A boy dances around holding a baguette on the streets of Paris in a BioShock Infinite: Burial At Sea Part 2 screenshot.

A boy dancing across the streets of Paris waving a baguette over his head in BioShock Infinite holds a shocking quantity of secrets and techniques and tales. Over the weekend, the previous Irrational developer who positioned the meme-ified Baguette Boy in Binfinite’s Burial At Sea enlargement defined why he is there. It’s an fascinating story about how bizarre sport growth it’s, how bizarre video games themselves are as technical objects, and about creativity inside technical constraints.

Like a variety of good tales on the Internet, it began with razzing:

random sensory flashback to the Bioshock Infinite DLC the place they wished to speak to the participant “you are in Paris, France” so that they put a little bit child within the sport dancing round on the street whereas holding a baguette over his head

— Pocklecool (@instant_grat) February 4, 2022

With this tweet blowing up, somebody tagged in Gwen Frey, who was behind Baguette Boy when she labored at Irrational. She went on to clarify the start of bread-bearing boogieboy in a Twitter thread.

Frey defined that a part of her work on Binfinite and its DLC was putting all of the background characters. Because each character comes at a efficiency price, many of those have been “chumps” with out AI, with out the power to pathfind round, simply our bodies looping animations with a couple of prospers like voice traces.

Wanting so as to add extra movement to the scene however not having the efficiency leeway for one more AI strolling round, she “figured a chump running in a circle around that cylinder could work since I could just expand the collision of it to prevent the player from running through them.” She stumble on the concept to re-use an NPC animation from the scene the place NPCs dance round Elizabeth in Battleship Bay, utilizing children as a result of “a couple randomly dancing seemed dumb.”

But, she explains, “the kids had different proportions than the adults, so the kids’ feet were clipping through the ground and their hands were going through each other,” she mentioned. And attempting to make use of inverse kinematics to make their arms attain the identical positions because the adults made them increase their palms approach up excessive. A easy resolution:

“So I deleted the boy’s dancing partner and attached a baguette to his hands. Bam! Boy dances with baguette! Ship it!

“I figured if anybody requested I’d simply say “bread is great right?!” I did not suppose something of it on the time, however this boy is essentially the most viral factor I’ve ever made.”

Video games are magic held together with sticky tape and hope. I didn’t remember even seeing Baguette Boy myself but apparently he’s striking enough to have been cosplayed:

the baguettes fall apart in my hands every time i wear him

— nat (@bird__king) February 5, 2022

These chumps are also the behind the name of Frey’s own studio, Chump Squad, where she’s made Kine and Lab Rat. That’s another good story.

Elsewhere in the thread, she explains that during development, Irrational Games restructured the team to be organised into multidisciplinary “Squads” each focused on a particular aspect of the game, each with a Squad leader. So the Liz Squad, for example, had a programmer, writer, designer, and so on who handled everything to do with superpowered sidekick Elizabeth.

Frey handled chumps all by herself so she was Squadless, until the company wanted to “reward” a writer for his good work by making him a Squad leader. The unnamed writer was told he’d become leader of a newly formed Chump Squad, Frey said, and would take over the chump work she’d been doing. You know, rather than the writing he’d been doing, and was ostensibly being rewarded for.

Instruments rolling round a calendar in a Kine screenshot.
Chatty instruments in Kine.

“The author freaked out,” Frey said. “He wished to write down, not do that stuff! Also, everybody knew that I did these things!” So after he protested, Frey thought she would become Chump Squad lead. Alas, it wasn’t to be, and rather than give Frey a Chump Squad of her own, they created a new title for single-person roles and declared her Chump Czar. This would be Irrational’s only Czar.

“Years later I based an organization as a solo dev, and I thought of calling it ‘Chump Czar’… however I do not need to be solo! I need to have a staff some day, ya know?” she concluded.

“So I created ‘Chump Squad.’ I figured I did not get my squad in AAA so I’d make it myself.”

Given a few of the behind-the-scenes tales which have trickled out of Irrational over time, typically it is shocking the studio held collectively so long as it did. Trying to reward a author by selling them to a completely completely different function they do not need to do, and downplaying the one that had been doing that work, is wonderful. A current report by Bloomberg claimed that troubles proceed at Irrational head Ken Levine’s new studio, Ghost Story Games.

In 2019, Take-Two introduced a brand new BioShock being made by one other studio, Cloud Chamber. Alice Bee will inform you BioShock 4 ought to allow you to hearth an albatross out of your hand.