The internet has discussed Alice the dog’s controversial role in The Last of Us: Part 2, but the bigger question is: What kind of breed is she?
A lot of online discourse about The Last of Us Part 2 has centered on its dogs, especially Alice. Her friendly nature and meaningful integration into The Last of Us 2‘s main story have made Alice the subject of many posts about dogs in video games. But what kind of dog is she?
Alice is a patrol dog in post-apocalyptic Washington. Her handler is Mel, a member of the Washington Liberation Front who trained her to keep the surviving denizens of the Seattle area safe from the cultish Seraphites, as well as the iconic, zombie-like Infected. In this role, Alice saves the life of Abby, the direct antagonist to Ellie. In keeping with The Last of Us 2’s complex and upsetting themes, Alice’s loyalty and bravery are celebrated by those she loves, but they also make her very dangerous to her enemies.
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All of the characters in The Last of Us 2 are animated using advanced motion capture techniques. This method even extends to the dogs. Developer Naughty Dog cast at least five canine actors to portray the various dogs in its game world. Lead Animator Jeremy Yates shared on Twitter that a new motion matching animation system allowed developers to capture each dog’s individuality better than ever. This unique personality is part of what makes Alice such a lovable character.
Motion Capture Makes Every Dog In The Last of Us 2 Unique
Yates’ tweet explains Alice was played in cutscenes by a canine actor named Roach, who appears to be a Belgian Malinois, according to The Last of Us Wiki. This medium-sized breed is known for its short brown fur and black face, which makes it look like a smaller German Shepherd (though the Neil Druckmann tweet the wiki sites as Roach shows a dog with longer hair, so it may actually be a Tervuren). As active, hard workers, Malinois are used by the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies, so it’s no surprise that Alice would be used as a patrol dog.
The case is not quite closed, however. Judging by certain features, like her slightly shaggy and irregularly colored fur, it seems unlikely that Alice is purebred, and she was likely never meant to look just like Roach. In fact, according to the wiki, Roach is a male dog. It seems unlikely, therefore, that The Last of Us fans can definitively determine what type of dog Alice is based on Roach’s breed.
Altogether, Alice has a lot traits which line up well with her purebred actor’s. But given her longer, less uniformly patterned fur, it’s safe to say Alice is likely a mixed breed. Regardless of The Last of Us 2 developer Naughty Dog’s intended breed for its breakout dog star, Alice is imbued with the hardworking spirit of a very special Belgian Malinois.
Next: The Last of Us Part 2 Lessons Other Games Should Learn
Header Image: TheLastOfUsBR/Twitter
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