If you're playing The Division 2 this weekend you might have noticed you can't pet the dogs. You can shoot them, of course - but you can't 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 Assassin's Creed 3. So to find The Division 2 doesn't let you let the good dog know they're 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. I've seen multiple posts on reddit and social media calling on the mega-publisher to patch in dog petting. "Why on Earth can't 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 they'll follow us around a bit, giving moral support. It's 2019 now and we still can't pet the dogs. Literally unplayable."
You can pet the dog in Far Cry: New Dawn pic.twitter.com/DJmkny5g5w— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 5, 2019
"Let me pet the dogs," wrote redditor sketchygio. "A virus has been unleashed on humanity, anarchy rules, and man's 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 it's 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."
You can pet the dog in Watch Dogs 2 pic.twitter.com/enlDhyR8ho— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 15, 2019
The complaint that struck a chord with me, though, was this reddit post from user eoddc5:
"I'm 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 I'm some scary monster. I'm not; I'm 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.
"I'm not asking to have a dog companion whatsoever, that's not within this game. But you have 100s of small commendation tasks to take care of, I'm sure we can add one for being kind to the dogs."
You can pet the dog in Assassin's Creed III pic.twitter.com/iEfIwg8hzF— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 6, 2019
What's interesting about eoddc5's 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 it's in other games and even other Ubisoft titles."
Makes you think!
You cannot pet the dog in The Division 2 pic.twitter.com/p0GGXWpDpY— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) March 12, 2019
Anyway, if you haven't already seen it, there's 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 2's lack of dog petting.
"The Division 2's 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 game's 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 you're 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.