Sometime in the early days of Demon's Souls PS5's development, little rubber ducks were scattered everywhere and a giant rubber duck loomed ominously over the world. Though Bluepoint technical artist Collin Harris clarified to me that no rubber ducks exist in the finished version of Demon's Souls, the little guys played a considerable role in developing destruction and effects systems.
When Harris's friend Alex was interning at Bluepoint, he modeled a cute little rubber duck and added it to the studio's asset library when he had some downtime. For a while, the duck lived a quiet life hidden in a folder somewhere, but eventually Harris uncovered its true potential as a test dummy for Demon's Souls effects development.
"It just so happened to be the perfect model to test with due to its size and shape," Harris told me in an email exchange. "It didn't hurt that it was also a funny juxtaposition to see a bright yellow rubber duck sitting in an incredibly detailed dark fantasy environment."
during demon's souls' development, we used a rubber duck to test various tech / fx with. obviously, things quickly got out of hand. #demonssouls #gameart #gamedev pic.twitter.com/4Kg4JDtr80December 2, 2020
As things always do when they involve rogue ducks in medieval fantasy worlds, the situation eventually took a dark turn. The duck multiplied at an uncontrollable rate and even mutated into a massive man-eating duck with razor teeth, so the developers had to delete it.
In actuality, Harris says they deleted the duck because they were worried it would slip into the finished product and potentially jeopardize professional relationships. "We used it for a bit as a placeholder mesh, but eventually it got to the point where there was a good amount of concern (for good reason) that due to the duck's internal popularity, that it would somehow find its way into the final game.
"So instead of taking the risk of potentially damaging our reputation with Sony, we chose the nuclear option. It was fun while it lasted, and will forever live on as one of my favorite game dev memories."
Though Harris twice assured me that there are no ducks anywhere in Demon's Souls PS5, the Demon's Souls duck lives on. To preserve the meme, Harris 3D-printed a bunch of little ducks and gave them to various Bluepoint employees as a gift. Harris's office is also littered with real-life rubber ducks which were given to him by over the course of Demon's Souls' development.
So there you have it - the story of one little rubber duck army's short-lived but treacherous reign in Demon's Souls.