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RIP Dogmeat

Gamers love dogs, and there's an entire Twitter account dedicated to telling players if they can or can't pet the adorable pups in various games. Fans are currently counting down the days until they can meet Chorizo, the new animal companion in "Far Cry 6," and some Wastelanders love animals so much that they're willing to adopt monsters in "Fallout 76." It makes sense, then, that gamers everywhere were saddened to hear that River, the real life inspiration for Dogmeat in "Fallout 4," has recently passed away. 

Joel Burgess, who worked on "Fallout 3," "Fallout 4," and "Fallout 76" as a designer, shared the devastating news with Twitter, saying, "Heartbroken doesn't cover it, but I won't eulogize her here. For twitter, I thought it'd be appropriate to look back at her impact on [Fallout 4]." 

Burgess shared that he felt worried about the properly portraying the player's animal companion while working on "Fallout 4," and that he didn't want Dogmeat to become "a canine weapon, and nothing more." The character of Dogmeat was meant to serve as a true companion for players as they traversed the Wastes, rather than just a means of defeating monsters roaming the land.

Burgess' dog River began to attend meetings with the team that created Dogmeat. She didn't just serve as an animal actor, though. Instead, the team began to form a close relationship with River, and see her as a part of the team.

Dogmeat's impact on Fallout 4

"The more they bonded with [River], the more they saw Dogmeat as a character, a friend," Burgess wrote. After all, it's difficult to make Dogmeat a snarling weapon when a real life snuggly dog is part of the development team. Burgess even noted that as people in the office met River, they wanted to be part of the project with a cool dog on it, and thus joined the Dogmeat team.

The team used River's markings and gentle head tilts in "Fallout 4," making Dogmeat a near exact replica of the good girl. River also contributed to foley work, providing sound effects for the game. To get the most difficult sounds for the game, distress calls, Burgess had to stand in another room, separate from River, until she felt curious enough to call out for her favorite human. This allowed the "Fallout 4" team to get completely unique audio for the game, instead of using stock materials.

"The strange thing about Dogmeat is that nothing's strange about Dogmeat," Burgess said. He then added, "Dogmeat is a tether. He grounds you in the world, will always stand by you, lead you to your family, and anticipate your needs ... in other words, he loves you. And if love is River's legacy, I am contented." River, and her character Dogmeat, will live on in the hearts of many gamers. A fitting legacy, indeed.