The multiplayer, open-world, wilderness survival title Rust is incredibly popular. After more than two years on Early Access, it’s still one of the twenty most popular games on Steam and is enjoyed by millions.
Despite its legions of fans, Rust has introduced features in the past that managed to annoy a small number of its players. Some were unhappy at the game randomly assigning race – and even genital size - for every character, but the majority of people didn’t really care.
However, Facepunch Studios introduced a new update late last week, and it's irking more players than anything that’s come before: randomly assigned gender.
Once a player has been given their new character model, be it male or female, it’s locked to their individual Steam ID, so there’s no changing it. This hasn’t gone down well with some folks who’ve suddenly discovered their avatar is now sporting a pair of boobs.
Rust developers Garry Newman and Taylor Reynolds have acknowledged that not everyone appreciates the move. "We understand this is a sore subject for a lot of people. We understand that you may now be a gender that you don’t identify with in real-life. We understand this causes you distress and makes you not want to play the game anymore," they said.
"Technically nothing has changed, since half the population was already living with those feelings. The only difference is that whether you feel like this is now decided by your SteamID instead of your real life gender."
There is a client-side fix available for anyone not happy with their gender/race/genital size; other players will still see your assigned traits, but it does let you choose how your character appears on your monitor.
Newman added that he was excited to see what impact introducing female character models would have on the game. "I'm more interested in seeing what happens when we add the female model," he told Polygon. "Whether women will get attacked more because they're perceived as weak, or whether they'll get attacked less because they're perceived as vulnerable. That stuff is interesting to me."
He added that more changes to the character models are coming, but it looks as if players will be stuck with their given genders. "I'll continue to add variations over the comings weeks which means you're probably not stuck with your new face forever," he wrote.