Tale of Tales has an interesting little interview up with Takayoshi Sato, who was responsible for the art and CGI direction of Silent Hill and Silent Hill 2; after relocating to the US, Sato did art for some big titles, then made the switch to 'serious games.' On making the switch, he has this to say:
I feel that games are being standardized into only a few formats lately: FPS, RTS, MMO, 3rd Person Action and Sports. There's a tendency to create the same games over and over with only a visual upgrade. And the only thing artists are supposed to do is "be professional" and gift wrap the same game elements with a pretty new skin.
Then I encountered serious games. Despite of the downsides -small budgets, clients to satisfy, etc- serious games allow us to convey social messages, for instance. There hasn't been an opportunity for deep story telling yet. But even making a game about behavior changes in the context of social problems, seems a little more creative than just making more and more weapon concepts. I find it hard to like games that only provide a "kill kill kill" experience. Since serious games are in their infancy, I thought it might be a great place to seek future possibilities. I hope that very interesting things will happen down the road.
It's brief, but has some good thoughts on art in games and where Sato's headed next. On the serious games front, he sounds like a man after Ian Bogost et al's hearts.