Kotaku recently conducted an interview with ex-Epic Games employee Cliff Bleszinski. The former design director left the company after 20 years of employment. During the interview, the topic of canine companions came up.
“Gears 1 had a canine helper with you that was cut early in the game. Guess word got out to Activision, … Sometimes you need to ship with the bare minimum of cool and then polish the cut ideas for a sequel, strangely enough.”
Anyone who has been playing video games longer than a few years knows canines are nothing new. I am sure what Cliff meant is he believes Gears of War was an inspiration to games made after it. In the same manner that ID software games like Wolfenstein and Doom were an inspiration to him, and all modern first person shooters.
The first dog I remember in video games is the one in Duck Hunt on the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) console. You used a light gun to shoot at ducks flying around the screen. If you hit the ducks he would retrieve them for you, but if you missed he would laugh at you tauntingly. The more you missed the more he laughed, and the more you wanted to shoot him instead of the ducks. Sadly he was immune to the gun — that damned dog.