Out of all the archetypes of player companions that have appeared throughout the history of video games, one stands alone as the paragon of loyalty, reliability and unconditional love: the dog.
As graphics and artificial intelligence technologies continue to advance, so do the quality of dogs in video games. Even so, dogs have always been the highlight of every game they appear in, and they show no signs of slowing down. In game worlds where strangers can be conniving, resentful and even backstab the player, the uniquely radiant warmth of dogs is always welcome.
With D-Dog’s sharp face and eyepatch, he is the spitting image of Metal Gear Solid V‘s Venom Snake. As one of the game’s buddies, D-Dog is capable of aiding the player in open-world stealth and reconnaissance missions, as he can scout far beyond Snake’s eyesight and distract enemies. D-Dog can even be equipped with weapons, allowing him to stun or wound enemies.
With his unrivaled skills and variable equipment, D-Dog is undoubtedly one of the fiercest animal companions in video game history. That being said, combat expertise doesn’t mean D-Dog should be deprived of pets, as the wolf is still a puppy at heart.
Dragon Age: Origins’ Mabari War Hound is Staunchly Loyal
The dog party member in Dragon Age: Origins is a fully-fledged warrior, loyal pet and gifted conversationalist. Unlike other party members in the game, the dog’s approval stat is maxed out as soon as he is recruited, and it cannot be lowered by any means. This makes him the most loyal companion in the game by far. He’s no slouch when it comes to combat either, a necessary skill in the dangerous world of Dragon Age.
The dog can be named and equipped with different collars and warpaint to increase both his stats and good looks. He is also a spirited talker, participating in many interactions with the player and party members throughout the game with growls and barks, making him a great fighter, good boy and funny party member.
Wargroove’s Caesar Is a Capable Commander
Wargroove has many dog units, but none are as tough or tactically talented as Caesar, the queen of Cherrystone’s personal guard dog. Caesar, at four years old, is also the youngest ever commander in the Cherrystone army, providing orders and inspiration for all of his soldiers. With a groove that can give allies two attacks in the same turn, Caesar is extremely valuable on the battlefield.
Perhaps the most independently successful dog in video game history, Caesar is fully capable of toppling enemy armies without a human commander to aid him, but he always appreciates the company. His status surpasses even the confines of his own game, as he is also featured in Rivals of Aether as a possible buddy.
Dogmeat Is a Fallout Staple
Dogmeat is a recurring companion in the Fallout series. As one of the cruel open world’s few bright spots, Dogmeat has been a fan favorite since his debut in the original Fallout game, but he really came into his own with the release of Fallout 4. Here, Dogmeat was finally made immortal — as all video game dogs should be. Players no longer have to live through every encounter in fear that their best friend might kick the bucket.
Much like the dog in Dragon Age: Origins, Dogmeat is a loyal companion whose opinion of the player will never waver, no matter what decisions the player makes. The unconditional love of a dog is one of the few things that can make a wasteland like Fallout habitable.
Pyre’s Rukey Greentail is the Soul of the Nightwings
Rukey, the dog party member in Supergiant Games’ masterpiece party-based RPG and 3v3 sports game, Pyre, is one of the most likable characters in the game. Unlike most dogs on this list, Rukey is fully capable of speech. Known as “The Fast Talker,” Rukey’s smooth conversation skills helped him in his mercantile life before he was exiled to the Downside, a type of purgatory where alleged criminals are sent.
His sparkling conversation isn’t the only thing he brings to the party, as Rukey’s extreme speed makes him one of the most powerful goal-scoring threats in the game. As one of the best characters in a criminally underrated game from the developers behind Hades, Rukey Greentail deserves a spot as one of video game’s greatest dogs.