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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

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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.

1 of 1 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.

1 of 1 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.

1 of 1 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.

1 of 1 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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Enjoyable and Enlightening

As a long time gamer and a regular reader of gaming news and industry progression, I have a decent grasp on the world of game development. However, this book provided even deeper insight into the intricacies of how games are made. Well researched and cleverly strung together, the stories provided by Jason Schreier are great for any casual or hardcore gamer who has any interest in the world of game development. Very entertaining listen with a strong narrator.

Also, anyone who likes this book would enjoy Jason Schreier and Kirk Hamilton's great podcast Split Screen on Kotaku that delves into the gaming industry and news every week.

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Enjoyable insights in game companies

This was a great read! I enjoyed all of the stories, though some gamecompanies interested me a little more than others. It's not a book that will teach you things about how to make a game or set up a company. It is a book about the struggles and successes that some of the more prominent studios and indies have gone through.

It's well written and very clearly narrated (by a voice actor for games of course).

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love games? you'll love this.

fantastic look into game development and interesting stories behind some of gamings biggest titles and companies.

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Must read for all gamers!

This book is a must read for Any one associated with any sort of games in any way.
The inside information from the game development industry that not many gamers even realize and take it for granted (including me till date) is exactly what every gamer needs to know and nothing tells the story of game development better than this book.
This book is so good and convincing that I went back to my console and spend some time with all those old games (nostalgia hit me real hard) and bought the ones which I wasn’t aware about (especially the arcade ones). I stopped playing CODww2 and started playing stardew valley, that’s how convincing the book is.
Overall, an amazing read and worth all the time.
Cheers to the author

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Great peak behind the curtain.

This is really well written. I love they way it chronicles the development of these games. It tells of their troubles and their triumphs. As a dev I can draw parallels in some of the studios I have worked in.

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  • Hannah
  • 11-24-17

Fascinating insight into video games

I love video games and was absolutely gripped for the whole book - each story was unique and well structured.

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  • Chris
  • 10-28-17

Fantastic and fascinating read/listen

Only slight negative is that there’s no chapter dedicated to any of the Rockstar games but, otherwise, this is tremendous if you love games and/or are a creative interested in how they get made.

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  • Sam
  • 10-13-17

I miss it already, probs gonna start it again now.

Wicked book if you are into video games, quality insight. Can't recommend enough! More Jason!

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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.