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Fallout 4 will let players recruit a dog to follow them through the post-apocalyptic wasteland. However, this time around, Dogmeat can't be killed.
Bethesda revealed this interesting tidbit over Twitter last night:
I don't doubt Dogmeat will be able to fall in battle in Fallout 4. If not, the player could just sit back and let him handle every fight. My guess is that he'll get knocked unconscious and then wake up once combat is over.
Dogmeat's immortality suggests that he's going to play an important role. In past games, he was essentially an Easter egg. You could recruit him or completely ignore him. Maybe he's actually important to the plot this time around?
It's unclear whether other NPC companions will also be unkillable. My hope is that Fallout 4 follows New Vegas' approach to followers: They can only be killed in Hardcore mode. In the normal version of the game, they'll simply be KO'd by damage.
The problem I had with Fallout 3's universal permadeath was that it resulted in a lot of reloading. The A.I. for the companions was lackluster so they often got themselves killed, either by enemies or simply by falling off ledges. The player's choice was either A) to try and find a new companion that complemented their character or B) keep reloading every time their followers made dumb mistakes.
New Vegas seemed like the best of both worlds to me. The purists hoping for the harshest version of the wasteland can still have companions who die. Everyone else, meanwhile, can keep their NPCs. Also, because followers aren't so expendable, the developers can feel comfortable in fleshing out their backstories.
Fallout 4 will be launching this November on PS4, Xbox One and PC. Be sure to check out the gameplay footage from E3 2015 if you haven't already.