Blood, Sweat and Pixels is a book from author Jason Schreier that delves into the difficult development of 10 specific games, 9 of which were eventually released and one, Star Wars 1313 that never made it. I discovered the book through articles that Schreier has written for Kotaku around Anthem and the history of the in-development Dragon Age sequel.
The Anthem article in particular was fascinating and a little sad as a fan of Bioware, but it seemed to have been pulled together off the back of a lot of sources and to date I don’t believe that I’ve seen anything that refutes what is stated in the article. To me gives it a degree of legitimacy and helps to indicate that the chapters in this book are equally well researched.
The chapters I was especially interested in reading were those on Dragon Age Inquisition, Destiny, The Witcher 3 and Halo Wars but actually, the other chapters were equally fascinating. Especially those that covered Diablo 3, Uncharted 4 and Stardew Valley. The author appears to have spoken to a hell of a lot of people as part of his work.
The Destiny chapter basically confirms what a lot of people suspected after the initial release and that was that there were issues with the story, it sounds like a bit of a shit show at a lot of points so it’s nice to see that lessons appeared to have been learned for Destiny 2 in terms of the end product, though it will be interesting to see if that’s the case and what the future holds for Bungie.
I also didn’t realise quite how stressful developing a big-budget game can be and how using a new engine can be quite so problematic, as the Dragon Age chapter confirms. Or how things that happen away from the development of a game can have such a big impact, regardless of how anticipated that game is as was the case with Star Wars 1313. The Stardew Valley chapter is particularly interesting as I don’t think I realised that it was developed by just one dude, and just how much time he put into the game.
Realistically I could go through every chapter and give a rundown of it but instead, I’ll finish up by saying I loved the book and found it really informative. If you’re interested in game development, the challenges and stress that goes with it, or you’re just looking for some fascinating anecdotes about big developers then I’d recommend giving this book a go.