211: Junktown Dog

Michael Fiegel

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Junktown Dog

Perhaps no character in the Fallout universe is as beloved by players as Dogmeat, the canine companion to every Lone Wanderer to leave (or be thrown out of) his vault. Michael Fiegel interviews members of the original Fallout development team about how the loveable mutt came into being.

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GamerLuck

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Jul 13, 2009
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Never having played a fallout game, i dont have any expiriance with Dogmeat, but can relate to what people apparently feel towards the lovable mutt from my expiraiance in Oblivion with Shadowmere.

Anyone who has played Oblivions Dark Brotherhood quests knows what i am talking about. A reward from Lucien Lechance for a job well done, eternally faithful (except if you put armour on her... never got why she would run away when you did that), and a powerhouse, able to take down many of the games higher lvled monstocities single handedly... or hoofedly to be more precise. And her speed, making her able to run down that pesky Kajhit Marik without breaking a sweat, makes her one of the most useful beings in the game.

She is even more valueable as a character after *SPOILER* your mentor eventually bites the dust *END SPOILER*, and becomes a testimate to not only the relationship with Lucien, but also your new found power once the quest line ends. the fact that she resolutely stands by your side in the face of danger, and her apparent loathing of armour make her a nice foil to your spell wielding, shadow crawling, Umbra wielding self. it also helps that she is a hero character and can never really die...
 

boholikeu

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Just goes to show you how great game design can create emotional experiences just as well as good writing can. The original Dogmeat's strength helped forge a sense of attachment to him early on in game, and so by the time his low HP became an issue the player was usually already actively protecting him.
 

Firenz

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Jul 16, 2009
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I love my Dogmeat. Having played Fallout back to front (3,2 then original) I never really realised the link. I knew from friends who played the original when it first came out that you could have a dog in your party and thought it a touch strange but now fully understand why they reloaded time and again just to try and save their Dogmeat from death.

@ Gamerluck: Shadowmere was great but Dogmeat, well, I'm more of a dog person, and the fact that he was irreplacable (sp?) and individual did a lot for his appeal. Shadowmere felt the same as one of those awesome, highly sought after items/artefacts that you come across in all RPGs, more utilitarian and with less character, I feel for him in the same way as I feel for my conquorer armour set in W:AR.

p.s and unfortunately I never managed to save the Worthless Mutt in Arcanum... Might have to re-install it and try.
 

New Troll

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I never could feel an attachment to Dogmeat, though I did hope for one. I generaly love animal companions in games, but the AI of Dogmeat made him way too much of a pain to have. So as hard as I try, eventualy I just end up giving up on him. I do still have him alive in one of my Fallout 3 games, but only because I left him in Megaton and never, ever use him. So basicly he's just another NPC there for decoration.
 

randommaster

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I agree with the evaluation of sidekicks, the best ones are useful and don't ramble endlessly throughout the game.

I know I have spent a lot of time reloading games where I try to save a character, and Dogmeat is no exception.
 

Gunner 51

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I ended up turning Dogmeat into a domesticated dog. He'd live in Megaton and always await my return eagerly. The dangers of the Capital Wasteland were so bad I wanted to keep him home where he'd be safe and well looked after.

Yet, if I were out and about, I'd have no qualms about leading humans or even Fawkes to their deaths.

It's funny how a mere dog can evoke such protective feelings from even a stony hearted gamer like myself.
 

Katherine Kerensky

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Mar 27, 2009
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Dogmeat is (nearly) invincible. I treat him nicely, but I prefer 'A Familiar Piece of Brain'.
I put it on the top shelf in my ten-penny suite. :p
couldn't quite put dogmeat up there though...
 

SomeBritishDude

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I love my Dogmeat in Fallout 3. So much so that I never let him leave the house, even though I have the puppys perk.

Maybe I need help. I don't even treat my own dogs with that kind of love...
 

HentMas

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Apr 17, 2009
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well... amazingly this dog i havn´t met in fallowt 3... where is it?? or do i have to buy an expansion to get it??
 

ohgodalex

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HentMas said:
well... amazingly this dog i havn´t met in fallowt 3... where is it?? or do i have to buy an expansion to get it??
If you must know,
Look around in the Scrapyard, south of the Minefield.

