Dev tales

'Bioshock Infinite' designer finally explains Bread Boy lore and it's amazing

Some of us just really like bread, okay?

A screengrab from BioShock Infinite
2K Games

Cast your mind back to the halcyon days of 2013: GTA V was the biggest game in the world, Assassin's Creed was actually about assassinating people (sort of?), and BioShock was actually a name that people cared a lot about.

As Twitter user @instant_grat reminded us, BioShock Infinite's Burial at Sea DLC included one of the most memorable NPCs in gaming history: the Bread Boy. Well, thanks to that viral tweet, we now know the origins of this young baguette-loving gentleman, and it's honestly pretty funny.

Putting it together — As former Irrational animator Gwen Frey revealed on Twitter, you can chalk up Bread Boy to the usual problems of video game development, especially in the DLC stage: not a lot of time, and not enough resources.

"I was populating the Paris scene with 'chumps' (skeletal meshes of humans with no AI)," she wrote on Twitter. "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…We didn’t have a ton of resources for dlc so I was mostly reusing animations from the base game. I thought the Paris scene was too static & needed more motion, I but couldn’t afford another AI walking around."

Making it work — Frey further states that she wanted to add a character walking in a circle around the cylinder to make it feel more dynamic, but they didn't have that animation from the base Infinite game.

Instead, she decided to use a “dancing in a circle” animation from one of the game's more memorable scenes, but she couldn't get the animation to work with the children's character models. So, instead of a human partner, she decided to give the boy a baguette instead. "I figured if anyone asked I'd just say, 'bread is great, right?'" Frey says.

Bread Boy lives on — While dancing in circles with a baguette might seem strange to you or I, such behavior is obviously very common in Paris. Jokes aside, it's a fun reminder that many of the odd or charming parts of your favorite video games are often the result of talented designers improvising with the scarce resources at their disposal, and there's something very heartening about that.