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Demon's Souls was nearly overrun by rubber duckies

Hidetaka Miyazaki's games are known for their brutal-yet-fair learning curve that harshly punishes the player's every little mistake. But it's not like the folks who design them are devoid of a sense of humor. The recent Demon's Souls PS5 remake from Bluepoint Games, which released to critical acclaim on Nov. 12, apparently used a rubber ducky placeholder asset during the design and testing phase and it quickly went off the rails.

The story comes from current Gearbox and former Bluepoint technical artist Collin Harris, who shared a video of the goof on Twitter. It started when Harris's friend, Alex, who was interning at Bluepoint, created a rubber ducky model in the game's engine in his spare time and left it in the studio's asset folder. Harris discovered the rubber ducky and realized he could use it for testing.

"It just so happened to be the perfect model to test with due to its size and shape," Harris told GamesRadar. "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."

Harris used the rubber duckies as a placeholder mesh to test the game's mechanics, but they became a hit among the Bluepoint staff and the whole office joined in on the fun. Harris 3D printed rubber duckies and gave them out to his coworkers, while his coworkers gave him even more rubber duckies as gifts. But eventually things got out of hand.

In the video, the Slayer of Demons is inside a testing area and rolls through a wooden table, smashing it and sending rubber duckies flying. The video shows what could be described as a "reasonable" amount of rubber duckies. But, worried that a rogue rubber ducky might slip past quality control and wind up in the finished game — and thereby hurt its relationship with Sony — Bluepoint decided to delete the rubber duckies altogether. Harris promised that no rubber duckies exist anywhere in the PS5 remake.

Game developers routinely use funny placeholder assets to lighten the mood, but Bluepoint's concern that it might sabotage its project is somewhat legitimate. Back in 2007, the Windows Vista version of Halo 2 shipped with a picture of a developer's naked behind hidden in the game's code. This caused issues with the game's ESRB rating, and ultimately delayed its release date.

So, if you're Bluepoint, its makes sense not to take chances with your PS5 launch title - even if the duckies would have been fun to see in the final product. A cheerful rubber ducky might be a welcome sight to players who have just been killed by Flamelurker for the 74th time in a row.