Tai Kaliso was once a tribal warrior on one of the many Islands upon the planet Sera - specifically the Irohma Island. During the Pendulum Wars his home became a battleground as the COG (Coalition Of Ordered Governments) battled with the UIR (Union Of Independent Republics). Caught in the crossfire, the warriors of his village defend their families from the UIR while Tai searches the forest, killing the stray troops that he finds. Returning from his hunt he discovers his entire Tribe murdered by the UIR. Tai sets out into the jungle to kill the men who destroyed his Tribe but instead finds Marcus Fenix. Marcus offers Tai training with the COG, an opportunity to fight back against the UIR. As Tai no longer has anywhere to go, he accepts the offer. Within a year Tai was a member of the 26th Royal Tyran Infantry.
Tai was one of the few soldiers who survived the battle of Aspho Fields - the COG assault on a UIR research facility to steal the prototype Hammer Of Dawn technology. Tai served in a squad with Marcus Fenix, Bernie Mataki, Helen Stroud (mother of Anya Stroud) and Carlos Santiago (brother of Dom Santiago).
Tai is famous for his creation of the chainsaw bayonet, after realising the potential of a power saw for slicing through the thick drone hides when he first encounters the Locust on Emergence Day.
Tai is first introduced into the Gears of War universe as one of many COG soldiers attempting to stave off a Locust attack of a hospital. He joins up with Marcus and Dom, being an old friend of Marcus' from their time fighting in the Pendulum Wars. Tai typically wields a shotgun in combat and doesn't say much. He is looked upon (typically by Dom) as a bit strange because of his peaceful take on battle. At one point even noting how beautiful Locust blood looked in a certain light, but his exceptional bravery and toughness make him a relatively well-liked COG.
Tai is a consistent character through much of the first few acts, rejoining Delta Squad after he is the lone survivor of his squad when their derrick is blown up by Tickers. Tai takes even this act in stride, stating "Everything happens for a reason", further emphasizing his indestructibility and philosophical nature. When Delta are deploying their grind-lifts to assault the Hollow, the Locust commander, Skorge, appears and jumps aboard Delta's derrick. Dizzy attempts to hold off Skorge so the grind-lifts can be deployed, and Tai leaves Carmine to help fight the Locust leader. Delta last sees Tai chainsaw duelling Skorge before they are launched underground. They later discover that Tai orders Dizzy to flee whilst battling Skorge solo. Tai is defeated and taken down into the Hollow as a prisoner.
After Dom and Marcus fight their way through the Locust underground and rendezvous with Baird and Cole, they find floating transports where prisoners are being held. They find Tai horrendously scarred, having been tortured by the Locust and appearing not entirely able to even comprehend that he has been rescued. Marcus, nonetheless, tosses Tai a shotgun and begins attempting to regroup Delta to escape the fortress. Tai cocks his shotgun and Marcus turns around to see Tai holding the barrel up to his face. Before Marcus can stop him, Tai commits suicide, shooting himself in the head. Tai ends his own life based on his religious beliefs, realising that his soul had finally departed from his body.
"My grandfather once told me that a soul will leave its body when it is time... "not always at death" he said. "When the body becomes a prison...it is time for the soul to escape"."And once the soul is gone...the body will follow soon after."
His death heavily affects the squad, especially Carmine, who comments "I can't believe they did that to Tai. I mean, he survives everything... doesn't he?" Marcus then collects the COG tags of his fallen comrade before ordering the squad to leave.
- Tai's character is based of the New Zealand Maori.
- Tai is the only character to express religious beliefs in the entire Gears franchise.
- Tai is voiced by Fred Tatasciore, who is otherwise most recognisable within the series for also voicing Damon Baird.
- "War is not hell, for in hell innocence is spared"
- "Embrace what you can't change."
- [After a particularly violent battle] "Ha, reminds me of my childhood!"