You might not know the name River, but you most certainly know Dogmeat. Fallout 4’s faithful companion was modelled on River, who served as inspiration for the four-legged friend that joined us in the Capital Wasteland.
Developer Joel Burgess wrote about River and her passing this weekend, detailing the effect she had on the game and the development team. Burgess discusses wanting to make sure Dogmeat was a friend, not just a weapon in the game. To get this right, River’s movements and personality were used to give Dogmeat life. Dogmeat’s habitual bringing you of large objects, for example, was based on River doing that.
The team went on walks with River, observing how she moved and responded to the environment and how she would position herself near Burgess. River would walk ahead, but stop to look back and check everything was okay.
It is never easy to lose a beloved pet, but I am so glad that Burgess shared River with the rest of us, and that she lives on in a digital world where others need a best friend to join them.