Last year, we showcased a ginger cat with Manx Syndrome called Sheldon in our Monday Miracle series. With his sweet face and gentle demeanor, Sheldon endeared himself to the Catster readership, and when it was time to honor the most notable cats of 2014 in our year-end roundup, we included Sheldon. It was while writing that post that I came across the news that Sheldon had since been chosen to appear in a cat-centric video game named The Purring Quest.
Intrigued with the concept — and the idea of a special needs cat appearing in a video game — I tracked down the project’s makers. It turns out that the team behind the title are confirmed feline fanciers — their studio is named Valhalla Cats and every member of the team is a card-carrying cat owner. That being so, I chatted with Jose Gines Picon Lopez from the squad about what The Purring Quest will involve, the other Internet celebrity cats that feature in it, and how his own cat, Tika, is involved in the endeavor.
Catster: When did you have the idea to create a cat-based video game?
Jose Gine Picon Lopez: I have always been a lover of cats and video games, so when the company where I worked as a telecommunications engineer closed down in July 2013, I decided to create something that brought together my two passions. That’s how the company Valhalla Cats was born, and we’ve been working on our first video game, The Purring Quest, ever since then.
So what happens in the game?
You take on the role of Kimchi the cat, who is on a journey to find his lost human. The main character’s human suffers from a memory disease and he sometimes doesn’t remember where he is, so Kimchi has to go and find or fetch him. On the way, Kimchi will meet some famous Internet cats that will help him on the journey and add a touch of humor. Kimchi will have to use all their feline abilities to go unnoticed and avoid confrontation wherever possible.
Who are some of the Internet famous cats who will also appear in the game?
How do the special needs cats like Sheldon, who has Manx Syndrome, fit into the game?
Well, after the publication of the first teaser of the video game, in which the appearance of the famous Internet cats was announced, we received lot of emails from people asking us for their cats to appear in The Purring Quest. After considering all the options, we decided to create a contest where the winners would get to play a small part in the game and appear along with the celebrity cats.
The winners ended up being Snicker from Blind Cat Rescue and Sanctuary, Daisy from Milo’s Sanctuary, Tonks, Abb The Blind Cat, and Sheldon. Snicker has no eyes, Abb and Daisy only have one, Sheldon has Manx Syndrome, and Tonks [who passed away last summer] was deaf. Until then we were not aware of the large number of cats with special needs. We were all touched by their stories and we hope The Purring Quest raises awareness for special needs kitties everywhere.
Will these cats’ special needs translate to being part of their abilities in the game?
The game is focused on the figure of Kimchi the cat — the only cat who has no counterpart in real life — so during The Purring Quest you only control Kimchi. The rest of the cast will make punctual appearances but it has no affect in their abilities, although I’ll say that the special needs kitties have been added in the form of a subplot. Someone has caged them and we have to set them free, solve the mystery, and find out who is responsible. If this can be achieved then after the credits you’ll get to see an additional end footage sequence.
If a cat owner hasn’t played many video games before, why should they take an interest in The Purring Quest?
Our main goal is that the player enjoys controlling Kimchi while he goes through the beautiful hand-drawn scenarios. You can find dozens of humorous references in the form of billboards and graffiti, which make the gamer smile and won’t go unnoticed to a cat lover. We’re also working really hard to make it more accessible to less experienced or skillful users.
Also, when you buy the game, a percentage of the money will be donated to animal welfare associations. So in addition to enjoying the game you are contributing to a good cause.
Finally, do you own any cats yourself?
Of course! All the people in the company have at least one cat — that’s an unwritten rule to be able to work at Valhalla Cats. I have Tika, who plays a symbolic role as the head of human resources and the company co-founder. Tika was a special needs cat in the past — when we found her on the street she had a big lump in the belly, which was a hernia. Now she is fully recovered and she helps us writing with her furry paws whenever she can.
The Purring Quest is aiming for a spring release date. In the meantime, check out a trailer of the game in action:
Read more by Phillip Mlynar on Catster:
About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world’s foremost expert on rappers’ cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it’s not quite what you think it is.