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Ubisoft explains what all those rubber duckies are doing in The Division 2

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Have you ever noticed that The Division 2 (opens in new tab) has an unusual number of rubber duckies lying around? Have you ever wondered why? During the preshow leading into today's Ubisoft Forward online event, level artist Karen Stanley explained where the whole rubber duckie thing comes from, what it means, and what the developers are planning next.

"There's a thing in programming, especially, where you talk to a rubber duck, and it's a way to solve your problems. If you talk to a rubber duck and you just say things out loud, it helps," she explains at the start of the video. "One of our artists decided to take this to another level. He used the rubber duck, scaled up to like a ginormous scale, and put it in a level just to remind him to do something."

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(Image credit: Ubisoft)

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The other developers apparently developed a fondness for the gigantic duck, and so began stashing little memorials to it throughout the game world. And as sometimes happens with these things, it took on a life of its own. Ubisoft started using them as an environmental storytelling device, and they eventually began to be seen as a symbol of hope: The world is a mess and it's up to you and your fellow agents to save it, and the duck is a reminder that "there's something there to save."

Stanley said she's not sure exactly how many rubber duckies are in The Division 2, but she knows they haven't all been found yet. She also revealed that developers have dropped another Easter egg into the game: Tommy the Teddy Bear, a trauma teddy that appears in The Division lore (and is available for purchase as game-related merchandise (opens in new tab)) but that's never actually been in the game. Tommys were added as part of a challenge for The Division 2 Episode 3, and unlike the duckies, they were all discovered very quickly.

And now, this.

Andy Chalk
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.