How do you convey the fact that a scene is set in Paris? Easy: You put an Eiffel Tower in the background. But what if the players don’t notice it? What if it’s not enough? That’s where you have to get creative. Add a chap on a bicycle, wearing a striped shirt, perhaps. Maybe sprinkle in some croissants falling from the sky, which is what rain looks like in France.
Or, if you’re a developer working on the Bioshock Infinite “Burial At Sea” DLC, just add a little lad triumphantly holding a baguette high in the air, as he dances around a pole covered in Art Nouveau posters while Edith Piaf sings La Vie En Rose in the background. Subtlety be damned!
Sometimes art departments are stretched pretty thin, especially when the game is already out and many of its staff have presumably been shunted onto other projects, so it’s not surprising that corners have to be cut — and this one is, admittedly, a creative workaround that has brought joy to many.
Ex-Irrational developer Gwen Frey claims responsibility for Baguette Boy, in response to this original tweet:
“I placed all the background characters in Bioshock Infinite & the DLCs. It was a large part of my job. Here’s why there is a bread boy:
I was populating the Paris scene with “chumps” (skeletal meshes of humans with no AI). I’d play a looping animation on a person, script some head-tracking or whatever, & request VO lines from the writers to flesh them out.
For [performance] reasons we couldn’t afford to have proper AI pathfinding around, so most of the background characters were “chumps”. And we didn’t have a ton of resources for DLC so I was mostly reusing animations from the base game.”
So, there you have it: Baguette Boy was born out of a need for simple background characters that wouldn’t put too much strain on the consoles or the developers.
In turn, Baguette Boy and all of his “chump” friends actually inspired the name of Frey’s new studio, “Chump Squad”, as she details in a thread to fellow developer and Uncharted co-writer, Josh Scherr:
Suffice it to say that real-world Paris is not actually populated with chumps, although baguettes do occasionally make people happy enough to do a little dance.
Do you remember Baguette Boy? Tell us your fond bread-related memories in the comments.