Gears of War author doesn’t play games: “The less I know about something, the better”

Wednesday, 30th November 2011 07:39 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Gears of War novelist and game plot-writer Karen Traviss deliberately doesn’t play games in an effort to better to come to her projects “cold”.

“I have an obsessive personality and it’s taken all my strength not to buy the FIFA game,” Traviss told 1UP. “The thing about Gears, and the thing about anything I work on, is that I must come to it cold. The less I know about something, the better.”

Instead of playing the games themselves, Traviss absorbs detail about the IPs she works with from “visuals”.

“For me, so much of the back story lies only in the visuals, the art,” she said. “Images are the most important thing I can extrapolate from. The best way I can describe it is like an aerial recon image. These guys that process the image that come back from recon satellites and aircraft? They go through it with a fine-tooth comb, they work out what those things on the ground are. That’s what I’m like when I see an image from a game. The imagery of Gears is such that when you look into the environments, I want to walk into that world and down those paths.”

Traviss has worked with several big science fiction IPs aside from Gears of War, having written for both Star Wars and Halo. Most recently she’s focused on the Epic actioner, and has become responsible for writing the game itself: Gears of War 3 was her work.

She’s also written every book on the series, having released Aspho Fields in 2008; Jacinto’s Remnant in 2009; Anvil Gate in 2010; and Coalition’s End in August of this year. The Slab, her fifth Gears book, comes out next May.




  1. FillRoyy

    Well I wouldnt play games if the only experience I had with them was Gears of War 1/2/3. I’d played through the first two with friends in co-op and enjoyed the battles, but the characters, their dialouge, the locations and the overall plot was just background noise for me. Somehow though in the third game I’ve just gotten utterly bored of the whole sorry affair after two acts.

    Its just more of the same boring rubbish, and the writing offers absolutely nothing to alleviate this problem, unless you count throwing stereotypes at every situation the way to alleviate problems with clunky speech and cheap emotional set ups and payoffs.

    But then again, I’ve never had anything I’ve written published in my entire life so what the hell do I know?

    #1 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.