Self-censorship can negatively affect creativity, says Monkey Island creator

Devs shouldn’t worry about audience expectation

Developers must focus on what they want to create and should have no responsibility to their audience, says Ron Gilbert.

Speaking to Gamelogical, the Monkey Island creator said developers should do what they think is best for their game, and that they can get into a lot of trouble if they start self-censoring.

He added that worrying too much about fan service could stifle creativity and ruin unique elements of a game.

“The answer that anybody creating anything will give is that you should have no responsibility to them,” said Gilbert.

“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. 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."

Gilbert added that the rough edges around any title was what made many games interesting, and that completely perfecting a game could end up making it a bland experience.

“Creative things, no matter what they are – books, video games, whatever – if they’re really good, they have lots of pointy little edges, and that’s what makes them interesting,” he said.

“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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