A dog’s life is only as easy as the place it calls home allows. Get a comfy house with a loving owner and all is good with the world, but life on the streets is considerably harder. There’s a phenomenon in Russia where dogs have learned to ride the subways, getting off at specific stops as part of their daily routine. They’ve even learned how to startle people into dropping food, barking at them from behind to score a free meal. While this is a truly fascinating development in terms of learned behavior and adaptation, it’s also just about as perfect a setup for an arcade game as anyone could hope for. Russian Subway Dogs sets you in the paws of a scrappy little guy prowling the stations looking for food, holding off hunger as long as possible while other dogs, pigeons, and even the occasional elk and bear get in the way. The scavengers will happily snap up any food you miss, while the bigger creatures are dangerous, but subway riders carry vodka as well as food and a bottle of exploding Russian hooch can solve any number of problems. The main dog is joined by other friends you can play as including The Prolecaricat plus guest-stars from other games and comics including the This is Fine dog, Nacho and Rad Shiba from Va-11 Hall-A, and more being added. If any game can bring Enix’s Turbo out of retirement, it’s this one.
Russian Subway Dogs started out as a game-jam game way back in 2012, but turned out good enough to be worth expanding into something much bigger. After a failed Kickstarter last year things didn’t look particularly great, but a grant from the Ontario Media Development Corporation helped significantly while bloody-minded determination filled in the rest. That work is paying off nicely with a game that’s come a long way since then, complete with multiple PAX showings plus a Gamescom appearance, and now it’s also migrating from its former PC-only status to showing up on PS4 and Vita. Check out the trailer below for the official announcement, and a quick look at all the ways a dog can keep busy and fed in the underground stations of Moscow.