Speaking with IGN, Bethesda’s Todd Howard discussed how now in Fallout 4, the companions will now be immortal. This makes me, as well as many others, extremely happy considering that so far one of the main companions is a German Shepard. This German Shepard has been seen in basically all of the demos and videos for Fallout 4 so far.
Howard said that “(The dog) does not die, because we realize that’s an automatic re-load. We like to make the game where the only scenario where you re-load is your own death. So, like a lot of open world games, they’ll have it where ‘you failed this mission, go ahead and press “A” to redo it.’ We don’t ever want to do that. So, we’ve got to handle all failstates and some of those we have to do like, ‘Okay, the dog can’t die, because you’re just going to reload.'” I’m happy they took this into consideration, because I know I would mass that reload button to save the pooch.
Howard also explained that having companions along at all is entirely up to the player. He said that “like everything else, it’s entirely optional. So, you can have a companion with you and it can be the dog, it could be other characters we haven’t shown yet. Or, you could have no companion.”
He didn’t comment on much else, but did mention that the development team was “being a bit more specific about their role” so we should get more information about them soon. Some might say this choice gets rid of realism in a certain sense, but for what the company wanted to accomplish the choice was the correct one.