From the award-winning videogame writer of such hits as BioShock and Borderlands comes an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the fascinating culture of the gaming industry.
When his satirical musings in a college newspaper got him discharged from the Air Force, it became clear to Walt Williams that his destiny in life was to be a writer—he just never thought he’d end up writing video games.
A veteran videogame narrative designer, Williams pulls back the curtain on an astonishingly profitable industry that has put its stamp on pop culture and yet is little known to those outside its walls. As Williams walks you through his unlikely and at times inglorious rise within one of the world’s top gaming companies, he exposes an industry abundant in brain power and out-sized egos, but struggling to stay innovative. Significant Zero also provides clear-eyed criticism of the industry’s addiction to violence and explains how the role of the narrative designer is crucial for expanding the scope of videogames into more immersive and emotional experiences.
Significant Zero is a rare and illuminating look inside this fascinating, thrilling, and cutthroat billion-dollar industry, perfect for both gamers and non-gamers alike.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Author's Note xi
1 Tutorial 1
2 God, Lies, and Video Games 11
3 Breaking in 25
4 Eat Shit or Die Trying 37
5 The Cruel Tutelage of Peter Griffin 65
6 Enraptured 79
7 Made Men 105
8 Lost at Sea 135
9 Significant Zero 155
10 Character Flaws 163
11 Walking the Line 179
12 We Am Not Heroes 201
13 Development Never Changes 217
14 Airplanes 229
15 Into Darkness 249
16 Not the Fall but the Stop 269
Epilogue: New Game Plus 281