Mike Labossiere ponders whether we should be kind to virtual beings by way of Kant and Fallout 3:

If Kant’s argument has some merit, then the key concern about how non-rational beings are treated is how such treatment affects the behavior of the person engaging in said behavior. So, for example, if being cruel to a real dog could damage a person’s humanity, then he should (as Kant sees it) not be cruel to the dog. This should also extend to virtual beings.

It never occurred to me to leave Dogmeat safe at home, though I would immediately reload to a saved game whenever he was killed.

So maybe I’m not all bad.