Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown landed on consoles and PC last week, promising stunning visuals and enjoyable sky-set skirmishes to all who seek it out (as well as offering the franchise’s first flight into VR). None of us could have guessed, though, that a still image of a dog – one with a sad real-life backstory – would be one of the game’s biggest talking points.
Nonetheless, here we are in a world where perhaps the most screen-grabbed moment from Ace Combat 7 is a segment that sees an unmoving photograph of a dog spliced into an otherwise-fully-animated dialogue scene. It may be an odd sight when you first encounter it, but fans have embraced this static hound and dubbed him “JPEG Dog.”
This moment in the game became a talking point on Twitch and has been deemed meme-worthy, and even Bandai Namco’s social channels took the chance to get involved with the banter…
It was all fun and games until the sad truth behind JPEG Dog came to light. Franchise regular Kazutoki Kono took to Twitter to report that the real-life dog depicted in this image passed away soon after posing for the photo in the game. Here’s Kazutoki Kono’s tweet, as translated by journalist James Galizio:
That’s the sad truth, then, that this dog is no longer with us and didn’t live to see himself in a video game. But what better way for Ace Combat 7 to pay tribute to the dog than by immortalizing him in the game as a still image? The fans of this series will certainly never forget JPEG Dog.