Significant Zero: Heroes, Villains, and the Fight for Art and Soul in Video Games

Significant Zero: Heroes, Villains, and the Fight for Art and Soul in Video Games

by Walt Williams


$23.40 $26.00 Save 10% Current price is $23.4, Original price is $26. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Wednesday, October 24  Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.


Significant Zero: Heroes, Villains, and the Fight for Art and Soul in Video Games by Walt Williams

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501129957
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 09/19/2017
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 784,863
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.00(d)

About the Author

Walt Williams is originally from Louisiana and attended Baylor University in Texas on an Air Force scholarship, fully prepared to become a military chaplain. Quickly realizing the regimented, religious life was not for him, he moved to New York to pursue a writing career and took a job at 2K Games, one of the largest videogame publishers in the world. Although he’d intended the job to be only a temporary bill-paying situation, Walt quickly fell in love with the potential of interactive storytelling, and has been working in the industry ever since. Over the past ten years he rose from entry-level game analyst to senior writer, walking the line between publisher and developer, helping bring life to such beloved franchises as Bioshock, Civilization, Borderlands, Mafia, The Darkness, and the acclaimed, genre-bending Spec Ops: The Line.

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

Acknowledgments 289

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews