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.