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The latest AAA video game to support pet petting is Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, whose new Warlords of New York expansion adds a good boy mascot to the new hub world in Lower Manhattan. This is a long overdue feature inclusion, as in the year since the main game launched animal lovers have only been able to shoot stray dogs, which no one likes to do as they never attack or bother anyone.
Warlords of New York is way more animal friendly than the Washington, D.C. campaign (or the first The Division from 2016). In fact, one of the first safe houses players may unlock is literally a shelter for puppies and kitties displaced by the Green Poison bioattack. It’s on the way to The Tombs and the boss fight with Theo Parnell, one of the rogue agents players have to hunt down and blow away.
None of the cats in there may be pet, however. For shame! Still, considering how mine scatter when I take out the recycling or fire up the vacuum cleaner, I’m not sure cats would be in the mood for a scratchy behind the ears or a belly rub from a robust, heavily armed individual with a backpack the size of a mini-fridge.
But the doggie in Haven (the first settlement) appears to be a German shepherd pup who can’t wait to grow up and go out on patrol. You may pet the good boy (or girl, can’t be sure), and in subsequent interactions, the dog will roll over, yap excitedly, or stick out a paw to shake. Awwwww.
Haven goes full-on Bambi with the animal cuddliness, pairing up a deer and a bunny around the entrance the player first crosses. (Fast-traveling to or spawning inside Haven puts players in a section further away.) Liberating Civic Center (finding SHD caches, resupplying a control point, and completing five random encounters) also offers “Animals” as an upgrade for Haven; I haven’t unlocked that yet, but evidently even more critters are on the way.
We’ll have more detailed impressions of Warlords of New York later. For now, our impressions of its canine interaction are that it is much more robust than Fortnite’s animation, good enough to rate inclusion in Can You Pet the Dog’s Twitter compendium. However, given Assassin’s Creed Origins’ history of cat-petting, we are disappointed by the lack of feline representation. Surely Massive could have rung up their pals at Ubisoft Montreal for some assets?
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Cats, however, may not be pet. Grrrr ….
Survive Dogs are non-hostile NPCs that roam Manhattan. They appear hostile when approached but they will not attack the Agent. When killed they will not award XP. Gunshots will cause them to run away. Randomly, the dog will have an animation where it will urinate or defecate. Dogs will be mostly be seen roaming around the city. Either scavenging from trash or frightening civilians.
How to get a dog in the Division 2
If youre playing The Division 2 this weekend you might have noticed you cant pet the dogs. You can shoot them, of course – but you cant pet them.
This has come as something of a surprise given you can pet dogs in other Ubisoft games, such as Watchdogs 2 (of course) and Far Cry: New Dawn. You can even pet dogs in Assassins Creed 3. So to find The Division 2 doesnt let you let the good dog know theyre a good dog is more than a little sad.
It turns out, there are plenty of people who would really like Ubisoft to let you pet the dogs in The Division 2. Ive seen multiple posts on reddit and social media calling on the mega-publisher to patch in dog petting. “Why on Earth cant we pet the damn dogs in this game?!” wrote exacerbated redditor Raddz5000. “They come up to you looking all sad, just staring at you, wanting some pets. But nooOOOooo, we can only stare back. We should be able to pet them, give them a snack from our food resources, maybe theyll follow us around a bit, giving moral support. Its 2019 now and we still cant pet the dogs. Literally unplayable.”
“Let me pet the dogs,” wrote redditor sketchygio. “A virus has been unleashed on humanity, anarchy rules, and mans best friend is left to wander the streets. We are allowed to shoot them like some sick maniac, but we cannot pet them to let them know its all gonna be OK? Absurd!
“I demand the ability to pet any and all of the good boys and girls I might encounter on the streets. Extra points if I can give them belly rubs.”
The complaint that struck a chord with me, though, was this reddit post from user eoddc5:
“Im sick of passing 100s of homeless dogs all day long, and not being able to do anything with them,” they said. “They just run away, like Im some scary monster. Im not; Im a Division Agent and here to save the world. And those pups are part of that world. “It would be SO amazing and MUCH MORE IMMERSIVE if we could earn their trust, give them food supplies, pet them.
“Im not asking to have a dog companion whatsoever, thats not within this game. But you have 100s of small commendation tasks to take care of, Im sure we can add one for being kind to the dogs.”
Whats interesting about eoddc5s post is they go on to talk about why it would be realistic to interact with a dog during combat, as opposed to killing it.
“I was deployed to Iraq in 2006 for a year, a stray pack of dogs would hang around the base I was at for a few months, and one would come into base and hang out all the time. We took care of him, he slept in the large indoor assembly area (when he wanted to). And when he was attacked and mauled by another dog out there, we had called in one of our SF medic friends from 15 mins away to perform surgery and suture him up.
“Dogs are awesome, and frequently in combat zones (and anywhere else in the world) there are many that are displaced and enjoy the companionship of humans (and what comes with it, food, shelter, safety, love). Similarly, a high stress environment like combat means that lots of servicemen and women bond with dogs or cats because it helps ease their mind or take their mind off the reality of war, and break up the monotony of combat day after day. Many have snuck home with their dogs off 1+ year bonding, and there are official adoption processes for these situations now.
“So… yeah petting a dog in this game would make sense, and would be a fun gesture, and break up the monotony (both for gaming, and for our agent who kills 500+ people a week), esp considering its in other games and even other Ubisoft titles.”
Anyway, if you havent already seen it, theres a wonderful Twitter account devoted to video games that let you pet dogs, and its creator wrote a lovely article over on FanByte.com lamenting The Division 2s lack of dog petting.
“The Division 2s dogs are indeed unpettable, but they are not invincible. Should you lack a beating heart, it is easy to fire a few shots into one of the games many homeless canines, downing them with a sickening yelp followed by cold silence. And since ambient wildlife often wanders into firefights, it is entirely possible – and likely inevitable – that players will inadvertently execute a dog during their time conquering the ruins of D.C. You cannot purposely pet these dogs, but you can accidentally kill them.
“This unsettling dichotomy crystallises in an early mission. Off to the side, behind impenetrable metal grating sits a crestfallen pooch, whimpering in grief over a fallen friend.
“These dogs are carefully arranged to elicit an emotional response from any player who stops to notice them. Your first instinct may be to help these poor things, but the the gate stands firm, guarding a static diorama of misery.”
Yelp. Ubisoft, if youre listening, perhaps you could patch The Division 2 to let us interact with the dogs.
Or at least let us give a dog a drone. Become a Eurogamer subscriber and get your first month for £1
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