Regular price: $25.09

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
  • Get access to the Member Daily Deal
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Developing video games - hero's journey or fool's errand? The creative and technical logistics that go into building today's hottest games can be more harrowing and complex than the games themselves, often seeming like an endless maze or a bottomless abyss. In Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, Jason Schreier takes listeners on a fascinating odyssey behind the scenes of video game development, where the creator may be a team of 600 overworked underdogs or a solitary geek genius. Exploring the artistic challenges, technical impossibilities, marketplace demands, and Donkey Kong-size monkey wrenches thrown into the works by corporate, Blood, Sweat, and Pixels reveals how bringing any game to completion is more than Sisyphean - it's nothing short of miraculous.

Taking some of the most popular, best-selling recent games, Schreier immerses listeners in the hellfire of the development process, whether it's RPG studio Bioware's challenge to beat an impossible schedule and overcome countless technical nightmares to build Dragon Age: Inquisition; indie developer Eric Barone's single-handed efforts to grow country-life RPG Stardew Valley from one man's vision into a multimillion-dollar franchise; or Bungie spinning out from their corporate overlords at Microsoft to create Destiny, a brand-new universe that they hoped would become as iconic as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings - even as it nearly ripped their studio apart.

Documenting the round-the-clock crunches, buggy-eyed burnout, and last-minute saves, Blood, Sweat, and Pixels is a journey through development hell - and ultimately a tribute to the dedicated diehards and unsung heroes who scale mountains of obstacles in their quests to create the best games imaginable.

©2017 Jason Schreier (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,486
  • 4 Stars
    418
  • 3 Stars
    71
  • 2 Stars
    9
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,426
  • 4 Stars
    329
  • 3 Stars
    62
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,357
  • 4 Stars
    358
  • 3 Stars
    91
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Behind the Scenes

The stories in this book are:

1. Pillars of Eternity: How crowdfunding changes the rules, and changes the priorities of the developer who promised backers certain gameplay features, against deadlines and a limited budget. This story provides a better understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of crowdfunding.
2. Uncharted 4: How too much success affects a studio, and how to successfully end a successful series. It is also the story of The Last of Us, which nobody expected to be successful early on. I enjoyed all the possibilities of how different this game could have been.
3. Stardew Valley: The great risks and heartwarming payoff of going solo. The ending made me want to play this game.
4. Diablo 3: The troubles of online-only games, and the angst and pressures of racing against time to meet player expectations. In the end, it is a success story that had a lot of challenges and frustrations along the way.
5. Halo Wars: How games are transformed in the middle of development, and the pressures of working against a deadline. The Age of Empires developers are behind Halo Wars. Who knew?
6. Dragon Age: Inquisition: How EA corporate politics and poor can slow down game development and creates a large degree of developer frustration. After reading this, I have a better understanding of why EA is a blight on video games.
7. Shovel Knight: The quest to create an iconic character inspired by classic NES games and characters. It provides an insider look into an indie game team and the challenges they face.
8. Destiny: The challenges of combining multiple genres and trying to create something that's never been done before, and how past successes tend to dictate what the next success would look like. It is also the story of how a developer matures.
9. The Witcher 3: The reason for the volume and quality of content is revealed, in one of the most fascinating and enjoyable chapters of this audiobook.
10. Star Wars 1313: How a game that can do no wrong ends up being buried due to corporate politics. Delayed because of Disney and canceled outright by EA, this is the game that makes you wonder, what if? Also, f*ck EA.

35 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Ray Chase is great!

I'm glad I purchased the audio version of this book because listening to Ray Chase was a delight. Having a voice actor of video games narrate a book on video games was a solid choice.

Overall, the book was a nice slice of various company's descent into and occasionally ascent from the madness of producing video games. The anecdotes are both humbling and harrowing and are sure to make game fans think twice when they criticize a game. As noted, with all the moving parts and preferences, it's miracle any game gets made.

Worth the read, or preferably, the listen, if you are a fan of or just curious about video games and their production.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great inside look into the gaming industry

What did you love best about Blood, Sweat, and Pixels?

As someone who has played video games since their childhood, and flirted with the prospect of maybe one day making video games, Blood, Sweat, and Pixels is a fantastic look inside a variety of studios as they worked through development of their titles. I loved that the author interviewed developers from different grades of studios; from the one-man indie developer all the way to AAA game studios. It offers a great answer to why video games cost so much money, and why they take so long to make. I would offer this up to anyone that wants to get into the industry, on any level.

What did you like best about this story?

My favorite segment/chapter was probably the one on Star Wars 1313 as it told the story of how that game came to be, and why it disappeared. It was heart wrenching, but also somewhat inevitable with how Lucas Arts was run once upon a time.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listened to this book while doing my weekly running, and always found myself wanting to continue listening, which pushed me to run just a little bit more.

Any additional comments?

My only negative, and it is a good negative to have I guess, is that I wish there were more chapters. It was amazing to hear how the different studios approached their problems, and how some of them made the same mistakes as others did (i.e. Destiny and Diablo 3). I just wanted more in the end.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book.

It's required that I use at least fifteen words to say I liked this book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read, truly.

If you love video games, this should be the first book you read about them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great look at an industry stuck in a cycle

overall the book is a great look at the making of some great video games, as well as some great failures.

