very stealthy and nimble mutant,” the description reads. “For years, stories about it were regarded as mere fables. Bayun takes its name from its throat sacs, which allow the beast to imitate all kinds of sounds, including human speech.”
That is terrifying.
This isn’t technically the first time a STALKER game has featured mutant cats. The STALKER fandom wiki points out that mutant cats were present in the game code for both STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl and STALKER: Clear Sky, but these were evidently cut from both games, as they don’t appear anywhere in the world – save for one, which is stuffed and mounted in the Inquisitor’s zoo in Clear Sky.
You can, however, sometimes hear their cries while sitting around the campfire out in the zone.
STALKER 2 had been slated for release in December, but that date has been pushed back in light of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. The developers say they are still working on the game, but have not announced a new release date yet.