Is Dogmeat More Than Just A Dog in Fallout 4?

Introducing Dogmeat

Dogmeat is a recurring character in the Fallout video game series, first appearing as an optional companion for the player in the original Fallout game in 1997. According to the Fallout Wiki, Dogmeat was inspired by the dog in Mad Max 2. He has since appeared in several sequels and spin-offs, including Fallout 2, Fallout 3, Fallout 4, and Fallout Shelter.

In the games, Dogmeat is depicted as a German Shepherd dog. He assists the player character as a loyal companion, able to find hidden items, attack enemies, and access unreachable areas. Players have the option to recruit Dogmeat and have him follow them on their quests. As a dog, Dogmeat cannot speak but will bark and whine. The player can issue various commands to Dogmeat such as “stay”, “fetch”, and “attack”.

Dogmeat has become a staple of the Fallout series, being one of the few characters to appear in almost every installment. His namesake is a reference to the film A Boy and His Dog, the inspiration for the original Fallout game. Dogmeat provides an animal companion for the lone wanderers of the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Dogmeat’s Origins

Dogmeat first appeared as a recruitable companion in the original Fallout game in 1997. As described on the Fallout Wiki https://fallout.fandom.com/wiki/Dogmeat_(Fallout), Dogmeat is a dog that can be found terrorizing an old man named Phil in the town of Junktown. The player has the option to drive Dogmeat away, kill him, or give him food to befriend him. If befriended, Dogmeat will join the player’s party and assist in combat.

According to Fallout developer Tim Cain, Dogmeat was directly inspired by the dog in the movie Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior as mentioned on Reddit. The developers wanted to include a dog companion as an homage to Mad Max’s loyal canine sidekick. Dogmeat has gone on to become one of the most iconic and beloved characters in the Fallout series, making appearances across multiple games.

Dogmeat’s Role in Fallout 4

In Fallout 4, Dogmeat acts as a companion to the player character and helps them explore the wasteland. He can be recruited early in the game at the Red Rocket truck stop just outside Sanctuary Hills [1]. Once recruited, Dogmeat will follow and aid the player in combat. He can detect and highlight enemies, pick up items, and access unreachable areas [2].

As a companion, Dogmeat provides several benefits and perks. He doesn’t count against the Lone Wanderer perk, meaning the player can still get bonuses from that perk while having Dogmeat as a companion. Dogmeat can also wear armor and bandanas to boost his defenses. His perks include attack dogs, which can inflict bleeding damage on enemies, and dog finder, which helps locate hidden items [1]. Overall, Dogmeat plays an invaluable role as a combat ally and exploration aide for the player.

Dogmeat’s Personality and Behavior

One of the most endearing aspects of Dogmeat in Fallout 4 is his personality and behavior. According to the Fallout Wiki https://fallout.fandom.com/wiki/Dogmeat_(Fallout_4), Dogmeat is unconditionally loyal and protective of the Sole Survivor. He loves the player character no matter what choices they make in the game. Dogmeat is also quite intelligent and perceptive, able to track enemies, find hidden items, and assist in combat. However, Dogmeat is also independent and will sometimes wander off on his own during quests or combat https://www.reddit.com/r/Fallout/comments/8ygjo7/a_great_part_of_fallout_4_is_that_dogmeat_never/. This behavior was inspired by a real-life dog named River that the Fallout developers met during their design process https://screenrant.com/fallout-4-dogmeat-river-inspiration-rip-npc-companion/. Overall, Dogmeat has a endearing mix of intelligence, loyalty, and free spirit that makes him a beloved companion in Fallout 4.

dogmeat's endearing personality and behaviors

Training and Commands

Dogmeat obeys many commands from the player character in Fallout 4. Players can direct Dogmeat to investigate locations or containers using the “Inspection” command, causing Dogmeat to sniff out items of interest. According to the Fallout Wiki, Dogmeat is even able to “fetch,” detecting the surrounding area for enemies, containers, or other points of interest. Upon finding something, Dogmeat will stand near the target to indicate his discovery [1].

In addition to directed commands, Dogmeat also responds to whistling, allowing the player to call Dogmeat back to them if he wanders too far. With the Attack Dog perk, Dogmeat can also be commanded to attack specific enemies using VATS targeting. Several other perks like Guard Dog and Roaming Guard Dog enhance Dogmeat’s utility in combat scenarios.

Overall, Dogmeat exhibits an impressive degree of obedience and intelligence when it comes to aiding the player. His training and responsiveness help make him one of the most useful companions in Fallout 4.

Dogmeat vs Other Companions

Dogmeat differs from human companions in Fallout 4 in some key ways. As a dog, Dogmeat cannot equip armor or weapons like human companions can. He also cannot carry extra inventory for the player. However, Dogmeat offers advantages as well.

