Last weekend, we reported that gender and race (among other factors) would be randomly assigned to Rust players on starting the game all based on the string of numbers and letters of one's Steam ID. The discussion on the 'Net has been interesting to watch with many agreeing with the decision, others not so much.
As a result of the vigorous discussion Rust's Garry Newman has written an article at The Guardian to defend his design decision. He writes that "the objective of Rust is to survive" and that it's not a game about identity. Further, Newmann says that the team had other things to focus on than character customization.
Here’s one of the many messages we’ve received from disgruntled male players: “Why won’t you give the player base an option to choose their gender? I just want to play the game and have a connection to the character like most other games I play. Not have some political movement shoved down my throat because you make the connection we can’t choose our gender in reality so let’s make it like that in game too.”
Newman cites this and additional complaints from players having issues with race and some transgender players citing transphobia.
It’s maybe understandable why some male gamers wouldn’t want to play as women. They’re just not used to being forced to. You could probably count on your fingers the number of major, big-budget games where you have no choice but to play as a woman, never mind having no choice but to play as a black woman. Female gamers are obviously more forgiving – they’ve been playing games as men for most of their lives.
I understand the arguments from transgender players – well, as much as a straight man can. But it feels to me like the same response stands. We’re assigning gender randomly in game – not in real life.
Despite sometimes loud rhetoric, Newman says the system will remain as it currently stands.
You can read Newman's full letter at TheGuardian.com.