Demon’s Souls Was Filled With Rubber Duckies During Development

Demon’s Souls Was Filled With Rubber Duckies During Development
Photo: Marcus Brandt, Getty Images

Just like the PlayStation 3 original, the Demon’s Souls remake on PlayStation 5 is a moody, atmospheric game with very little in the way of brightness or joy. But that wasn’t always the case.

The staff at Bluepoint Games frequently made use of a rubber ducky model to evaluate aspects of the Demon’s Souls engine during development, according to technical artist Collin Harris.

“We used a rubber duck to test various tech and effects with,” Harris wrote on Twitter yesterday alongside a video showing several of the toy animals strewn across a test environment before a giant duck head peeks through the background fog. “Obviously, things quickly got out of hand.”

Speaking to GamesRadar, Harris said that there ended up being so many rubber duckies in Demon’s Souls that they chose the “nuclear option” of deleting the model from the game entirely rather than accidentally leaving one behind for players to find.

“I can assure you that I personally removed any and all instances of duck-based placeholder content,” Harris added on Twitter.

That’s not to say there isn’t some leftover silliness still lurking in the shadows. Observant players have noticed several bulbous-eyed goat heads hidden in the Demon’s Souls credits, perhaps as an homage to a similar Easter egg in Bluepoint’s remake of Shadow of the Colossus. I guess rubber duckies were just too obvious a gag to keep in the game, but at least the devs got a kick out of it.

“It was fun while it lasted, and will forever live on as one of my favourite game dev memories,” Harris told GamesRadar.

Comments

  • For folks not involved in software development, the rubber duck has an additional well-known and time-honoured role in programming.

    When you’re encountering problems with your code, a popular technique known as ‘rubber duck debugging‘ is to have a rubber duck next to you, who you explain your code to. Line by line, you go through the code, explaining to your duck the purpose of each line and how it works. In this process, you’ll usually identify when you’ve got code that doesn’t suit its purpose or isn’t where it should be.

    I expect using rubber duckies to identify object behaviour is a reference to this common practice.

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