So, Jenn and I are still at odds over what breed of dog to use. This might seem trivial at first glance but it’s actually very important. When you ask a person (who likes dogs) to pick one dog breed that’s their favorite, they usually struggle. They can probably immediately list 2-3 breeds but to pick between them is hard – then a few more breeds come to mind, there’s just so many dogs. That, and taste widely varies – I’ll expand in a second.
I wanted a large dog, ideally a german shepherd. They’re protectors, they’re associated with security, they’re not a typical dog breed to show up in character-centric games, and they have eyebrows. She wanted a corgi or a pomeranian or a shiba inu.
I know, it sounds like we need couples counselling.
Image Credit: Getty Images
Here’s the problem I have with small dogs: people often associate them as annoying and loud. On the flip side, large dogs can be interpreted as scary. Small dogs are cute but I’m also of the opinion that they’re weak. Also, all of these dogs are associated with joke pop culture, sassy or stupid – memes. Memes are fun but not an ideal image to have especially if we want our game to have a more serious tone.
Small dogs are usually associated with comedic or parody games and it’s not an image I see for the game.
While looking around for games that featured dogs in key roles, I found an interesting comment on the design of Persona 3’s Koromaru from the game’s art director Shigenori Soejima.
The idea attempts to put the animal for the purpose of issuing a variation to the party members was already there from the beginning of development. It seems only natural for one to think of a dog if we think of an animal fighting alongside us because of its determined nature. Deciding on a dog was easy but determining the breed was the issue.
It was decided by popular vote within the development staff, outruling small dogs because they would not good because they would be too small, such as the Chihuahua and Pomeranian. Dobermans were too scary and so on.
For the poll, we were left with the husky dog and Shiba Inu – but I also pushed for the Dalmation since I was partial to my initial concept.
From the poll, we chose the Shiba but we thought it was too plain so we decided to give it clothes – Shigenori Soejima
It was interesting because many of these points were things we had considered. Koromaru has a jacket and wings in the game and the dog in our game was proposed to have a backpack. But like I said – picking one dog, it’s not as simple as it sounds!
We may settle on the shiba since they are a larger dog and they do have eyebrows and the audience that memes bring in is still an audience to consider. And there is nothing wrong with reinventing the stereotype and going against the grain.
But to truly settle it, we decided to create concept art of the german shepherd, the corgi, and the shiba inu and create a poll for our peers and friends and ideal audience for our game with context of the game’s atmosphere to see what the public opinion is.
Or at least………. we WOULD HAVE.
Stay tuned for what happened next.