I loved Dogmeat, and still do. I usually leave him and Fawkes somewhere safe while I attempt more dangerous missions because I know that they'll either
-Get killed and I will be forced to reload the game to save my 'friends.'
-Get stuck or lost and I'll have to help them navigate around some obstace so I don't feel lonely and scared anymore.
I become very attatched to my NPC friends, even when they don't have personalities.
 

muse-13-bliss

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ohgodalex said:
I loved Dogmeat, and still do. I usually leave him and Fawkes somewhere safe while I attempt more dangerous missions because I know that they'll either
-Get killed and I will be forced to reload the game to save my 'friends.'
-Get stuck or lost and I'll have to help them navigate around some obstace so I don't feel lonely and scared anymore.
I become very attatched to my NPC friends, even when they don't have personalities.
FAWKES NEVER DIES :p
fawkes has saved my ass too many times! he is the BEST follower! :)

dogmeats awesome though, hand him since the beginning, helps out a lot

but wtf! you ahve to feed him???? o_O
 

Michael Fiegel

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I hae dogmeat, than again, I hate dogs. Dogmeat died in like a second and I didn't bother getting the puppies! perk even if it was great. I think I'll stick with my pet super mutant.
 

Nerf Ninja

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I hated Dogmeat. I found it once and shot it myself after about five minutes of the damn mutt attacking anything in sight.
 

kastanok

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When I first played through Fallout 3, I passed through the scrapyard just once. I heard scuffling coming from the far side of a cargo container and a stack of wrecked cars and - just in case - threw a grenade. One boom latter, the scuffling stopped. So I went round to check the damage and I found the bodies of two gunmen and a dog named, appropriately enough I thought, Dogmeat. And that was the first and last I saw of the thing.

This explains a bit.
 

Nerdfury

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Feb 2, 2008
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Dogmeat's great if you're a power-armoured, wade-in-blazin', gun-totin' powerhouse, but if you're a sneaker, he's a pain in the arse. I actually used the console commands to make him unkillable because it seemed like he could take on four super mutants with heavy artillery and survive, but a single bloatfly could take him down on occasion. Mostly left him home, though.
 

lillebille

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heh i dídnt need a partner in fallout3 i was never much damaged and out of ammo
and i can remmember dogmeat i fetched him up on the scrapyard and headed for the minefield
he handed it nicely jumped across the mines and didnt get himself hurt but through the half thing the sniper in the building across fired a shot right in front of him triggerin a serie
of mines making him fly through the air and landing 10 ft away from me it was kind of a
awesome death made a good part of the story ... but then again it was only my first charekter
my second one was better it was alot more fun then lets say our first encounter ended whit both barells to the head blowing brains out then i had dogmeat for dinner yup i killed of almost every good guy in the story not to mention tenpenny tower.. yes i TRYED TO MAKE FRIENDS IN THERE BUT NO! those guys kept pissing me of finaly crossing the line saying: i dont care if the others want zombies living here i don`t! young woman pisses me of me goes on berzerk killing all in the building exept her and then brutaly ends her life whit supersledge in the face...

so my point is i dont like people in videogames who defies my orders it al ends up the same..
 

kspiess

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An article on Dogmeat! Never thought I'd come across that. Good stuff.

Fallout 1/2 are just about my favorite all-time RPGs, and Dogmeat has to be one of my favorite characters from those two fantastic games. (Fallout 3: Meh.) Yet another great article on Escapist.

It is interesting how attached you can get to Dogmeat, even only with the barks and yelps of communication. I don't know how many times I had to re-load battles because of Dogmeat getting wasted..and he saved my butt from Deathclaws a couple of times, with a timely knock down.
 

CrikeyO

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I never used a sidekick much in Fallout 3, and I reached level 20 without a sidekick, but when I found Sergeant RL-3 I had to buy him.

A giant storage kit that has a flamethrower and spouts nonsense rhetoric? Awesome. As for Dogmeat, I kept him in Tenpenny Tower. Better a robot die than him I guess.
 

DarthHK

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In Fallout 3 your character was so overpowered you never really needed any kind of party.

Now in the original, I went through great lengths to keep him alive, gladly sacrificing my human party members (who never did learn to shoot straight!) just to keep him kicking- er... biting. Of course, it's a lot easier with the NPC command mod. Just like the Vault Dweller "I still miss that damn dog."
 

Gerazzi

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Baldry said:
awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
I would call this spam under any other circumstances.
Dogmeat is man's best fwiend.
 

ThaBenMan

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Mar 6, 2008
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A wonderful meditation on one of the most memorable, iconic characters in gaming.

In the original game, I always felt like I had to get Dogmeat because it's so friggin' hard - he really helped out a lot, at least near the start. And it was just cool to have a dog that followed you around the Wastes.

In Fallout 3, I have mixed feelings about him. It's awesome that they were making the reference to the original, and I was really excited when I first found him. But if you're sneaking around or get into a really intense fight, he's just such a liability. Aside from one epic shootout at the Bethesda offices, I left Dogmeat at my house in Megaton. Maybe when I get into Broken Steel, I'll use him more after I get the Puppies! perk.
 

