How Ace Combat 7's Dog.jpg Brought Joy to a Turbulent January in the Games Industry

Sensing the need for some good old-fashioned dog-based hilarity, Bandai Namco delivered the good boy.

Video game publishers and developers are always on the lookout for mascots. Many have tried throughout video game history, but for every Mario, there's a Gex, Croc, Bubsy, or Sonic. It's easy to put down on paper what the ingredients of a successful mascot are, but in truth, it takes a sprinkling of magic. Bandai Namco hit gold last week with Ace Combat 7's dog. This good boy's star has shone so brightly, he might even challenge Lady Gaga for an Oscar. 2019 is shaping up to be the year of dog.jpg.

2019 had gotten off to a rocky start. While we all waited impatiently for Resident Evil 2 and Kingdom Hearts 3 to arrive at the end of January, we stared open-mouthed at the feud between Unity and Improbable, the two firms throwing statements back and forth while developers waved their arms about in panic as if taking part in a cruel game of Piggy in the Middle (apologies to US readers who called it something boring like, 'Keep Away') where losing meant immense stress and huge financial loss.

The Division 2 looks nice, but where is the dog, dammit? Keep calm. The video is just below. | Capcom

Elsewhere we've seen Steam take more blows from the Epic Games Store as the Fortnite publisher attempts to muscle in on the PC digital store market, and Gearbox's Randy Pitchford found himself in the middle of an ugly legal dispute. That wasn't enough for the video game industry's furor facilitators pulling the puppet strings, with a final gasp reserved for Bungie and Activision ending their partnership, the former taking Destiny with it. It's hard to tally this with the fact that three weeks ago we were all finishing off leftover Christmas snacks and wondering how we'd cope with a 'quiet' January.

In stepped Ace Combat 7's dog or dog.jpg as it's been named, drawing a line under the serious business with its perfect meme-worthy 2D body. That's right, the dev team used a flat image of a dog in a 3D rendered cutscene that featured fully modeled human characters. The internet loves dogs (no doubt Final Fantasy 13's low polygon dog has been on the phone to dog.jpg to offer its congratulations), and it loves to hate mistakes or sloppy workmanship in video games. Take a gander at the golden coat of dog.jpg in the YouTube video below.

This inevitably saw dog.jpg become an internet meme superstar, even managing to cross over into other popular memes. This doggo (I hate that term and feel dirty using it, but I don't want to seem like I'm outside the youth bubble) is everywhere. I won't pretend to understand them all (although my younger colleagues have explained them), but these two tweets show just how far people are willing to go for a crudely inserted image of a Golden Retriever.

The story doesn't end there, though. Oh, no. Or should I say, doesn't begin there? In fact, Ace Combat 7's dog.jpg has been causing a stir on the internet since 2017. Check out the video below for a conspiracy theory video even the most skeptical among you would find hard to rebuke.

Dog.jpg has been right there in front of our eyes for a year and a half. How blind we've been to its purity and innocence. At least now we can look to dog.jpg for comfort as we bravely endure the best part of a week to get our hands on Resident Evil 2. In a month of turmoil I think I speak for everyone when I say, thank you, dog.jpg. Long may your flat image shimmer slightly in a heat haze. Just try not to focus on the fact that the dog died shortly after the photo was taken. Happy new week, everyone!

Do we still care about Resident Evil 2 now dog.jpg is in our lives? | Capcom

Major Game Releases This Week: January 21 to January 25

  • Life Is Strange 2 - Episode 2: Rules [January 24, PS4, Xbox One, PC]: The journey continues for Daniel and Sean, as they begin to come to terms with a life on the run. Most notable for Life Is Strange 2 - Episode 2: Rules, is that it connects directly to last year’s LiS spin-off experience The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. Awesome indeed!

  • Resident Evil 2 [January 25, PS4, Xbox One, PC]: Hoo boy, the time has finally come and Capcom’s impressively gory Resi 2 remake is soon to be unleashed upon the masses. It looks to be a real winner too, with realistic (and disgusting) limb dismemberment, emo fringes galore, and of course, plenty of oddly shaped keys.
Fortnite is in the news again, but maybe you should add some dogs, Epic? | Epic Games

This Week's News and Notes

Image Header Source: GamersPrey YouTube Channel

Tagged with Opinions, PC, PlayStation 4, Starting Screen, Xbox One.

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