Expect your digital doggy best bud in Fallout 4 to sniff things, catch stuff out of the air, and possibly eat his own poop, thanks to developer Bethesda’s commitment to canine realism.
Well, maybe not the poop part. That’d be a little too real.
In order to make Dogmeat come off like a realistic post-apocalyptic version of man’s best friend, Bethesda turned to River, the German Shepherd of lead level designer Joel Burgess. Burgess’ wife tweeted photos of the real dog and its digital doppleganger for comparison.
At QuakeCon 2015, Fallout 4 director Todd Howard explained that River is not just the basis for Dogmeat’s look, but also hung around the office and provided the team with references on things that dogs do. The developers used footage of River doing stuff like sniffing things and catching Frisbees as material to help depict Dogmeat.
The idea was to keep in mind what the dog would be up to, and portray it accurately, while players are otherwise engaged. So take heart in knowing Dogmeat will act like a realistic dog as you’re shooting supermutants, hustling robots, and getting ripped apart by radscorpions.