Whitta was born and raised in Poplar, London.
Whitta began his career as a writer and games journalist for ACE magazine. When ACE closed down in 1992, he became deputy editor of The One for Amiga Games and was involved with founding the original PC Gamer magazine in the UK. He subsequently served as the editor of Total Football. A few years later, he moved to the United States to become editor-in-chief of the newer, US version, of PC Gamer. He left the magazine in early 2000, but continued to write columns for the publication.
Besides his involvement setting up PC Gamer, Whitta has a long history of involvement with print and online magazines of all kinds. ACE magazine was owned by UK publisher Future Publishing, and in early 2000 Whitta worked with Future to establish a film magazine, Total Movie magazine. Due to financial difficulties at the publisher, Total Movie was canceled after only four issues in early 2001.
While no longer managing or editing, Whitta still contributes game reviews and opinion pieces for a number of gaming publications. His articles can be found in various places, including PC Gamer and 1UP. He also shows up in industry podcasts, for example with Tested.com, PC Gamer and Next Generation.
In addition to contributing to periodicals, Whitta has written a number of screenplays and TV episodes. A partial list, including the text of those which were not picked up, could at one time be found on his homepage. Included among them are both film scripts and TV episodes for Star Trek: Voyager and Futurama.
Whitta has found Hollywood success as the screenwriter of the film The Book of Eli. He was also working on a script known as the "Monkey Project" with Chris Weston, which would have reimagined the classic Buddhist novel Journey to the West (and the related classic television series Monkey) as an animated series. However, Weston pulled out of the project.
More recent rumors have tied him to a Blizzard project, possibly a title based on the Diablo series of games. It was announced on FirstShowing.net that Whitta was set to write the script for the live-action version of Akira. However, Whitta is no longer attached to the project. He wrote the script for the action thriller film Undying. His latest screenwriting work was the sci-fi film After Earth. He was hired to script the first Star Wars stand-alone film, Rogue One, directed by Gareth Edwards. On January 9, 2015, he was announced to have amicably parted ways with the film.
On October 27, 2016, Variety reported that Warner Bros., Village Roadshow and Team Downey had put together a writers' room for the third of the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes movies, with several top names, including Whitta, Nicole Perlman, Justin Malen, Geneve Dworet-Robertson and Kieran Fitzgerald.
In the realm of game development, Whitta has consulted on a number of game titles. Perhaps his best known contributions have been as a writer for Duke Nukem Forever, Prey, and Gears of War. He has also consulted on general game design for Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Activision, Midway Games, and others. More recently, Whitta has been tapped to oversee the narrative development of Telltale Games' episodic video game adaptation of The Walking Dead, while writing its fourth episode.
Whitta is also the writer behind a popular short series of comic books based on the Death, Jr. character, together with cover artist Mike Mignola and illustrator Ted Naifeh. Having been extended to a second three-part series, the writing has received praise as "charming and cleverly subversive" and for its "quirky characters and slick humor". Whitta spoke about his experience writing this comic with Silver Bullet Comics in May 2005.
Whitta is currently co-creating the comic OLIVER with Transmetropolitan/The Boys co-creator and illustrator Darick Robertson for a 2015 release from Image Comics.
Whitta was a frequent commentator on the PC Gamer podcast and he co-hosted the Game Theory podcast with Colin Campbell, which has since stopped being produced. In September 2011, Whitta and Campbell, then News and Features Editor at IGN, started a new podcast in the same vein as Game Theory, called IGN's Game Business Show. He also commentated on the Next Gen podcast until the podcast was canceled.
He was a weekly co-host of This is Only a Test (Tested) and an occasional guest on Behind the Screened Door (Screened), the Giant Bombcast (Giant Bomb) the Comic Vine Podcast, before Whiskey Media was sold in two deals to CBS Interactive and BermanBraun. In October 2011, Whitta helped raise over $50,000 for Child's Play when he co-hosted a 24-hour-long, live-streamed edition of This is Only a Test with Tested creators Will Smith and Norman Chan. Whitta continues to chair the Octoberkast charity event every year, creating the "Space Rocks" game in 2013.
Whitta resides in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. In 2009, he became a US citizen.
FilmThe Book of Eli (2010)
After Earth (2013) – Co-wrote the script with M. Night Shyamalan from a story written by Will Smith
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) – Co-wrote only the story with John Knoll and Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy wrote the script
TelevisionStar Wars Rebels (2016-2017) – 3 episodes
Video GameThe Walking Dead: The Game (2012) – Co-wrote the game with Sean Vanaman and Jake Rodkin
The Walking Dead: 400 Days (2013) – Co-wrote the game with Sean Ainsworth, Nick Breckon, Mark Darin and Sean Vanaman