I Hate Hearing My Dog Buddy Get Hurt In Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 has given us a wonderful ally named Boomer. He's a dog, and he's my friend, but I don't use him because I hate seeing and hearing him get hurt.

The good boy triumphant.Image: Ubisoft

I am a big fan of animal companions in games, and Boomer is one of the best that we've gotten so far. He's got the physical prowess of a bear and the eyesight of an eagle. Most importantly, he is a cute dog. However, being a companion in a Far Cry game, he also has to get into fights. When he gets into fights he gets hurt.

That's where the trouble starts for me.

You see, when Boomer heroically takes bullets in my stead, he makes a horrifying whining sound. It sounds like a real dog getting hurt. Likewise, when he's hit by a vehicle (like in this video), the sound of the "thump" and the whine really do mimic the awful noises of when those things happen in real life.

Hearing Boomer get hurt makes me extremely sad. It makes me so sad, and emotional even, that I don't want to play the game any longer.

Why though? I don't have the same emotional reaction when my human allies collapse in a heap after eating a rocket launcher shot from point-blank range. Their moans don't affect me in the slightest where Boomer's make me want to turn the game off for good. And I can shoot the moose, bears, cougars, and turkeys of Far Cry 5 with a minimal tinge of guilt in my heart.

When it comes to Boomer, my pet ally, I just can't handle what is regular and routine at every other point in the game.

I put this question to my friend Dr. James Stanescu. Alongside being a really smart person who I've known for a very long time, he's also an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Mercer University, and his work centres on animals and ethics. He also plays video games every now and again, so I casually asked him about why I have such an emotional reaction to hearing my dog companion get injured in Far Cry 5.

"Dogs are the oldest form of pet, and pets are not like other animals," he explained to me via direct message. "They are usually named, they are welcome into the house, often in our beds. We spend money at vets to take care of pets, and we spoil them. In short, pets are seen as kinds of innocent humans. That's why we call them fur babies."

Image: Ubisoft

But why am I so concerned about Boomer in Far Cry 5 or even Dogmeat in Fallout 4? Why do these specific dogs bother me so much while the other animals I am killing have very little emotional affect on me? "The dog noises of pain in Fallout 4 are pretty lifelike," Stanescu wrote, "but the other kinds of animals are still pretty animal like.

They are seen as real threats. So pets elicit a feeling of protection in us that other animals don't."

It probably says something about me as a person that these video game dogs elicit this response from me more than video game humans do. As Stanescu suggests, listening to Boomer get hurt makes me feel like I've failed in some tragic way. My "fur baby" is a creature that I'm supposed to be protecting from harm. My other allies have guns, but Boomer only has me, and hearing that thump and horrible wail directly holds me accountable for messing up.

So for me it's flamethrower redneck and giant bear allies for the foreseeable future.


    Wonder how they got the sound of a dog whining, did the actually kick a dog at some point.
    Not saying Ubisoft did but someone at some point must have recorded a bunch of animals being hurt and catalogued it.

      I can't speak for every sound asset out there but one of the trainers I worked with did a fair bit of work in sound recording and films/TV in general.
      When it came to whines, whimpers and pain sounds he had gorgeous Bluey who absolutely hated not going everywhere with him, as long as she saw him get in the truck and leave she would belt out the most horrible sounds of distress, the big sook.

    I think it's also in part the fact that we, as gamers, are trained to ignore our human companions because they're so farking annoying and the guns for hire in Far Cry 5 are not exempt to this rule.
    There's a reason most of us are making our priorities being to pick up Boomer, Peaches and Cheeseburger and it's not just because they're so incredibly adorable.

    It was tough to hear for a bit but after watching the doppey dork stand in the middle of fire so many times I got used to it.

    100% agree about the disheartening effect of hearing the "domestic" animal cries. This is one (of a few) reasons that I returned Monster Hunter World after a day. After creating the Palico in the image of my cat, it was horrifying having to listen to it whimper and mew whenever it got into trouble/hurt.

    Ha.. Glad someone else has this problem. Exact same reason I don't use him. I couldn't use dogmeat for the and reason.

      Same here! I used him just enough to get the perk points and then retired him!

      It didn't help that Boomer's whimpers would start my real-life dog being upset.... :(

      Also there's a joke somewhere in your username..... something something, playing with food.....

    I'd suggest giving up gaming and getting some professional counselling. (This is being serious and not as a condescending joke by the way - there may be some deeper issues there)

      No need, it's already been observed that humans have more empathy for animal suffering than human suffering, on the whole. Animals are seen as more vulnerable and adult humans more able to take care of themselves.

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