Starfield Needs To Include Space Dog Companions
We're reaching for the skies with Bethesda's Starfield, as the acclaimed developer behind everything from Fallout to The Elder Scrolls is heading to a whole new corner of the cosmos. While these open-world adventures are all colossal in size, Starfield looks like it could be the biggest yet.
Unlike Tomb Raider, The Legend of Zelda, or God of War, Bethesda games have usually relied on the backdrop to tell the story instead of a well-rounded character. Similar to the role of the Tarnished in Elden Ring, character customisation is at the core of any Bethesda game, and it'll be much the same in Starfield. Thankfully, this allows for a colourful cavalcade of NPCs and companions.
Away from Skyrim's J'zargo and Cicero, the wide Wasteland of Fallout has given us the best companions there are. Much like Fallout: New Vegas' horror-esque Rex the cyberdog or the ever-loyal Dogmeat that's appeared in multiple titles, there are high hopes animal companions will be a part of Starfield. If they aren't, Bethesda is really missing a trick if space dog companions aren't part of the story.
Will Starfield Have Companions?
Despite a promised release date of 2022, we still know relatively nothing about Starfield, other than the fact it will be a Microsoft exclusive. A recent deep-dive video introduced us to Vasco, a robotic companion that will accompany players around the constellations. Even though the bipedal Vasco is all well and good if you want to pretend you're in the Alien movies, others want to know about our furry friends.
Even though Starfield definitely isn't Fallout, it would be a cool Easter egg if there was a Dogmeat-inspired companion. Knowing the rich tapestry of stories Bethesda likes to weave, it's doubtful we're just going to stop with Vasco. Interestingly, eagle-eyed fans noticed there are cats in space, with the implication you'll be able to keep them as pets. As a franchise first, could Starfield introduce cat companions? Well, it was good enough for Ellen Ripley.
We're unsure what kind of enemy types there will be in Starfield, but we know the crux of the story will follow the fractious relationship between the United Colonies and Freestar Collective. Confirmed enemies include Ecliptic mercenaries, pirates of Crimson Fleet, Violent Spacers, and the religious zealots of House Va'ruun. Despite all of these, we're still expecting aliens to take over from Fallout's Deathclaws as formidable foes out there in the stars.
Even though Vasco is mainly designed as a defensive companion, the devs have said he can attack as well. Assuming this is the same for all companions, space dogs could come in handy ripping E.T. to pieces. Design Director Emil Pagliarulo has given us some insight into Akila City, which is the home of the Freestar Collective. During this reveal, he told gamers about terrifying velociraptor-wolf hybrids called Ashtas, which we're hoping we'll be able to tame as a companion.
Starfield Can Take Its Cue From Guardians Of The Galaxy
If wolf-raptors don't float your boat, Starfield can take a more classic approach to dogs and just stick a helmet on your standard golden retriever. Hey, it worked for Guardians of the Galaxy with Cosmo the Spacedog. Although the character was already an established part of Marvel Comics, he joined Guardians of the Galaxy as the telepathic security chief of the Knowhere station.
Square Enix used a real-life dog called Diego for Cosmo, and who could forget the heart-warming tale of River who played Dogmeat in Fallout 4? Starfield can take nods from real life and honour the legacy of Laika - the dog the Soviet Union launched into space and also inspired Cosmo Given. Laika had the tragic end of asphyxiation in the cold abyss, so we hope Starfield will be a little nicer to its strays. Of course, we don't need to draw the line at dogs.
Sticking with Marvel Comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel featured Goose the Cat, which was actually a Flerken - a vicious alien that looks like Earth's cats. If we have wolf-raptors, who's to say we can't have adorable canaries that morph into giant vampire birds, or what about a reptilian alligator like in Loki? Sure, Tamriel and the Wasteland have gifted us plenty of creative characters, but that's nothing compared to what's lurking out there in the stars.