YEAR OF THE DOG is a slice-of-life game / dog ownership simulator about living with a Shiba Inu in San Francisco.
You are placed in the role of a reluctant rookie dog owner, tasked with taking care of a Shiba while his real owner (your partner) is abroad for a year. Each chapter of the game recounts a snapshot from a month of that year, as your bond with the dog grows as you learn how and what it means to care for another living being.
- 12 game vignettes about dog ownership: Meet a furry friend, learn how to take care of him, and learn something about yourself
- Camera mode and photo album to capture and store all your memories
- Explore recreations of sections of San Francisco's Outer Richmond district with your pal: locales like Sutro Baths, Land's End, and more
- Befriend and help out the neighborhood's resident characters: other dogs, other dog owners, and the local weirdos
- Collect dog toys and treats to reward your pup and build your bond
- Play, pet and groom: You'll need to learn and master all the skills necessary to keep this pup comfortable and happy
- Learn what it's like to own one of these bratdogs - those interested in getting a Shiba may consider this game's contents as a warning
When is the game coming out?
What platforms will it be on?
PC / Mac / Linux, for now.
Can you give a bit more of an idea of the gameplay and story?
The core of the gameplay is performing everyday tasks of dog ownership (training, walking, picking up after, grooming, and more) while advancing each chapter’s story and exploring the neighborhood / place you’re in with your pal at your side. That may mean exploring local landmarks, or hanging out with and helping out your neighbors, all while you tend to a dog's typical whims and needs. The dog won't always make this easy for you though, at least until you've earned his trust and respect.
Each chapter is a snippet of the life of the player and dog, capturing everyday moments that are sort of boring but also poignant and quirky: stuff like your first walk in the rain together, the anxiety of an unexpected trip to the vet, or the peace of wandering through the local park with your little pal. The framing narrative that bookends each chapter is about how you become a better dog owner, but also about how your relationship with your dog changes you as a person and helps resolve some serious personal conflicts you have in your life.
That's a lot of words. Can you just sum it up in a [the game is like these other games] style blurb?
I'd say it's like Lieve Oma meets Nintendogs meets Animal Crossing.
The most direct influence, though, is the sort of "everyday life game" template of the Boku no Natsuyasumi series (folks might be more familiar with its cousin Attack of the Friday Monsters, which was actually released in the West).
Will there be other dogs? Will there be [insert my favorite breed]?
The Shiba is the focus of the story and there's no option to change him to another breed. There will be other dog breeds in the game that you encounter (NPDs: non-playable dogs), and I might solicit suggestions at some point for those :)
Do you have Shiba? Should I get Shiba?
Yes, his name is Kiba and he's a weird one. Most of the game is based on my real life experiences with him. In a sense, the game is a memoir of my life as a subject of this cruel and spiteful dog-king.
Only get a Shiba if you want a dog that ignores you and has no heart. Or if you actually want a cat and not a dog. Mostly kidding - they are great companions, but require a lot of time, patience and discipline. They are the Dark Souls of dogs.