If the video game industry were an RTS we’d now be entering the ‘Age of Indies.’ Widely publicized, funded by fans and with easy access to prime time platforms – fate has never been quite so kind to the smaller studio. Take for instance, RUST — a relatively modest title in the burgeoning ‘Sandbox Survival’ genre. Initially envisaged as an upgraded DayZ clone, this dog-eat-dog-eat-human simulator has met with unbelievable success since its alpha testing phase began back in December.
First unveiled via Newman’s own Twitter account on Monday, the famed creator followed up his announcement with a brief interview at Polygon. Describing his reaction to the news, Newman told the outlet:
“Saying we’re surprised is a total understatement […] we never expected RUST to ever sell over a million copies – to sell over a million within a couple of months while still in really early development is insane to us.”
Of course, with great success comes greater expectation – an uneasy burden to bear even at the best of times – as hundreds of thousands of diverse opinions all clamor for studio attention. As a self-professed “pessimist at heart,” Newman worries that these early gains are in fact something of a false dawn — the boom preceding an eventual recession:
“Will these millions of people expect us to evolve the game in the ways we’re going to evolve it? Will we be able to make them happy? The tens of millions of dollars [may] take the edge off slightly, but we still have these worries.”
While the game’s monetary success is already assured, the developer’s fears are not totally unfounded. With RUST still in its early alpha stages, any attempts at radical design shifts — an avenue typically open to indie developers — will likely meet with strong opposition from certain subsets of the community. Indeed, Facepunch’s recent decision to exorcise all zombie models from the game caused something of an outcry from those fans lured in by the title’s undead-downing premise.
In other RUST-related news, Facepunch Studios is today implementing a new anti-cheating system, named CheatPunch. First tested over the weekend, the system has already caught up with and administered a swift ban-hammering to over 4,500 users. In anticipation of the various sob stories certain to crop up in the wake of these bans, Facepunch issued the following statement:
“If you get kicked from the official servers with the message that you’ve been banned then you have been caught. You’re a naughty boy. You know what you have done. You won’t get unbanned. We know it was your 9 year old cousin. We know your computer got hijacked. We know that the CIA is getting you banned from all your games on Steam so you will join them in the hunt for aliens. We’re aiming to get a site set up for people that have been banned so they can go and see proof that they’ve been caught.
CheatPunch isn’t the answer to all of our prayers. It’s a stop gap solution. It’s going to get rid of a bunch of cheaters, but it’s not hard to get around (by design). We fully expect cheats to be touted as ‘CheatPunch proof’ quite soon. That’s cool. We’re never going to be finished fighting.”
Is ‘sandbox survival’ the industry’s latest craze? Can the genre sustain its early success? How big of an issue is cheating within the RUST community? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check in with all of the latest gaming news, right here on Game Rant.
RUST is now available as an early access Alpha title. A full release date has yet to be confirmed. The game is currently under development for PC, Mac and Linux platforms.
You can follow Sam on Twitter @GamingGoo.