E3 2015: ReCore Killed the Dog, and It Was Wonderful

recore dogA steady diet of video games has left me reasonably desensitized to human-on-human violence, but violence against animals is something I can’t handle. Unfortunately, many developers are fully aware of this, and are more than happy to kill off dogs in the name of delivering punches to the gut.

It’s effective, sure, but it’s made it hard for me to enjoy any non-Sims game with pets in its cast. When I see a dog on my screen, I don’t feel excited; I feel terrified. I know the pooch in question is probably going to meet a horrible end, and I know I don’t want to watch that happen.

ReCore, Keiji Inafune’s new franchise for Xbox One, doesn’t feature furry pets, but it does star an equally adorable robot dog. When I saw it on my screen, I wanted to squee, but all I could really do was panic. It was super cute, sure, but I knew it wasn’t going to make it through the trailer unscathed.

recore dogAs expected, ReCore did kill off its mechanical mongrel. But that death wasn’t what I thought it would be, and it wound up being the best part of the trailer.

When the dog and its owner find themselves surrounded, it willingly chooses to sacrifice itself in order to save its companion. While its body was destroyed, it left something behind — a round, glowing sphere. The lead character hurriedly places the sphere in a new metal chassis, and happily welcomes her friend home.

It was a touching (and tear-inducing) moment, but it also gave me a better understanding of the game’s world and the characters at the heart of it. The trailer was devoid of exposition and gameplay footage, but I’m already fascinated by ReCore‘s story and cast. What are the girl and her dog looking for? What’s really inside those glowing spheres? Whatever it is, I want to know more.

ReCore hasn’t converted me completely — I’m still anti-fictional dog-killing — but I’ll now admit that puppy death can be done right. I can’t wait to learn more about this game, even if it means watching another dog die.