Whether you prefer sophisticated canines or a dorky doggo, everyone loves a good dog in video games. The idea of a happy and helpful companion that doesn't need words to show you how much they love you has been a common video game mechanic for ages. But which dog is the best dog?
Ubisoft is no stranger to dogs in games. So it's no surprise to find out that in the open-world hacker game, you can pet the local pups. While your actions are limited to a simple head pat and ruffle, the conversations between you and your borf-boy are what makes them stand out.
"What is your thoughts on our current economic affairs?" is one of the many things you can ask your dog friend. While all we hear is a light bark, we know that it was probably something wise.
Assassins Creed Origins
Further evidence toward the Ubisoft-Dog-conspiracy, you can interact with the local dogs in this action stealth RPG. Based in Egypt, we see a more historically accurate breed of dog. It's a refreshing change of pace compared to the standard American golden retriever.
Even better, you can make these dogs your friend. If you have the appropriate skills, you can tame the local animals to follow and assist you. You do have to hit them with a sleep dart first if you can handle that emotionally.
Super Mario Odyssey
This Nintendo title absolutely exploded in the video game box office (which isn't actually a thing). The happy and exciting world blended perfectly with the colorful environment and engaging music. How could it be any better? Dogs, that's how.
Petting dogs is always lovely, but sometimes you want to play with them. That's why in Super Mario Odyssey, you can play fetch, using your key skill of hat throwing. Simply toss your hat, and they will run and catch it. When they return your magical cap to you, you'll fall in love with how much of a happy boy they were to be there. Did I mention the good boy has is own fashionable hat?
The Sims Games
One of the most in-depth doggo experiences available, The Sims have an established history of pet based expansions. There's already a joy to be had living out a fantasy life better than reality. Why not also add in fantasy pets? Raise, play, and live with your favorite pets. The downside? Paywalls. All of the animal expansions for the various Sims games are DLC purchases. The price to pay for a happy dog.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Can a good boy break your heart? They can if it's MGS5. In the beginning, you find a literal puppy. He had lost his right eye and was considered an orphan. Protagonist Snake picks him up and names him D-Dog. Seeing such a young small dog with such a happy and positive demeanor was a nearly overwhelming emotional experience.
As you progress in the game, you can visit and interact with D-Dog. When enough time has passed, he grows up to be a beautiful, one-eyed mission companion. D-Dog helps Snake in his missions, proving that he can be a good boy in every way. Not to mention the adorable doggo customization options.
This story is a tragic one. One of the game's required boss fights is against a giant sword-wielding dog named Sif. Those familiar with the game's heavy lore know that Sif was guarding the resting place of Artorias the Abyss Walker. Sif is a powerful good boy that only wants to protect his master's grave from scavengers (you). Rarely do you have to be the bag guy against a good doggo, and it hearts my heart still to have to defeat him.
Far Cry 5
Oh hi Ubisoft. I haven't seen you in a hot minute. Far Cry 5 takes a more self-aware approach to a dog companion. Named Boomer, this dog had his family killed by the local opposing force. With his story explained through barking, translated into English through subtitles. Boomers reveal trailer shows the innocent and uneducated mindset of a dog, while also proving his value as a fighting friend. Boomer knows he's a good boy, and he wants to help you get rid of the bad guys.
The Fable series is one of the best-known games to have a life-long dog companion. Tied into the story, your friend sticks with you no matter what. Fable itself boasts the concept of your character's physical appearance altering based on your abilities and moral decisions. What makes your dog friend stand out here is that they too evolve to match you. Are you a tall, nefarious bad guy? Then you can expect a lanky and dire-looking wolf for a friend. The noble hero character will have a luminescent and glorious hound at their side. Dynamic doggos, what's not to love?
This launch title for the original Nintendo DS has solidified itself as one of the best "pet ownership" games of all time. You chose an adorable puppy, brought it home, gave it a name, and raised it, without the hassle of pet care. You could take it for walks, play at the park, teach it new tricks, and even win competitions with them. Playing a game of Tug-of-War with your happy little friend remains to be one of the most wholesome and heart melting activities in video games.
While not as feel-good as Nintendogs, the Fallout games pioneered the idea of a canine companion. When the first Fallout game released in 1997, you could unlock a dog friend, humorously named "Dogmeat." So far, Dogmeat has appeared in every Fallout game since, proving themselves as a valuable and happy helper. In the most recent iteration, Fallout 4, you can even dress Dogmeat up in a number of clothing and armors. Whether it's digging up items, attacking enemies, or providing moral support, Dogmeat has been with the player for over 20 years now. Dogmeat is a good boy.
There were many games I considered when forming this list. While other games are worthy of mention, they technically didn't fit the bill. I would be remiss to ignore them, so I've given them special mention here.
The RPG indie game is overflowing with dogs. Some dogs love pets, others love pats. When not anthropomorphized, they're seemingly omnipotent. Undertale's race of dog people is an excellent personification of what a dog's mind is (presumably) like. Then there's Temmie, whom I'm not sure exactly what animal they are.
The Last Guardian
You spend a massive amount of time interacting with Trico, the large beast companion to the SIE Japan Studio developed action adventure game. While your time with Trico is certainly memorable and is a closer representation of an animal companion than most games, Trico isn't really a dog. It's part bird, part mammal. The problem is that it's hard to tell if the mammalian half is a dog or a cat.
Final Fantasy XV
Throughout your time with the critically acclaimed JRPG, you are visited by a magical dog that delivers messages between Noctis, the protagonist, and their betrothed. While they otherwise behave like a good doggo well enough, it is later discovered that they are a goddess, posing as a pet to aid the player. She's a good dog, but she isn't a dog.
My list of dogs in video games stretched to about 30+ games. It was a rough process whittling them down to something worth reading. I'd love to tell you about ALL of the doggos, but such literature would never be complete. while I likely considered them already, what canines do you think deserved to make the cut?