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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

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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.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful

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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

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I enjoyed this book.

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

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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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

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Amazing story and fantastic performance.

A thrilling ride though the development process of several video game studios with their triumphs, heartbreaks, and an inside look at the culture of a booming industry!

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Interesting stories, glad this was written.

Interesting stories, glad this was written. can't wait for the next book to come out.

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loved it

A good look into how crazy and insane game development is and might forever be.

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Informative & Interesting!

Really enjoyed listening to this. I had no idea what game developers went through. It was even better hearing it from Ray Chase, one of my favorite narrators.

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Good book narrator problems.

The level of detail from the interviews is amazing. learning about the dev cycle from different prospectives was uber enjoyable. However the narrator's voice would randomly change during parts of the book and it was not so much enjoyable.

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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!

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • Seán Redmond
  • 05-16-18

Extremely interesting to hear inside info on games

it was extremely interesting to hear all the inside backgrounds of the video games development.

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  • Alex Gerard Black
  • 05-15-18

Insightful, intriguing and eye-opening

By far the best book I've ever read about the games industry, bar none. Remarkable. Offers an incredible unique perspective on the stories behind some of the biggest games of the last few years, can't wait to see what this author does next. Narrator is excellent and fits this book perfectly.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-09-18

GG no Re

Going into indie game development this really appealed and being recounted dramatic stories behind the scenes on games I've played to death and adored this book really opened up the realities developers are faced with. my only negative being the formulaic twists by nature of the industry to each story. Overall great book and I recommend to anyone even interested in gaming.

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  • Mark
  • 04-20-18

Surprisingly not mundane

I'm a hobby game designer, and I expected the book to be written for my niche. instead, the author somehow managed to capture the humanity of the diffucult process of game development. There were some parts where I was on the verge of emotional. Great book!

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.