I couldn't help but notice, however, that even as the author spoke about the unhealthy practices of video game labor management it was almost romanticized to a degree, like video game developers needed to be these pioneer souls that are willing to sacrifice their health and even family to make a game-- rather than what is true, which is that it's an industry rife with labor exploitation.

I'm less speaking on the indie devs who chose to use their time for their passions and more the multiple triple a studios that rely on insane expectations as a matter of course. The scientific literature isn't sparse on the subject of labor, rest, efficiency, and productivity and those mentioned in the book that couldn't see how a game gets done without months of crunch are simply stuck in a cultural spiral. Ignoring rote science in favor of anecdotal "experience" is sadly the norm in a lot of big industries, and those with the checkbook are happy to support this culture of exploitation.

Regardless, it is a very good book with inspiring stories describing passionate people. I just hope industry insiders who read it begin to realize that major changes need to happen within the industry to stop incredibly unhealthy practices and incredibly damaging exploitation.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

An eye opener regarding the medium

A window to one of the best known and less understood medium. From a practical view

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

You want to work in gaming :)

Thoroughly enjoyable and page-turning read that paints an honest and at times horrifying picture of the world of video game development.

The author details real-life stories and experiences from multiple games and various game studios, with the same names occasionally popping up in multiple stories. The attributable quotes and stories definitely add substantial authenticity to the book.

The book not only highlights the passion and love that many in gaming have, but for me, the true highlight is the amazing dedication that those workers have - it’s both inspirational and crazy, on occasions to their own detriment.

I’d consider this a must-read for anyone working in the video games industry or anyone who considers them a gamer.

I finished this book with a plethora of games I now want to play, several of them new to me.

ggwp to the author, great writing and superb book.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must listen

I’m not a gamer but I still enjoyed this very much. It’s crazy how gaming industry works and it’s def not sustainable.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic behind the scenes stories well read

This is an interesting look at the struggles people go through to make the entertainment millions of people play every day.

The author is a well known videogame journalist (I use that word in the old school way not the blog/YouTube way) who an interesting and insightful writing style and that combined with excellent narration really makes you feel like you're there.

If you like this book I really recommend following Jason on twitter for more interesting articles.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • XopsX
  • 08-01-18

an accurate picture of how games are made

No game is simple to make. these 10 stories showcase some of the ups and downs of videogame development and how familiar they all start to sound. I have a feeling this book will mostly appeal to game developers like myself who have a ton of similar experiences to reference. For anyone outside the industry it may be harder to get into or comprehend why we do it. I think this book does an accurate job at capturing that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • O Clegg
  • 07-26-18

Great insight into the behind the scenes of gaming

Loved it! As a gamer you never really understand the politics and drama going on in the background within a gaming studio. Good listen would definitely recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ali
  • 12-04-18

Fantastic book!

If you have ever been in the games industry or the software development world in general you will be able to relate to the stories in this book. It helps the reader appreciate just how much work goes in to developing video games and how much of a sacrifice it can be for the developers.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rich
  • 12-01-18

Totally fascinating and didn’t want it to end

Absolutely loved this audiobook. It offered a real interesting insight into what happens behind the scenes at some household name game developers and the issues they faced to get to their games to the shelves. Also some great underdog success stories. Any video game fan would enjoy this. Bring on Blood, sweat and Pixels 2!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • N A
  • 11-16-18

modern game development

a big focus on role-playing games, showing how games can end up in development hell. mainly outside forces which influence games such as the lucas arts example. first choice Lucas messing with the plot and character and then Lucas art being bought by Disney. but usually it is just a lack of actual focus on what the game will be. it seems like developers say ok let's make a game like unity but in the Star wars world. there isn't a clear idea of how the game will end up so when they realise they need to make changes a lot of the previous work gets thrown out. also having the right tools to develop their games seems very important such as the example of bungie. maybe would have like to see a little bit more of the personalities show through of the people developing the games. the most gripping examples were those with specific people who were described like the guy who did Star dew valley. that was the most gripping story of all.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • MR N H O'BRIEN
  • 11-12-18

Any gamer would find this fascinating

Great book, excellently read.

I really enjoyed how each chapter followed a particular game, including top AAA games that most gamers will have played through.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. S. Hindmarsh
  • 09-28-18

Not enough technical detail for my liking<br />

Not enough technical detail for my liking but enjoyed it too. Narration is a bit forced at times.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ryan SMee
  • 06-21-18

Amazing!

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’m super interested in these sorts of books but more often than not they are a little boring to listen too or the pacing is all wrong, this was neither.
By breaking each game dev cycle into a single chapter, the stories stayed gripping and never dragged. Definite 5 star listen!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Harry
  • 06-08-18

A Must Have for Game Developers

For those wanting to start in the video game history, and even for veterans, I cannot recommend this book enough

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pete M
  • 05-30-18

Real Eye Opener

Great book that really open your eyes to the untalked about side of game development. If you're a gamer, give this a listen.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • 09-09-18

Amazing insight into the world of game dev

Started to choke up a little bit right near the end there. Heart touching and inspiring

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 01-25-18

Fascinating Throughout

Was hoping there'd be more small scale stories but a worthwhile listen regardless. Narration was appropriate and competent.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Paul Stewart
  • 10-28-17

Insightful

An insightful, clear and well-paced book. It puts a human face on game development. Having enjoyed Schreier's work on Kotaku, I had a feeling it would be solid, but it was better than expected The attention to detail was particularly pleasing.