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

The good boy triumphant.
The good boy triumphant.
Image: Ubisoft

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.

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 centers 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.”

Illustration for article titled I Hate Hearing My Dog Buddy Get Hurt In Far Cry 5
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.

I've played all of the Baldur's Gate games.

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Gaying Mantis Toboggan

I’m a stealth player but if Boomer goes down I’m running into whatever is happening to rescue him. I also felt sad the first time I got him and then shortly hopped into the perpetually there Rae Rae van only to hit Boomer and have him die—I was initially confused and stunned, then scrambled to rescue him but didn’t make it in time. I knew I was going to bond with this digital dog the moment his rescue was complete and I followed him as he walked over to his former owners and be all sad, I was not expecting that to happen.

I’m hoping Ubisoft sees how positively people are reacting to the pets and notice there top complaint involving them is that they can’t ride in any of the vehicles. Hopefully one of the DLCs will be pet focused and that’ll be the latest time that feature will be implemented.