An artist never wants to be restricted in his/her work.
And video games most definitely qualify as art.
Suck on that one, Roger Ebert.
But if we're going to be honest with ourselves, we have to accept the fact that the video game medium isn't quite as developed as other forms of artistic expression, and as such, people may tend to not take it as seriously. This can be both a positive and negative, depending on how you look at it from a developer's perspective.
Positive wise, it's exciting to be a part of something that is genuinely beginning to come of age. The roots are not yet set, nothing is in stone, and you are able to actually help mold the future space of artistic expression that video games will occupy. That's some awesome news to hear, especially when you consider other creative industries such as writing and film, where everything feels like it has been done before and there are (whether you want to admit it or not) rules. I know that the same can seem to apply to video games, but I have to disagree on the whole. Sure, there are rehashes after rehashes, established mechanics, etc in games, but there is still so much growing that we have to do. We still have to water.
If you really think the medium is as developed as the other arts, ask yourself this:
Has any video game reached the artistic heights that a novel such as "Cat's Cradle" has reached? Has any game truly gotten to the level of Citizen Cane?
In my opinion, no. But we are getting there. And devs, you get to be a part of it.
There are downsides, however. If a medium isn't considered a true art, than there is not as much freedom. You can get away with pretty much anything when you're a "true artist". Any form of expression, if deemed legitimate art, has the possibility of respect in our culture. Unfortunately, because video games are not yet widely considered to be at this level, we are more limited in our expression. We are, in a sense, censored.
I experienced this recently with a certain part of the plot in Tumbling Apart. The game is very heavy in nature. There are topics waded through in the game that aren't quite OK to touch upon. It came to a head at one particular point in the dialogue. And I ended up having to ask myself, "Can you really put content like this in a game?"
It's a tough call, especially when the creative field you're in isn't taken as seriously as it should. It's much easier to label something offensive, rather than a dialogue opener for cultural discussion.
Any other devs have thoughts?