In efforts to cut back on characterisation development time in the production of Facepunch Studios’ indie survival game Rust, the team have created a tool that randomises character race and gender before assigning each character to a player. The team has been hit with a monumental backlash, with fans crying ‘political agenda’ and weeping at the thought of not playing a white male. The reactions are pretty disturbing.
Previously, players of the 2013 title were assigned a bald white man to control, however developers wanted to get some variation in their title without creating a custom characterisation tool. Rather than spending wasted time and money on a customisation tool that would essentially allow players to cheat (by attacking another player before donning a disguise and acting friendly) as well as detract from the overall survival emphasis of the game, the team decided to permanently assign each player with a character aesthetic randomly generated based on race and gender.
The litter of toys being thrown out the pram in wake of this decision is embarrassing.
Obviously these players shouldn’t be forced into playing as a character who doesn’t represent their true identity… really? I suppose the millions of black people and women in the gaming industry scream and cry about it when their entire catalogue is filled with white straight men – they’re after all being forced to identify with a character who obviously doesn’t represent their identity. No. Designer Garry Newman sums up “Technically nothing has changed, since half the population was already living with those feelings.” The idiocy and immaturity that this issue is being treated with within the boys club section of the gaming industry is laughable.
Rust‘s decision is a refreshing taste of realistic diversity that the white boys club is spitting out, all over their bibs.