Ron Gilbert Says Fans Don’t Always Know Best

Ron Gilbert

In an age where anybody with a keyboard feels that they have a megaphone full of gold the world is just dying to hear, the fan seems to play a different role than before. With social media, forum feedback, community manager and whatever else is available, people just want to be heard more than ever. And what’s more, they feel like their opinions should carry just as much weight as any creative director’s.

Well, Ron Gilbert, one of the creators of the PC adventure genre and one of the geniuses at Double Fine behind the upcoming The Cave, has some words for that person. In a recent interview with Gameological in which he discussed humor in games, writing and the industry, Gilbert talks about meeting fan expectations, with great insight.

The answer that anybody creating anything will give is that you should have no responsibility to them. 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…

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. 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.

Personally, I’m really glad that Gilbert said these things. As I said before, we live in a time where everyone wants to blast their voice at everything, all the time, and I’m not sure we’re all better off for it in creative instances. From my very limited experience with this, the best thing you can do is make what you want to make, and if people like it, they’ll come along and follow you for the ride. Obviously, games are a business, so many people are afraid to trust that notion. But I think we see better creative work as a result.

What about you? What do you think? Is Gilbert off his rocker? Should fans have more say about what goes on in video games or creative endeavors in general? Go!

Source – Gameological

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

6 thoughts on “Ron Gilbert Says Fans Don’t Always Know Best”

  1. Fans should fuck off and let the devs get on with it. Give me more ” pointy little spikes”!
    Anyway, I certainly think he’s correct. Feedback’s important, but people seem to believe they hold more sway than they do. I worry what the consequences of Bioware reaching out to the community will be for DA3. That’s a really dangerous move. Hope it works out for them.
    This whole kickstarter that Double Fine aredoing also worries me. I’m sure the game will be fun, but letting the community chip in when a Tim Schafer game is great because it’s a Tim Schafer game seems detrimental to the whole process.

  2. Gilbert is totally right. Listen to your fans for sure, but take it as advice and suggestions rather than a guidelines that must be adhered to. Someone needs to post this on the Bioware forums and watch them implode.

  3. Ron Gilbert knows his shit. You cleave as close as possible to the creator/author/team’s vision, and creative input from too far outside that sphere is likely just going to detract from the whole. Sadly, his assertion that this is what anyone creating something will say is evidently a bit too generous.

    Also, your friendly neighborhood accuracy troll would like to point out that Gilbert’s upcoming game is not Cave Story, as that’s already a thing, but rather the infinitely more imaginatively titled The Cave.

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

    Again I think of music. You gotta do what you feel, and people are allowed to not like it. I don’t mind reading comments like “This album sucks, I like the old stuff better.”. That’s a fair opinion. What isn’t fair is saying “You guys should really make something more like your last album/game/movie”. Who the hell is anyone to say how something /should/ be.

    You don’t have to like every Beatles record, you don’t have to like every Double-Fine game, *You don’t have to like every Batman movie*.

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