A major benefit of Dogmeat is that he does not count against the Lone Wanderer perk, which gives bonuses for not having a human companion. This allows the player to keep Dogmeat while still getting Lone Wanderer bonuses (source). Dogmeat is also unable to die, only becoming incapacitated for a short time if his health reaches zero.

In terms of combat, Dogmeat can be quite effective at distracting enemies and dealing damage. He can take down enemies unexpectedly quickly at times. However, commanding Dogmeat in combat can be frustrating compared to human companions who can be given more specific tactical directions. Dogmeat will often run off and attack targets aggressively without waiting for the player’s lead (source).

For players who prefer a sense of companionship and character interaction, Dogmeat may not satisfy as much as a human companion with unique dialogue and quest lines. However, those wanting a loyal combat ally without sacrificing Lone Wanderer may find Dogmeat to be the top companion choice in Fallout 4.

Special Abilities

One of Dogmeat’s most useful abilities is his keen sense of smell, which allows him to track enemies from long distances. This makes Dogmeat an invaluable companion when searching for enemies or following a trail. According to the Fallout Wiki, Dogmeat is capable of tracking a scent for miles.

In addition to tracking, Dogmeat can also retrieve weapons and items for the player. If commanded properly, he will pick up nearby weapons, ammo, and other loot, bringing it directly to the player. This ability allows the player to grab items that may be out of reach.

Dogmeat can also distract enemies in combat situations. He will bark and draw their attention away from the player temporarily. This gives the player a tactical advantage to reposition, heal, or gain the upper hand while Dogmeat has the enemy distracted.

dogmeat distracting enemies in combat

Dogmeat’s Popularity

Dogmeat has become one of the most beloved and popular companions in the Fallout series. Many fans love having a loyal canine companion to travel the Wasteland with. As one Reddit user said, “My favorite follower is Dogmeat. I just love having a dog along for the adventure.” (source) Dogmeat provides an emotional connection that was often missing from previous Fallout games. Having a dog at your side adds a bit of personality and warmth to the experience of wandering the cold, unforgiving Wasteland.

According to an article on Gamerant, Dogmeat’s popularity stems from how he “acts like a real dog when players aren’t directing him during combat or quests.” (source) Details like Dogmeat playing with teddy bears when left to his own devices make him feel alive in a way many other video game companions don’t. He gives the world more heart. For these reasons, Dogmeat remains one of the most beloved characters in the Fallout universe.

Criticisms and Controversies

Some players have criticized Dogmeat’s role and abilities in Fallout 4 as being overpowered and unbalanced. There have been accusations that Dogmeat can detect enemies from much farther away than the player, essentially acting as a cheat to reveal upcoming threats. This allows players to avoid dangerous situations that they otherwise would not have been aware of [1].

Additionally, Dogmeat’s pathfinding and AI behavior has come under scrutiny. There are many complaints about Dogmeat bumping into the player, blocking doorways, charging into combat, and otherwise not behaving intelligently. Some players argue this breaks immersion and makes Dogmeat more a liability than an asset during crucial moments of gameplay [2].

Perhaps most seriously, there have been reports of Dogmeat causing unintentional hostility with factions and NPCs. A notable example is Dogmeat attacking inhabitants in Covenant for no reason, causing them to go hostile against the player. This forces the player to kill them or reload a previous save [3]. Such unprovoked aggression from Dogmeat disrupts gameplay and weakens his reputation as the “loyal pooch” of the Fallout universe.

The Legacy of Dogmeat

Dogmeat has become a staple of the Fallout franchise ever since first appearing in the original Fallout game in 1997. As the post-apocalyptic wasteland’s most iconic canine companion, Dogmeat has left an indelible impact on the Fallout series.

Dogmeat’s inclusion in Fallout 4 shows the developers’ commitment to honoring the early games in the franchise. By bringing Dogmeat back as the playable character’s loyal companion, Fallout 4 gave a nod to the original Dogmeat while reinventing the character for a new generation of players. According to the Fallout Wiki, Dogmeat is “a synth prototype created from Nick Valentine’s pre-war dog DNA”[1], linking him directly back to the Fallout universe’s origins.

dogmeat honoring early fallout games in fallout 4

As a heroic animal sidekick accompanying the player on their journey, Dogmeat has come to represent the heart and spirit of the Fallout games. He demonstrates that even in an post-apocalyptic wasteland where it’s “every man for himself,” compassion and companionship can exist in the form of man’s best friend.

Dogmeat’s popularity has paved the way for other companion characters in later Fallout installments. While non-human companions like ED-E (Fallout: New Vegas) and Codsworth (Fallout 4) have their own appeal, none capture the spirit of the franchise quite like the indomitable Dogmeat.

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