So I recently had some sad news with one of my own real-life dogs, and while I had debated writing this before, that event inspired me to pull the trigger and write about some of the best dogs in video games. I sort of debated how I wanted to make this list and decided not to include dogs that are more human in nature; case in point, Isabelle from Animal Crossing. While they are animals, hence the name, the way the characters behave is more human-like. I also struggled with whether or not to include Amaterasu from Okami because while dog like she is actually a wolf/sun goddess? I overthought the list is the moral of the story and wanted to briefly give a shout-out to characters that might have fit, I suppose. With that, here are some of the best dogs in games. Also, there will be some spoilers, so be warned.
Dogmeat- Fallout Series
Dogmeat has been a staple in the Fallout series, showing up in various games in various different ways. What is always the same is that Dogmeat is a fan favorite companion. In Fallout 4, they ramped things up by having Dogmeat based more on an actual dog from one of the developers, adding extra personality and believable movement for the character. Fallout 3 had to add in a special perk to one of the DLCs that would allow people to replace Dogmeat if they died on the adventure because people were so wrecked that that could happen. I mean, I personally plopped Dogmeat in my house in Megaton, but always made sure to go back frequently to visit it. Yes… I got that attached to my fake dog in Fallout 3. Fallout can be a rather lonely game, so all the companions are nice, but there was something extra special about the dog that would join you. So much so that it pretty much became canon that the “Lone Wander” (3) was not entirely lone but had their dog. – see the ending screencap of the wander with their dog –
Dave- Speed Dating for Ghosts
Dave is a good tip-off that Speed Dating for Ghosts is not really a dating game despite its name and gameplay. You meet Dave when you unlock some extra dates, and he is just a well-written dog character. He is sad because he can’t find his wisp, wisps being in this game, the little bit of a human that dies when they lose their dogs (that makes me tear up every time). So you help Dave while getting to know him. He is kind, loves his human – even though he is dead and she is not – and enjoys meeting all the new ghosts. He also wants his human to live a long, happy life even though he misses her and is fine with her wisp for now. Really every bit of “dogs love us so much” is what shapes Dave’s character, and it’s so sweet… although bittersweet. And of course, the end of Dave’s story is topped off with a quote from Sir Walter Scott about dogs’ short lifespans and a dedication to the developer’s dogs. Seriously so sweet, but crying even typing about it.
Dog- Fable 2
It’s hard not to get attached to the Dog in Fable 2. The game starts with your only remaining family being killed and you nearly so. The dog finds you and from there is your constant companion. It helps you fight, it helps you find treasures, and is really the only source of real comfort and companionship. Your dog even sacrifices itself to save you. I mean, it kind of says a lot for the attachment that gamers got to their dog during Fable 2 that many people chose to sacrifice a lot of humans in order to bring back their dog at the end. Yes, when given a choice between bringing back to life my dog (and my family too but meh on that) or all the people who were sacrificed in making the spire, I didn’t even blink before choosing my dog. In my defense, you can keep playing the game after you beat it but will miss out on things if you don’t have the dog, so… I would have chosen the dog anyway.
Dog- Dragon Age Origins
Dog is the Mabari War Hound that the Warden gets early in Dragon Age Origins. Not long after getting it, you lose it in the opening battle, depressing, only for the War Hound to find the Warden and rejoin. Dog is a great actual party member and worth losing a slot for a human character to, but beyond that, a well-written dog. He has his own unique interactions with the various characters at the campsite, many of which are hilarious. Heck, even Sten respects Dog as a warrior, and the uptight Morrigan falls for his antics. I really enjoy that there was effort put into making Dog a real companion instead of just an extra dog running around. Really and truly a great addition to the party and good comic relief, which can be needed in such a tragic game.
Walt- Valiant Hearts
Probably the good dog of all good dogs. Walt is in the extremely underrated – seriously, go play this game – Valiant Hearts. I will avoid my spiel about how Valiant Hearts is one of the best war games as it is focused more on personal sacrifice and how wars are made up of people, many of whom have no control over their circumstances, and instead focus on Walt. Walt is connected to each of the four characters you play as in various ways and will help to solve puzzles along the way. He is an incredible fifth character who truly adds that extra “heartstring tug” in a game that is already well known for making most players cry. From the effective trailer where we are hearing Walt’s thoughts on the four people he loves, to the moments in the game where he provides comfort, Walt was just excellently done and an incredible dog.
Honorable Mention- BFF
Best Friend Forever is a dating sim where you adopt a dog and then can date people, mostly other dog owners. The gameplay is a mix of standard dating sim but then also developing your relationship with your dog as well as its own stats. There are a few dogs you can adopt, although people complained a bit that they would like more options. All of them are pretty adorable, and the game is a lot of fun, if not the most in-depth, as you hang out with your dog. It’s also worth noting that there is a “date nobody” ending where your character basically finds their bond in their friendship with their dog, which is pretty nice.
So there we have it, some of the many good dogs in video games. And I would like to dedicate this to all the wonderful dogs I have had in my life, both family and personal dogs. But also to my Loopy, who I will miss for the rest of my life.
What about you? What are some of your favorite video game dogs? Or pets/animals of any kind?