Now that Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown has released into the wild, people are finding its quirks. One of the earliest parts of the game that has since become a meme is the strange, 2D image of a fluffy dog inserted into one of the game's meticulously rendered 3D cutscenes. Of course, the internet being the internet, this flat hero captured the hearts of many players and catapulted it into meme status as "JPEG Dog".
The jarring image of the adorable pooch raised many questions. How could such a detailed game have made such a seemingly bizarre addition? What series of decisions had to be made to get this dog into a game about aerial combat and international political situations?
It turns out that JPEG Dog actually has a tragic and touching backstory. Kazutoki Kono, Bandai Namco's brand director on Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown, took to Twitter yesterday to clarify why the curious canine seemed so out of place. Translated by writer and translator James Galizio, the message reads:
So, I have a bit of depressing news to share.
It's about our now famous, loyal, canine companion.
I heard from the rest of the staff that he had passed away shortly after the photo was taken.
We are truly blessed to have known you.
May you rest in peace.
While it's sad that the precious pupper is no longer with us, the tribute to the dog included in Ace Combat 7 has spread a lot of joy with the memes it spawned. Enjoy them, get some good laughs, and never forget our precious JPEG Dog. RIP JPEG Dog.
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