Many players have their own particular favorite friends and companions in the Fallout games. That said, there’s often nothing like a good doggo to keep you company and lend aid in putting damage down on your foes in the nuclear wasteland. Many Fallout games have had recruitable dog companions, including the recent Fallout 4. However, it would appear that the model and inspiration of that particular dog has passed away, as recently revealed by the trusty canine’s owner.
Current studio director at CAPY and former Fallout 4 developer Joel Burgess shared the sad news on his personal Twitter on June 27, 2021. His dog, River, was a German Shepherd and the apparent basis for the companion Dogmeat in Fallout 4.
“What we wanted was a companion first, and a combat ally second,” Burgess explained. “I remember the catalyst; an eager new member had joined the Dogmeat team. I visited their desk a day or so later. Research covered the walls; countless images of German Shepherds snarling, all teeth and attack postures. Within a day or two, River started visiting the studio.”
I said goodbye today to River, who most of you know as Fallout 4’s Dogmeat.— Joel Burgess (@JoelBurgess) June 27, 2021
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 that game.
(plus, writing about game dev hurts less than grieving) pic.twitter.com/ayN1Vd6oqQ
Burgess explained how his bringing River around the studio worked to help soften the look and mood of a would-be companion. Dogmeat wouldn’t just be an extended weapon. It would also be a caring pal dedicated to your wellbeing wherever possible.
“River attended countless meetings,” Burgess continued. “But not just to be poked, prodded, recorded and filmed as reference - her biggest job was just to BE with the team. The more they bonded with her, the more they saw Dogmeat as a character - a friend.”
Indeed, Dogmeat didn’t come off as just a mindless pawn in Fallout 4 to use to your whim (unless you were kind of an evil dude). Dogmeat was one part of the overall puzzle that made Fallout 4’s friends and companions fun to explore. The dog was with you from the get-go, watching your back and even showing concern at danger.
In an already personal story, it seems as though River had a big paw in making Dogmeat as close to your believable canine friend as you’d let him be, and he served as a piece of an overall enjoyable package. Joel Burgess decided to make the thread into an opportunity to share the best parts of River’s story in becoming the basis for Dogmeat, we here at Shacknews appreciate both Burgess and River and wish them the best.
TJ Denzer posted a new article, Fallout 4 companion Dogmeat's real-life inspiration & model has passed away
These are the kinds of uplifting stories I need to be pelted with daily. Thanks. Maybe create a new article every time they find another body in the collapsed building while we're at it
It's a once-in-a-blue-moon story about a good dog who inspired a good character design in a good game, the way their owner wanted them to be remembered. So, you are welcome.