In a recent update, the multiplayer survival game Rust has added female character models to the game, along with different races. However, unlike most games, Rust will lock the character’s sex and race based on the user’s Steam ID. While talking about the decision in an opinion piece for The Guardian, creator Gary Newman explained:
Rust is not a game about identity. The objective in Rust is to survive. […] Originally every player appeared in game as a white bald guy. We were still in the early stages of development and had other things to focus on. Recently, though, we decided to change this. We decided that we didn’t want players to pick their own appearance. We felt that player customisation had got a bit out of control in other games. […] We also wanted the appearance of the players to be consistent over time. A survivor shouldn’t be able to attack another then come back later with a different gender or race and befriend the same player. They should be recognisable consistently and long-term – so anyone likely to commit a crime would be more likely to wear a balaclava or a face mask. So this is what we did. Gender and race are randomly selected and linked to a player’s account, permanently unchangeable.
The decision to lock race and gender to account has been met with a mixed range of reactions. On the positive end, r/KotakuinAction user IndigoHawk said:
I don’t see the problem with this at all. They made a game. They want players to experience what it’s like to play a blank slate character that they don’t get to pick.
On the other side, DoctorBleed said:
Y’know, if they dropped this silly random mechanic and let people just make their own characters themselves, this would be a non issue.
I mean, what benefit does random customization add to the gameplay?
Rust is currently available on Early Access, so there’s a change this decision will be changed later in development. For now, however, randomized player models are here to stay.