Speaking to videogaming247 at a Fallout 3 demo in London this morning, Bethesda marketing head Peter Hines has confirmed the unthinkable: if you don't look after Dogmeat the dog, don't go crying to mother when he doesn't come back for bath time.
What happens if he dies?
"Dead," said Hines.
Is there another dog?
"Nope. One dog. Be careful."
Dogmeat can be sent to find ammo, food, stimpacks, and so on, but if you don't think about what you're doing with him he's not going to last very long, from the sound of it.
"So obviously you have to be careful about where you send him foraging for stuff," said Hines. "If you're attacking a Raider camp, or something, and you're running low on ammo and you say, 'Go find me ammo,' and he goes running through a bunch of Raiders, they can shoot and kill him while he tries to do what you told him. So you've got to be smart about where you send him off."
Luckily, our canine friend isn't necessary to the plot.
"It's an homage to the original game to have a memorable dog that you can have with you, and it's a way to give you a companion."
Fallout 3 looks amazing, whether your dog's dead or not. It's coming out for PC, PS3 and 360 this autumn. We'll have fuller impressions of this morning's demo in due course.