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Significant Zero

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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.


"Williams reveals the video-gaming industry in all its lucrative shine and questionable morality . . . . [and] provides a refreshing and realistic portrayal of succeeding at attaining a dream via an unforeseen career trajectory." (Booklist) "A dark, humorous look into video game publishing, essential for anyone interested in the gaming industry and an entertaining read." (Library Journal) "An entertaining and provocative look inside big-time video game development." (Kirkus) "Significant Zero demystifies the game publisher-developer relationship and puts a human face on the struggles of people working their way up from the bottom." (Dan Stapleton, executive editor, IGN) "Walt Williams finally brings to video games what Robert Evans' "The Kid Stays in the Picture" brought to film: A seminal book of vicious truths. Funny and unforgettable, Significant Zero unravels a highly secretive creative industry in ways PR professionals only have nightmares about." (Mitch Dyer, writer, Star Wars Battlefront II) "There is no one way to break into the AAA game industry. But, as Walt's hilarious and humble account shows, fumbling through it like a badly planned heist seems to work and makes for one hell of a read." (Janina Gavankar, musician, actress, "True Blood," Far Cry 4, and lead of Star Wars Battlefront 2) "Prediction: What William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade was for aspiring filmmakers, Walt Williams's Significant Zero will be for aspiring video game developers. Williams is-somehow simultaneously-funny, rude, exasperating, and inspiring, and he describes the insider reality of game development better than anyone has yet. A tremendously entertaining book." (Tom Bissell, author of Extra Lives and Apostle) "Fascinating and compelling, Walt Williams' memoir is an incredibly human account of what it takes to survive in today's video game industry. Significant Zero is more than a tale of Williams' hard-won wisdom but an inspired vision of a better future for games." (Jane McGonigal, author of New York Times bestsellers Reality is Broken and SuperBetter) "A compelling look into a world that doesn't like to spill its secrets to outsiders . . . . [Significant Zero] has a bright Hero's Journey arc (complete with setbacks, small deaths) and the winning of boons through cleverness and combat." (Jason Sheehan, NPR)

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