‘Gears of War 3′ Author Doesn’t Play The Games

Published 3 years ago by , Updated December 1st, 2011 at 9:03 am,

Gears Of War 3 Writer Hasn't Played Any Of The Games

Generally, when writing a story based on a pre-existing piece of work, it’s a good idea to have a thorough understanding of the subject matter before you get started. If the story is centered around World War II, it’s probably a good idea to get all the names and facts correct, otherwise one could have a very angry veteran or two after them. Or if writing a story based on a pre-established mythology, then wants to make sure that they are accurate to maintain a sense of legitimacy.

On the rare occasion that someone writes a story based on a video game, then the same rule generally applies. Depending on the title, one would run the risk of alienating and possibly insulting the title’s many fans if they don’t stick to its story. Oddly enough, though, this apparently doesn’t apply to the writer of Gears of War 3 and the Gears of War novels, one Karen Traviss. As it turns out, Ms. Traviss has never even played a Gears of War game in her life.

According to Traviss, she prefers to go into her stories “cold”, knowing as little as possible about the mythos before getting to work. She explained that all of the information she got on the Gears of War universe was based solely on the visuals. Traviss would look at the images and artwork of the game, then create the story by imagining what it would be like to be in the situations presented in those visuals:

“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. For me, so much of the back story lies only in the visuals, the art. 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.”

This is certainly an unorthodox method of writing, but it hasn’t hurt Traviss’s success. In addition to her work on the Gears of War series, she’s written novels for both the Star Wars and Halo series (with the upcoming Halo: Glasslands bridging the gap between trilogies), so she must be doing something right to earn that level of attention from other big-name franchises.

Traviss is no stranger to military experience, having served in both the Territorial Army and the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service in her native England. When combining that with her self-confessed addiction to popular web series Red vs. Blue, it’s no surprise Traviss has quickly become one of the more well-known writers in the industry today.

Do you think Traviss’ writing manages to avoid this potential pitfall, or would you rather see games and novels written by an unabashed gamer?

Source: 1UP

TAGS: Epic Games, Gears of War, Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3

  • Andy

    Seems like gears of war tries to find different people to tell the story every time but I think if they just kept the same one from the start they would have a much more fluid story.

  • Elcobydos

    I’m sure she has some kind of input on what she can and cannot do with certain parts of the story. Still a very interesting method to writing.

  • Barrick

    She’s horrid. No real other way to explain it. She wants to to in cold because she’s lazy and is clearly just in it for the money, while ironically incredibly full of herself. Her character development is non-existent, her dialogue is so far out of left field that even David Goyer would cringe.

    I’m so glad Epic removed her from the series, as she clearly has no clue how to create, develop, or use characters and plot. Good riddance.

    • Gabeler

      I’ve been reading Traviss’s Novels since I was 8 years old (I’m now 16).

      Long before she made the Gears Of War books she wrote Star Wars Novels…particularly the Star Wars: Republic Commando series (which was based on characters similar to and placed in the same environment as Star Wars Republic Commandos for Xbox Original). Karen has also wrote many Halo novels.

      Perhaps you are not familiar with Karen and her extended list of New York Times Best Seller novels, but if you even knew the slightest thing about this offer, it’s that she’s not in it for the money. I highly suggest you read up more about a subject than a Game Rant article before you judge her work.

      In conclusion, I disagree with you completely.

    • Sean “Blackjoker” P

      You clearly don’t know what your talking about. Heck never did I until about 2 months ago when I went to a film festival. You be suprise how many great movies/books have been made by writing it “Cold” one of the reasons is your not limited to ideas but everything has to be sent and confirmed with the one in charge over it all. Gears of War 3 the game is my personal favorite it brought a lot of heart into the game and each character wasn’t far off the first 2 games personality.

      Also shes not removed from the Series. If so I wonder why she has up coming Gears of War books coming out next year.
      Since I can’t say anything I want to you because it might look like im attacking you. I’ll just tell you to learn your facts and that your opinion is heared but not respected. :)

      • Ryan

        Look at Johnny Depp he never watches any of his movies he has been in.

        • Sean “BlackJoker” P.

          I know lol

  • Stevo

    @barrick are you insane? Have you read any of the gears books? There amazing they brought tears to my eyes cuz she made me care about the characters so much. And the story for gears 3 was fenominal! It could of been better but by far the best of the series. If you don’t think she can write you sir have issues

    • Barrick

      For one, you clearly misconstrued my statement about going in “cold”. I have no problem with writers or actors who go in “cold”, I do with Traviss however because she’s clearly going in cold due to being lazy and incompetent. I’ve read the books and played Gears of War 3- she butchered my favorite game series’ finale. Jace, Carmine, and Sam had no point in being in the story, Dom’s death was shoved down our throats and forced as hell, and the dialogue was so agonizingly bad I damn near refused to continue on with the campaign.

      So, no, I don’t have “issues” because I don’t like her writing, I just can identify a horrible writer. Sales don’t make you awesome at what you do either- look at Michael Bay movies.