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Monkey Island creator says developers should stop worrying about audience expectations

Double Fine's Ron Gilbert believes caving to gamer expectations stifles creative approach

An interesting discussion with the team at The Gameological Society and Ron Gilbert has made it clear that the famed developer believes little in appeasing gamer expectations. In an industry where many who work on the creative side feel an almost impossible pressure from gamers, Gilbert believes that "anybody creating anything" should simply block out the audience's expectations.

"You have to do what you want to do, and you have to do what you think is the right thing to do and what you think is the best thing to do," said Gilbert. "People who like what you do and are fans of your work are just going to like what you do as long as you do something true to yourself.

"You can get into a lot of trouble when you start to worry too much about what people are going to think because then you start to get into this weird self-censorship cycle. You do something that might be interesting and different and unique, but you become too worried what people are going to think, and you censor it."

The constant back and forth between gamers and developers has had many weighing in on the creative constraints that come along with developing a vested storyline that draws in gamers. Most notable of incidents is perhaps the backlash that Mass Effect 3 and the team at BioWare received when the game's ending did not meet the expectations of many fans.

Other titles have shared similar fates as well, including Fallout 3, which forced Bethesda to completely re-write the ending through a rather sizeable DLC pack. Even some games have changed major points to stop fierce backlash; 2010's Medal of Honor reboot was forced to change enemy combatants in the multiplayer mode from the Taliban to 'OPFOR' to appease many critics.

Gilbert still stands resolute in his beliefs, saying "It's all these pointy little spikes and all these little things you can cut yourself and prick yourself on, that's what makes creative work interesting."

"If you get into self-censorship mode, you start to pound all those pointy edges away because you're very afraid of offending somebody or worried what somebody will think of it. And then what you're left with is kind of blah, just not interesting."

"I think you just need to do what you think is the right thing to do, and hopefully people like it."

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Ben Strauss avatar
Ben Strauss: Ben Strauss is a recent graduate of Xavier University. You can see him ramble on about gaming, gamification, military-related gaming and manly things on his Twitter @Sinner101GR.
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