First look: Dog's Life

SCEE releases the first information on this dog simulation game from UK-based Frontier Developments. First screens inside.

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Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has announced that it will release Dog's Life for the PlayStation 2 in Europe in September. The game, which is being developed by Frontier Developments under the direction of David Braben, will see players assuming the role of a mischievous young dog named Jake who finds himself embroiled in a nefarious dog-napping plot.

"As we expand the PlayStation 2 user base, it is important that we encourage developers to branch out and create innovative titles that appeal to a broader audience," said Chris Deering, president, SCEE. "The addition of games such as Dog's Life to the PlayStation 2 software catalog reinforces our commitment to deliver unique and fresh content that is fun for the entire family."

The game's storyline will see Jake journeying across the US in search of his best friend Daisy, taking in around 18 different locations, including a bustling metropolis, scenic ski resorts, and Jake's home in the sleepy Midwest countryside. Players will occasionally be given tasks to complete by the non-player characters they encounter, but nonlinear exploration will be encouraged, as will experimenting with Jake's numerous dog abilities. According to today's press release, Jake will be able to do just about anything that a real dog can, including digging, chasing, fetching, herding, swimming, begging, and even marking his territory. Players will have to concern themselves with keeping Jake healthy, though, since eating scraps from trash bins slows Jake down, and poor grooming makes it more difficult for him to enlist the help of humans.

Dog's Life will be played from a third-person view for the most part, but the game will also feature a first-person "smellovision" mode in which odors stand out as bright colors in a sepia-toned environment. By collecting scents, players will gain access to a number of minigames, including races, rat catching, sheep herding, and territory marking. In some situations, Jake will be able to have other dogs complete tasks for him, and on these occasions players will get to assume control one of the 20 or so dog breeds that appear in the game.

Dog's Life is currently scheduled for release in Europe in September. No North American release has been confirmed, but we'll bring you more information on the game as soon as it becomes available.

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