BrEnNo1023

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Greyfox105 said:
Dogmeat is (nearly) invincible. I treat him nicely, but I prefer 'A Familiar Piece of Brain'.
I put it on the top shelf in my ten-penny suite. :p
couldn't quite put dogmeat up there though...
OMG are you talking about "A FAMILIAR PIECE OF BRAIN" that i think you're talking about???

AAAARGH I NEED TO GET TO THAT DAMN BOAT RIGHT AWAY!!
 

DrFausty

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The name of the canine character in the original Harlan Ellison short story, "A Boy and His Dog," on which the second-rate 80s film is based, is "Blood" actually - not "Dogmeat." Blood is not only a strong melee fighter in Harlan's apocryphal story, he's also telepathic. Ironically, in the story these telepathic canines have "lost the ability to hunt" and are thus 100% dependent on their 2-legger companions to find food for them. In exchange, Blood "sniffs out" 2-legger females for his human friend to rape - not very romantic, but a very Ellison-esque reversal of the usual roles of who "finds the females" for whom in human/dog relationships.

Spoiler alert: in the last paragraph of the original story, the boy kills his new girlfriend and feeds her to Blood, when forced to choose between which one has earned his own true loyalty. I don't think that's how the film ended, needless to say - not very Hollywood.

Oh, and Ellison wrote "A Boy and His Dog" after his beloved canine companion succumbed to stomach cancer at 11 years of age. He was a Hungarian herding breed, and Ellison has stated that he never really recovered from the loss of his canine partner.

There's your random canine backstory, for those curious about such things. :)
 

kemosabi4

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Greyfox105 said:
Dogmeat is (nearly) invincible. I treat him nicely, but I prefer 'A Familiar Piece of Brain'.
I put it on the top shelf in my ten-penny suite. :p
couldn't quite put dogmeat up there though...
I tried to do that with the alien from the crash site. I lugged it all the way across the wasteland to Megaton, and then figured out I couldn't carry it through doors. So, I just propped it up against the door.
 

Aerodynamic

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i had a great attachment to Dogmeat in Fallout 1
I Tried to keep him alive as long as possible
But when you have to destroy the Mutant Base No matter what the Forcefeilds will kill him
R.I.P.
 

DrFausty

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aeonite said:
DrFausty said:
I don't think that's how the film ended, needless to say - not very Hollywood.
The end of the film very strongly implies the same thing.
Thanks for the correction, I don't think I made it to the end of the film and now I've been passing misinformation as a result. Rather impressive that the film stayed to the original Ellison story ending - glad to hear.

Fausty
 

Katana314

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Comparing to Alyx in HL2: Episode 1, I can actually see a lot of merits to having a silent animal as a companion.

- The AI might be stupid at some points, but when you yell "No, you idiot you'll get yourself killed!" it's a bit more immersive to a dog that can't understand you than an english-speaking human.
- He's short enough he won't block your bullets.
- He can make small noises to draw your attention to something, but cannot possibly ever order you around, as Alyx did once too often in Episode One. It often felt I was pressured to keep going rather than checking out the surroundings, as I did in the original HL2. With a dog, it's obvious who the master is, so you don't ever need to feel he's pressured. You're the player and you're the spotlight.
-He's cute, but still expectably ferocious.

I actually kind of thought for a while about the possibility of some single player game that just has a brief, one-chapter segment where a dog is following you around, offering small assistance in certain puzzles, as well as combat, etc.
 

Smokescreen

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I've only played Fallout 3, but I was lucky enough to stumble upon Dogmeat early on-and with no previous knowledge of the character.

I was so lonely (Fallout does a great job of evoking a hostile wasteland that wants to kill you if anything is there at all) that keeping that dog alive became more important that completing missions.

I've never restarted a game so often. No regrets.
 

Ham Blitz

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Maybe because I didn't use him right, or maybe because I didn't play the Fallout 1 or 2, but I couldn't help but laugh at the quote stating how effective he was.
My experience in Fallout 3 with dogmeat basically went like this:
I found him, sent him to go find ammo which he picked off the corpse next to me. I walked until we were away from the spot, and then tried again. After 20 minutes of waiting, he never came back so I reloaded, and tried again, but this time I followed after him. After about a minute of following I found that he ended up eventually just constantly running in to a wall. I told him to stop and gave up on the ammo finding and decided to just roam with him a bit. After a few minutes, I found my first enemies, which were a group of two Enclave soldiers and I think a enclave guy with a plasma pistol. Dogmeat ran for them and before I could get a good shot, he got burned and then shot with a rocket. "Dogmeat has Died" I think the game then flashed, and then I never used Dogmeat again. Yeah, I didn't reload because I didn't expect much from dogmeat and I wanted my Stimpacks
 

Blackdoom

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I love Dogmeat he was such a good character to have with you no matter what he did not abandon you or try to kill you. Which is rather unique in the Fallout universe.
 

