Blood, Sweat, and Pixels: The Triumphant, Turbulent Stories Behind How Video Games Are Made

By Jason Reier (2017)

My Notes


“… You need to get to a level where you’re able to problem-solve in these packages…. It takes time, months or years to become so good at something that when someone says, ‘How long will it take you to do something?’ you can say, ‘It takes me this long.’”

“If you can take fifty shots on goal, and you’re a pretty shitty hockey player, and I can only take three shots on goal and I’m Wayne fucking Gretzky, you’re probably going to do better.”

Anyone who’s ever screamed at a sluggish piece of computer software knows how frustrating it can be to have slow tools, whether it’s Microsoft Word or a graphics renderer. “It’s the least sexy part of development, yet it’s the single most important factor there ever is,” said the person. “Good tools equals better game, always.”

💡 Motivation:

The directing pair talked often about “feeding the beast,” a term they’d picked up from the Pixar book Creativity, Inc. that referred to a creative team’s insatiable hunger for work.

“They had a plan, a clear plan, and they expressed it to the team. It instilled confidence…”

💡 Honesty:

“We try to work by just being as honest as we can with each other,” Druckmann said. “When we don’t like something, we let each other know right away…”

When they disagreed on something, they’d each rank how they felt about it, on a scale from one to ten. If Druckmann was at an eight but Straley said he was just a three, Druckmann would get his way. But if they were both in the nines or tens? “Then we have to go in one of the offices, close the door…”


“To solve crunch, probably the best you could do is say: don’t try to make Game of the Year…”

It might have seemed odd, to an outside observer, that a game ten years in the making would launch with so many problems.

☝️ Diablo III

“Dragon Age: Inquisition had about ninety-nine thousand bugs on it…”

… narrowing the possibilities down from infinity to one.

… Being on the “knife’s edge of chaos,” where the sheer number of moving parts makes it impossible for anyone to find predictability.