Gamer Spotlight: Gary Whitta

Gary Whitta

Writer: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: Rebels,  The Book of Eli

Twitter: @garywhitta

Born and raised in London, Gary Whitta began his writing career as a games journalist for ACE Magazine and later,  PC Gamer. He eventually moved to the United States where he would serve as Editor in Chief for the US version of the magazine. He’s probably most well known though for his writing in film, television and games.

His credits including serving as writer and story consultant for Telltale’s The Walking Dead for which he was the co-recipient of a BAFTA award for Best Story. He has also written for the Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels, as well as writing the film The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington and co-writing After Earth starring Will Smith. His most recent work is the blockbuster Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which he co-wrote. He also published his first novel, Abomination earlier this year.

Gary currently lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.

What is the first video game you ever played?

The first one I remember is Combat on the Atari 2600, which came packaged with the system. I kinda miss those days, when the console came bundled with a game to get you started. I have earlier memories of playing coin-op games in the arcades, but they’re fuzzy. I grew up in the UK in the 1980s so following the Atari the most popular game systems were the Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computers. Pretty much all of my fondest gaming memories come from my years with those systems.

What is your favorite game of all time?

I have no idea even where to start. Andrew Braybrook’s Paradroid for the Commodore 64 was the first game I remember being totally blown away by. In more recent times the big milestones that stick out in my memory are the original Half-Life on PC, which I remember causing an earthquake in the PC Gamer offices when it first came in, everyone was so blown away by it, and Knights of the Old Republic, which is probably the best Star Wars game ever made. Bringing it up to date, I think Journey and Inside are among the most memorable games I’ve played in the past several years.

Which hobbies or pastimes do you enjoy besides gaming?

I love watching cartoons and building LEGO. And I also love that I can still say that at the age of 44.

Do you play video games with your children?

Literally as I’m writing this my daughter, who’s four, is tearing it up in Mario Kart on the Wii U. She’s also pretty good at Yoshi’s Woolly World and Pokken Tournament. I think we’re going to try the LEGO games next because they’re co-op and it’s so much fun to play together rather than against one another. I really think video games are a great way for parents and kids to bond.

How do you balance gaming with a busy family life and career?

I’m still figuring that out. I don’t have anything like as much time as I’d want to keep current on games, so like a lot of people I have a bit of a backlog. I’ve bought games with the best intentions but never got around to playing them! One thing that’s been helpful is the rise of the independent game scene which tends toward shorter experiences, and episodic games like the Telltale titles that you can finish in just a few hours instead of 40. But I’ll always make time for the epic-sized games if they’re the ones I really care about; when Red Dead Redemption 2 and Mass Effect Andromeda arrive I will find time to play them no matter what.

You can find Gary’s novel Abomination on Amazon or at your local bookstore. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is in theaters now.



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