Old Man Neck

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Was there a slight reference to tvtropes? Anyway, I loved Fallout 3 so much and Dogmeat would die so often I modded him to be invulnerable.
 

Michael Fiegel

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Dogmeat's awesome. He helps me open locked doors, can take a Deathclaw by himself, and is an all around badass. I wish real Dogs were like him.
 

revlayle

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Ham Blitz said:
Maybe because I didn't use him right, or maybe because I didn't play the Fallout 1 or 2, but I couldn't help but laugh at the quote stating how effective he was.
Indeed, that because I found Dogmeat VERY useless in Fallout 3. F1/2 is where the usefulness comes in.

Fallout 1: As mentioned earlier, early on, he is certainly is more powerful than the player character. The usefulness of the dog early on creates a "bond" with the player that many players try to keep him alive later in the game when he is not so effective (Miniguns + dogs = terrible messes).

Fallout 2: More of an easter egg find, however, since NPCs have the concept of "leveling up" in this game, as the main PC levels up, Dogmeat can end up significantly more powerful (can get up to 150 hit points and 16 Action Points at his max level)

Fallout 3: Nice reference, that's it. Mostly useless as a follower, IMNSHO.
 

Lordmarkus

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I've only found dogs useful in Fallout 3 where Dogmeat is my companion through the wastes. Let me explain this:

Fallout 1: Went to Junktown where I was asked to "get rid" of a dog terrorizing some poor man. Hunting rifle away and no dog problem. Obviously this was Dogmeat.

Fallout 2: Found the Pariah DOg which gave me the Jinx perk. Not son funny there either. Let us say that it is extremly annoying, trying to kill Frank Horrigan with guns that explodes all the time.
 

Ladeh

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i liked dogmeat quite a bit and enjoyied having him around but then after meeting more companions i realised dogmeat would make a better meat sheild then companion. i prefered fawkes and that robot compainion cause fawkes had a infinite ammo gatlin laser and i just genrally like robots.
 

Silva

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Dogmeat was a great character to meet in Fallout 3, but it's true that statistically he was useless. He died so often and I had to reload every time because I actually cared about him, like I tend to about NPCs that actually move, as opposed to the virtually robotic human NPCs in the game.

He ended up getting sent back to the Vault, with me checking on him from time to time just to see if the terrible glitches in the game had done him in yet. Luckily, they managed to make it so it was an actual safe spot. That's a rare thing in a Bethesda game. Very rare indeed.

In any case, I like such characters. We need more lovable characters in deathtraps. I'm sick of everyone being suitably tough. Mix it up a bit, game designers, and let even characters with 1 HP be useful in other ways!
 

shaderkul

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Smokescreen said:
I've only played Fallout 3, but I was lucky enough to stumble upon Dogmeat early on-and with no previous knowledge of the character.

I was so lonely (Fallout does a great job of evoking a hostile wasteland that wants to kill you if anything is there at all) that keeping that dog alive became more important that completing missions.

I've never restarted a game so often. No regrets.
Now that's what puts a smile on the face of every game developer.
 

Vendayn

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I thought this was a really good read. I'll have to go find Dogmeat now :D

Good article. :)
 

Skyfall

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Mar 15, 2009
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Yeah, I tried everything in keeping the fella alive. It was worth it,every single time. As for the article it was a very good read, I don't fancy the game as much but I love the dog.

My question is how did the OP manage to interview the Fallout team?.
 

TimeLord

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Only ever played Fallout 3 and I didnt even find Dogmeat until bout level 19, but he was great to have around. I mainly told him to wait by Vault 101 so he didnt run off and get killed by super mutants :( Kept him to the end though :)
 

addeB

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Awesome article! I never really cared about dogmeat but now maybe that will change.
 

Nikajo

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I never found dogmeat and have played through all 3 of the fallout games. Not that I was looking. Probably because subconciously I knew I would get too attached to him and try to keep him alive and therefore end up having to reload twice as much as I did anyway.
 

Brutal Peanut

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I was always scared I'd kill Dogmeat in Fallout 3 and never get him back again. I always made him stay at the house, and rarely took him out with me. He was in in-door dog , I suppose. >_>
 

Biodeamon

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wasn't too beloved by me. felt like more of a liability.

too weak to survive where i go, but too loved to let die.

damnit dogmeat, why do i love you so?!