"Ultimately the decision comes down to gameplay. We don’t believe that letting you choose your race and gender would improve the game. On the other hand, randomising everyone’s gender and race meets all our requirements."
- Rust dev Garry Newman
In a new editorial over at The Guardian, Facepunch Studios developer Garry Newman explains why his studio has decided to randomly assign gender and race to characters in Rust, its massively popular survival game.
"We decided that we didn’t want players to pick their own appearance. We felt that player customization had got a bit out of control in other games. And we didn’t want to spend six months making a player customization tool -- we wanted to concentrate on the game. We also wanted the appearance of the players to be consistent over time," Newman writes.
Predictably, however, there's been a huge backlash -- coming from across the board. However, Newman writes that the policy will stand.
It's worth a read for a view into the kind of reaction an unorthodox move like this generates in a game's player base; it's also a simple defense of such a move, and as such, is simply interesting as a line drawn in the sand by the developer of a popular game.
For some thoughts on what makes Rust interesting from a game design perspective, read Gamasutra editor-in-chief Kris Graft's "Rust Diaries."