Epic Games added pets to Fortnite Battle Royale this past September, as part of the game’s sixth season. Pets are a variant of back bling; animals like a dog, dragon, or chameleon can sit in your character’s backpack and chill. There really wasn’t much interaction with them, just cute animation and virtual companionship. That changes today with Fortnite patch 8.40, which contains a crucial line item:
You can now pet the dog... and other Pets!
In practice, however, the “pet” animation is more of a crude swipe or slap, not the kind of gentle rubdown or playful rustle a good dog deserves. Here it is in action:
You can now pet other people's pets as of v8.40. pic.twitter.com/z2Xm1Ut1hm— Ben Walker (@bnwkr) April 17, 2019
Here’s another angle, this time from the Twitter account Can You Pet the Dog?, which is enacting real change in the dog-petting video game culture:
New: Following an update, you can now pet the dog in Fortnite pic.twitter.com/U1nkfHIHSr— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) April 17, 2019
Petting dogs and other creatures less deserving of such affection is widely becoming expected in video games, and when games don’t include the option, they are rightly called out by accounts like Can You Pet the Dog? Some games, after being called out by the account, are adding dog-petting in patches. Enter the Gungeon developer Dodge Roll Games recently updated that game to add dog petting as a feature, even after the game’s supposed “final” update.
In fact, Epic’s update to Fortnite also appears to be in response to Can You Pet the Dog? bringing attention to the issue recently.
You cannot pet the dog in Fortnite pic.twitter.com/g49V1pySFs— Can You Pet the Dog? (@CanYouPetTheDog) April 3, 2019
Hopefully, this is simply the first phase of Epic’s plan to incorporate dog and reptile petting to Fortnite. While the dog-petting animation meets the base requirement of pet interaction, the feature needs to properly expand to include variations, including belly rubs, nuzzles, head pats, and other character animations that would never be cause for litigation.