Riley the Dog Debuts in Call of Duty: Ghosts

The star of the latest edition of the popular Call of Duty video game isn’t your typical soldier — it’s a four-legged one.

Meet Riley, who’s making waves as a hero in Call of Duty: Ghosts. The game is just being released today, but Riley, a playable military attack dog, already has quite a following thanks to trailers from the game.

For the uninitiated, Call of Duty is a military video game franchise where you usually play as a first or third person shooter. Call of Duty: Ghosts is the 10th installment of the game, which has traditionally been released around Veterans Day.

Players can control Riley’s movements at certain points in the game. They can give him orders, such as creating distractions or attacking enemies.

The developers at Infinity Ward told the Associated Press that they met with a retired Navy SEAL and his former military service dog to learn about how they worked together, and then cast Ruger the German Shepherd and Rico the Belgian Malinois, whose movements they captured to be used in the game.

“In this environment, we didn’t have trees or grass,” said Ruger’s trainer, Chris Connell, of working in the studio. “It was like, ‘OK, Ruger. Pretend we’re in a desert area and act accordingly.’ Ruger is like, ‘Dude, this is a studio with mats like people do exercises on at the gym, and there’s white lines on the ground.’ Just trying to get him to act as if it was a real environment was the hardest thing.”

The movements of both dogs are used to portray Riley, who’s also wearing a camera on his back to give his perspective in the game.

Despite Riley’s aggressive nature, players like having him around and are already protective of him. And they’re not the only ones.

“The emotional investment for people here was just as strong as what you’re seeing out in the public,” said Mark Rubin, the game’s executive producer.

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